Residents of Gainesville, Georgia, work hard to make a living day in and day out. What happens when a hardworking resident suffers from a workplace injury? A sudden workplace injury can completely derail a worker’s life. When a young family relies on both parents working, the workplace injury of one parent can be a devastating blow. When one parent becomes unable to work, most families have difficulty affording basic needs like food, housing, as well as daycare costs. Thankfully, Georgia law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
Workers’ compensation is a workplace accident insurance program paid for by Georgia employers. Workers’ compensation insurance pays for medical, rehabilitation, and income benefits for employers who are injured on the job. These payments are intended to help the employee while he or she is recovering and cannot work. The benefits also allow the employee to continue to provide for his or her family should the employee die as a result of a job-related injury.
Common Causes of Workers’ Compensation Claims
Most Georgia employees assume that their workplace is relatively safe. However, workplace injuries can happen anywhere, even in an office building. Common causes of workplace injuries include unsafe work environments, jobs which frequently strain a worker’s back, and employees who are inexperienced and not well-trained as to safety procedures. The following are examples of the most common reasons for workers’ compensation claims in Georgia.
Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are by far the most common on-the-job injury for workers. Strains and sprains usually happen when employees are carrying or handling materials. According to the Travelers Companies, 1.5 million workers submit workers’ compensation claims for sprains and strains every year in the United States. Indeed, strains and sprains that happen on the job account for 30% of the total workers’ compensation claims.
Cuts and Punctures
The most common cause of workplace injuries depends on the type of business as well as the industry. For example, sprains and strains are the most common types of injuries for all industries except for small businesses. For small businesses, however, cuts and punctures are the most frequent type of workplace injury, followed by sprains and strains. In the manufacturing and construction industries, eye injuries are the most common reason for workers’ compensation claims.
Cuts and punctures can be caused by sharp tools or common office equipment. Jagged edges, altered equipment, glass, knives, box cutters, and unsafe flooring can also cause cuts and punctures. Fingers and hands are the most likely parts of the body to suffer cuts and punctures. Unfortunately, many workers cannot continue to work when their hands are injured because they cannot type, drive, or hold objects.
Severe Cuts and Lacerations
Many cuts are somewhat easily treated and may not require significant time off of work. Severe cuts are much more serious and often require ongoing medical treatment. Severe cuts penetrate the skin, and can even injure muscle and tendons. In extreme cases, reconstructive surgery might be required.
Severe lacerations can result in amputations, or permanent muscle and nerve damages. When an employee loses the use of his or her arm or leg, they may not be able to return to work. Additionally, infections are always a possible danger for deep lacerations. Serious infections can cause brain damage, organ damage, and even death in severe cases. Common causes of deep lacerations include the following:
- Cuts from broken glass or other sharp objects
- Gashes caused by heavy machinery
- Avulsions when a machine or other object tears skin away from the body
- Abrasions that look like road rash from an on-the-job motor vehicle injury
Overuse or Repetitive Stress Injuries, Including Back Injuries
Some workers’ compensation injuries are not immediately obvious. They do not happen based on one traumatic event; instead, these injuries happen over a period of time. These disorders are also known as overuse injuries. With repetitive stress injuries, repeated physical strain causes musculoskeletal diseases. The following types of overuse injuries are incredibly common and can happen in any workplace:
- Degenerative joint diseases
- Nerve damage
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Knee injuries
- Back pain
- Herniated disks
- Runner’s knee
- Torn rotator cuffs in the shoulder area
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
When it comes to overuse injuries, many workers do not notice the injury until the damage is severe. In many cases, the muscles have become damaged long before a worker first notices a twinge of pain. For example, an office administrator may not realize that his wrists are hurting until his or her wrists have already suffered damage and inflammation.
Back injuries are notorious overuse injuries, especially when an employee is responsible for moving heavy objects. For example, movers often suffer repetitive stress back injuries. Unfortunately, many Georgia employers automatically deny workers’ compensation claims for overuse. They may claim that the injury was caused by the activities you engaged in outside of the workplace. However, when you can prove that repetitive motions done continuously as part of your job description caused your injuries, you will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
A fracture happens when a bone splits or fractures. Broken bones can take a significant time to heal. If you suffered a broken bone in a workplace accident, speaking with a skilled lawyer can help. Compound fractures could require multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy. Common types of workplace fractures include the following:
- Arm fractures
- Rib fractures
- Leg fractures
- Foot fractures
- Skull fractures
- Spinal disc fractures
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
If you suffered a Georgia workplace accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In many cases, employers’ insurance companies will attempt to deny valid workers’ compensation claims. Contact the experienced Gainesville workers’ compensation lawyers at Smith Hulsey Law today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for you.