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Industries in the United States are losing as much as $336 billion a year to workers’ non-fatal injuries, according to an estimate from the National Safety Council. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the Department of Labor, was designed to create a system of rules and regulations for workplaces and industries to follow to prevent and avoid workplace injury. Unfortunately, injuries continue to occur across a variety of industries and hardworking individuals may not only lose money from time missed at work but may suffer serious, lifelong personal injury as well.
If you’ve been injured on the job and need quality representation to help you with your claim, please call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter today at 407-712-7300 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve those who live in and near Orlando, the Four Corners, and Tampa, Florida.
- Workers’ Compensation
- Common Workplace Injuries
- Factory and Warehouse Injury
- Trucking Industry Injury
- Health Care Worker Injury
Sometimes, it may be necessary to hire the services of a workplace injury lawyer in order to obtain full workers' compensation benefits. The lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter have extensive experience with claims originating in various industries and we will evaluate your claim for free.
In workers' compensation cases, you do not need to prove employer negligence or fault to qualify for benefits. The issues considered will be whether you were hurt badly enough to prevent you from working and when you will be able to return to your job.
Workers’ compensation laws typically provide coverage for your medical treatment and some disability benefits if you are injured while working. However, these benefits can vary significantly from one state to the next. It can be challenging and frustrating to try and make sense of conflicting state laws. Therefore, a lawyer can make your claim process much easier.
The Florida attorneys at the personal injury law firm of Colling, Gilbert, Wright & Carter can help you deal with insurance adjusters and fight so that you receive the money you deserve for your on-the-job injury.
Common Workplace Injuries
There are many types of injuries that can happen on the job. In the sections to follow, we focus on a few of the most injury-prone professions; however, personal injury from a can occur in nearly any profession. While some professions, such as those with manual labor, pose a more hazardous work environment than others, every job can include dangers that can affect your well-being.
The personal injury lawyers at the Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter have experience handling cases related to many types of injury. Some of the most common forms of workplace injury include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Electrocution injuries
- Pulled muscles, strains, and sprains
- Pinched nerves
- Neck and back injuries resulting in disc damage
- Eye injuries
- Lifting injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Repetitive stress injuries (including carpal tunnel, dislocations, and muscle tears)
- Joint injuries
Factory and Warehouse Injury
Each year, employees who work in industrial settings face countless factory and warehouse accidents due to their hazardous work conditions. Though these conditions have improved throughout the years, many environments still present the potential for danger.
At the University of California-Davis, epidemiology professor J. Paul Leigh found that warehouse injuries accounted for 10 to 15 deaths per 100,000 warehouse workers, making it one of the top 100 deadliest jobs. His study concluded that falling boxes and containers caused nearly a third of warehouse deaths, followed by accidents in forklifts and other vehicles. The remaining workers were fatally injured from burns, heart failure, heat, and accidents involving various machinery or products.
Some other causes of factory and warehouse accidents include:
- Falls from heights
- Heavy equipment accidents
- Loading dock accidents
- Drill press malfunctions
- Slips and falls
Many factory and warehouse accidents could have been prevented. In fact, with the appropriate precautions, practically every industrial injury can be prevented.
Trucking Industry Injury
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, 756 truck drivers suffered fatal work-related accidents, and over 65,000 private sector truck drivers incurred injuries and illnesses which caused them to miss work.
There are a number of different reasons someone in the trucking industry can be involved in a workplace accident. Some of the more common include:
- Driver overexertion from fatigue and pressures to deliver on time
- An overloaded truck
- Mechanical failure and defective components on the truck
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falling objects from improper loads
- Injuries while loading or unloading (more on this below)
Loading and unloading trucks cause a significant amount of non-driving injuries in the trucking industry every year. These injuries can be anything from an improper lifting technique to an accident with the industrial machinery while loading.
Loading a truck at the dock of any lumberyard and unloading at any construction site or other location always involves a risk. A steel band could sever fingers, resulting in a deep laceration or even amputate an extremity. Over time, heavy lifting without the use of proper equipment can lead to strains and sprains, a debilitating back injury, herniated disc or chronic pain.
Loading and Unloading Injuries on the Road
Besides potential injuries that may occur while physically loading and unloading a truck, an improper loading job can result in a catastrophic injury while en route. For example, a load of wood improperly loaded or insecurely fastened could come loose during transit and collide with the driver behind the truck. Or, if debris comes loose, it could end up in the middle of the road and lead to a multi-vehicle crash.
If you are a trucker or involved in the loading or unloading process, there are specific procedures and safety measures you should take when securing a load. Here are a few tips that can help prevent a serious injury:
- Loading cargo: Avoid stacking loads too high and loading them unevenly or with uneven weight distribution. Failure to follow these safety guidelines can result in a load shifting and may lead to a rollover accident.
- Securing cargo: Because of the catastrophic outcome that may be caused by an improperly secured load, there are strict regulations in place for properly securing cargo. Be sure to follow the guidelines outlined in charts and formulas that your company provides to determine the thickness of chains that must be used to secure your load.
- Inspecting cargo: It is not unusual for semi trucks and other commercial trucks to spend days on the road with the same cargo. With large loads, cargo can shift and loosen its tie-downs. For this reason, truckers must inspect their loads frequently. It’s advised to check the load once in the first 50 miles and once every three hours or 150 miles after that.
Even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you can still collect workers’ compensation benefits. In order to file a successful workers’ compensation claim, it is important that you know the complicated federal regulations, in addition to the laws in the state of Florida that govern claims for interstate truckers. This is because injuries can happen anytime while you are on the road, hundreds of miles from your home.
Although workers’ compensation law normally prohibits lawsuits against your employer, if you or a loved one was injured due to a truck's defective equipment or the injury was caused by a forklift, dock plate, load truck, or another piece of machinery, you may be eligible for a third-party product liability claim.
If the accident was caused by a hazardous job site or environment, this may be the basis for a premises liability claim, in addition to a workers' compensation claim.
Health Care Worker Injury
In the United States, health care is the second fastest growing sector as the field employs more than 12 million employees. Workers’ compensation in this industry can be unique, with many on-the-job hazards that health care workers are faced with on a daily basis.
Some of these potential injuries include:
- Needlestick injuries
- Latex allergies
- Back injuries
- Strains and sprains
While it is possible to prevent some of these health hazards, health care employees are constantly exposed to these workplace dangers and preventing every injury is not always possible. Statistics reveal that health care workers are experiencing a higher amount of workplace illnesses and occupational injuries than they have in the past decade.
Needlesticks and other sharp instruments are a constant hazard for health care employees. Needlesticks expose workers to blood-borne pathogens, which are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in all human blood and can lead to diseases. Blood-borne pathogens can include HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and more.
While nurses are at the greatest risk, any health care employee who handles sharp devices or equipment may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens. These instruments can include:
- Hypodermic needles
- Blood collection devices
- Phlebotomy devices
In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care field are at risk of being exposed to blood-borne pathogens.
An increased number of health care employees have experienced an allergic reaction to the latex gloves that are designed to protect them. Severe reactions can cause nausea and vomiting, swelling of the lips and/or mucous membranes, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and low blood pressure. They may even be life-threatening.
Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer Today
Serving Four Corners, Tampa, Orlando and nearby areas of Florida, the workers' compensation lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter can help you decipher the Florida workers' compensation law and build a strong case that awards you the highest possible benefits.
If you were injured or became sick while on the job in the Orlando area, please schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter to discuss your case by calling 407-712-7300. We will fight to get you the benefits you deserve. With our knowledge of Florida law and our history of success, we can ensure you are treated fairly by the insurance adjuster and help you obtain money for your injury or illness.