Workers’s Compensation Lawyers in Knoxville, TN
We spend a significant amount of time on the job or at work, investing in our and our family’s futures as well as our company’s success. With all that time logged and the variable conditions that workplaces carry, sometimes mishaps or accidents happen.
Workers’ compensation insurance serves as a safety net to employees in the event of an accident or personal injury. Sometimes, workers’ compensation fails to cover all expenses, claims are disputed, or the compensation falls outside the work-related purview, such as for contractors or contracted help. When workers’ compensation seems to come up short, partnering with a personal injury attorney may benefit your situation, helping secure your full compensation claim.
Work Related Accidents: A Tangible Toll
Workplace accidents can carry horrifying consequences, whether through injury or worse. And the toll can unfortunately be measured. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than four million work-linked injuries result in hospital stays and treatment. For roughly one percent of the workforce, a work-related injury carries such a severity that time off from work is needed to recover. That percentage jumps to five percent for some specific workplaces and industries: police officers, commercial truck drivers, and construction and industrial workers.
Work-related injury isn’t the only worry for workers. Morbidly, some accidents result in a much worse outcome: fatality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites alarming facts on this front, which can be disheartening to say the least. Each year, workplace accidents end in 4,500 deaths. The breakdown of that figure offers little in the form of consolation. Transportation or highway accidents make up one-third of the toll, while workplace violence takes one-fifth of the share; falls and machinery and equipment malfunctions both carve out one-sixth of the cases, respectively. While workplace fatality has seen a significant decline in recent decades, every worker should feel safe while at work and return home, secure, safe, and sound.
Work-related Injuries: What Are Some of the Causes?
While entities like OSHA exist to reduce risks in the workplace, the rules in place don’t totally free from risk and worry. Some companies and businesses, whether through malicious or benign means, may overlook certain safety regulations and guidelines, which can lead the way to injury or worse. Common causes of workplace injury include, but are not limited to:
Faulty or hazardous equipment. Heavy equipment and machinery are loaded not only with the processes needed to finish the job, but a fair share of risks as well. That gets compounded if poor design, assembly errors, or improper upkeep also underlies the equipment or machinery. Severe risk exists for workers.
Dangerous materials or conditions. Materials and conditions may be present in industries that could cause serious harm, for instance, chemicals. If proper safety protocols and procedures fail to be respected, an injured worker may be the outcome. Toxic chemicals require special handling and storage. Workers exposed to these sorts of chemicals and materials could experience severe burns or other injury.
Unsatisfactory safety standards. For a variety of industries, employers have to adhere to OSHA standards, keeping the workplace as free of hazards as possible. That involves regular maintenance and personal protective equipment available for workers.
Inadequate training and preparation. Workers may fall to injury because of insufficient training for the duties required of the job. Working while unqualified opens up risks for everyone.
The causes behind a workplace injury can include a number of factors. However, if you feel employer negligence played a part in your injury, a legal claim beyond workers’ compensation could apply to your case. Contact the Wettermark Keith law firm in Knoxville, TN to see where your legal options may lie.
A Breakdown of Common Workplace Injuries
Depending on the workplace and line of work, some environments innately pose more dangers than others. But injuries can happen in any setting. Workplace injury can strike on a construction site, in an office building, in an industrial factory or plant, and more. Plus, injuries fall within a wide range of severity, from something relatively minor to much more serious conditions. In fact, workplace injuries can include:
- Wounds and lacerations;
- Slips and/or falls;
- Bone fractures;
- Chemical burns;
- Brain injuries and trauma;
- Repeat injuries;
- And more.
Receiving proper medical care is paramount after injury. Filing a report and consulting with an attorney can help move the dial to full recovery.
Where Does Workers’ Compensation Come In?
You might wonder where workers’ compensation comes into play. Employers are required to pay out workers’ compensation for a number of injuries sustained from work or work-related functions, some of which are:
- Those owing to a car accident;
- Construction accident;
- Equipment or machinery accident;
- Industrial accident;
- Toxic substance or chemical burn;
- Electrocution or electric shock
- Repetitive stress injuries;
- Back injuries;
- Neck injuries;
- Slip and fall injuries.
This being said, workers’ compensation may fall short in ensuring financial recovery or your industry may not support this kind of insurance at all. In these instances, a personal injury attorney can prove more than essential in securing a fair compensation claim.
When Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Enough
Cracks exist in workers’ compensation insurance. For one, the compensation may not sufficiently cover costs directly caused by, or linked to, the injury. Plus, no provisions for pain and suffering live in the insurance coverage. From time to time, suing for damages caused by your injuries becomes appropriate. These times occur if:
- Your injury resulted from a faulty product. A products liability action could be brought to bear against a defective product manufacturer.
- You incurred an injury from a toxic chemical or material. In this case, a toxic tort lawsuit against the substance manufacturer could apply.
- Employer negligence or conduct directly caused your injury. A personal injury lawsuit could be filed if an employer’s negligent behavior or direct acts left you injured.
- If your employer or line of work fails to award workers’ compensation. Some work, such as contractors or contract work, do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. An employer can be sued in civil court if this is the case. Other means, such as collecting money through a state fund, can also be sought.
- Your injury is owed to a third party. When a third party causes an injury, that opens up legal options to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that person.
Workers’ compensation has its place. But it also carries a penchant to stop short. Disability payments from workers’ compensation may not adequately address needs. Workers’ compensation fails to factor in pain and suffering into recovery. Employer negligence rarely, if ever, figures into the equation for damages. All these require the expertise of a personal injury attorney.
After Your Workplace Accident: The Next Steps to Ensure Recovery
An injury in the workplace can certainly upend just about everything. Full recovery relies on swift action — and professional help from doctors, human resources representatives, and attorneys.
First and foremost, medical care should be sought after a work-related accident occurs. Based on the severity, your response could change. If it’s life-threatening, seek emergency medical services immediately. Otherwise, speak with your supervisor first, alerting him or her of the situation, and then contact someone for medical treatment.
Remember to officially report your injury to your workplace. A report should be filed as soon as possible, so as not to miss out on any possible claims. Reach out to your employer for the report paperwork and submit it through the proper channels. This helps ensure future hiccup claims stay minimal.
Finally, contact a personal injury lawyer at Wettermark Keith. Liability can prove rather tricky, especially in cases of multiple involved parties. An experienced lawyer excels at handling these kinds of legal hurdles. Full and commensurate recovery may hinge on it. If you feel negligence also played a role, grounds for a lawsuit or other legal action may also be in order. Fortunately, the lawyers at Wettermark Keith specialize in all stripes of injury law — and can help you examine your legal options. We’re here for you and your needs.
Choose Wettermark Keith
The Wettermark Keith law firm seeks to aid in the recovery of your injury. That could be through lost wages or the damages you incurred from your personal injury. You can rely on our expertise, which extends back decades. Wherever your zip code may lie, we’re here to represent you and your case in Knoxville, TN. Contact us for a free consultation and let’s move toward recovery together.