Workplace accidents are a frighteningly common occurrence. Across the country, 4.6 million workplace injuries occur every year. That’s about one work injury every seven seconds. The majority of these injuries occur as the result of a workplace accident. In California, a worker who is injured in an accident is legally entitled to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Our work injury attorneys can help you with that process.
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Preventing Workplace Accidents
The best way to avoid dealing with the hassles of a workplace accident is to prevent the workplace accident from ever happening. Knowing about the risks of your particular job and how to mitigate those risks can go a long way to ensure workplace safety. While many companies provide comprehensive safety and training guides or workshops, other companies may offer none. The more knowledge workers have about the risks of the job, the better prepared they are to approach them.
Of the most common workplace accidents, many are avoidable.
Overexertion injuries can occur when moving heavy objects. There are many methods to prevent an overexertion accident. Workers can use tools or devices to properly move heavy objects. If none such tools exist, workers can enlist the aid of other workers too. The training of proper lifting or carrying methods can also prevent overexertion injuries, such as muscle strains or sprains.
Slips and falls
Whether it’s a slip and fall, a slip without fall, or a fall from an elevated position, proper workplace maintenance can go a long way in preventing a workplace accident. A cluttered work area can pose all sorts of trip hazards. Improperly constructed scaffolds or poorly-kept ladders can lead to serious falls. Ensuring a clean and well-maintained work environment can prevent slips and falls. Be sure to report any potential hazards to supervisors or managers so they can be addressed.
Struck by object or equipment
Not every workplace accident is avoidable, but many are possible to anticipate. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary. Hardhats or helmets, eye protection, gloves, visible clothing, and appropriate footwear can prevent some accidents from happening and reduce or prevent injuries when they do. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid working underneath working machinery.
Adverse body reactions
Many jobs require workers to take physical actions that result in some awkward positions. Bending over or kneeling to inspect something, crawling under desks to plug something in, reaching for something on a high shelf; all of these actions can cause a tweaked muscle or unexpected sprain. Proper conditioning and certain tools or PPE can prevent these type of strain injuries from occurring.
Reporting Workplace Accidents
It’s important to report a workplace accident as soon as it happens. Failure to report an accident swiftly can put workers’ compensation benefits at risk. There is a 30 day deadline to report your injury. Reporting procedures may vary from workplace to workplace. Generally, supervisors and managers should be notified immediately after a workplace accident. Many companies may have specific forms that are required to be filled out. When you provide the form, be sure to keep a copy of it for your own records.
Opening a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After a workplace accident, injured workers will need to complete and submit a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC-1) & Notice of Potential Eligibility form. Several sections of the form are designated for completion by the employee. Injured workers should complete those sections accurately and submit the form to their employers. When you submit the DWC-1 form to your employer, be sure to keep a copy of the form for your own records.
Upon receipt of a DWC-1 form, employers will complete their section of the form and submit the claim to their workers’ compensation insurance company. Employers should also provide you with a copy of filled out form, which you should also keep for your own records. After filing the DWC-1 form, your employer will authorize appropriate medical treatment (up to $10,000). The insurance company will inform you within 14 days as to whether or not your claim has been accepted.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
Opening a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace accident can be stressful and confusing. Any improper actions can lead to a claims denial. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file your first time claim and fight a claim denial. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps the victims of workplace accidents receive the medical treatment and financial compensation they need.