Common Occurrences for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Employers conducting work within the State of Florida are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Coverage requirements are determined based on the number of employees, entity organization, and the type of industry. For example, workers’ compensation is required for employers in the construction industry with one or more employees, including the owner of the business. Similarly, contractors are expected to ensure all subcontractors have the required workers’ compensation insurance prior to beginning work on a project.
This insurance serves two major purposes: it protects the employer from lawsuits filed by workers injured while working and ensures that the injured workers receive medical care coverage and lost wages. If you don’t provide workers’ compensation insurance and a worker gets injured on the job, you’re making yourself extremely vulnerable to some hefty lawsuits from the worker and the State of Florida. No one anticipates their employees will be injured on the job, especially if you’re following proper safety protocol, but accidents can and do happen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in 2018 by private industry employers. In today’s articles, we’ll review some of the most common occurrences for workers’ compensation claims. If your employee has filed a workers’ compensation claim, please reach out to one of the workers’ compensation defense lawyers in Florida with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
Overexertion consistently ranks as the number one cause of workplace injury nationwide, accounting for over 20 percent of all injuries. In 2018 alone, overexertion cost businesses more than $13.7 billion. But what is overexertion in the first place?
In simplest terms, overexertion occurs when a worker lifts, pushes, pulls, or throws something, resulting in a muscle being pulled or a joint being forced to move beyond its typical range of motion. This type of injury happens when a worker becomes fatigued or otherwise unable to sufficiently complete the task. In other words, the physical capacity of the worker doesn’t align with the physical demands of the job.
Fortunately, this type of injury can be prevented with a combination of appropriate training, breaks, and intervention programs. You may find that shorter, more frequent breaks do more to prevent fatigue than longer, less frequent breaks. It may also help to establish a clear weight limit required for certain jobs, based on the size of the load, the height of the lift, and the duration of the lift. Simply being proactive and working with a workers’ compensation defense lawyer in Florida prior to a claim arising on your jobsite could mean the difference between smoothly navigating the issue at hand or going out of business.
Slips, Trips, & Falls
Slips, trips, and falls contribute to almost 15 percent of all workers’ compensation claims, costing employers $11.2 billion in 2018 alone. The majority of these claims are directly linked to workers falling or slipping on wet floors around the workplace. Common injuries include sprains, strains, abrasions, fractures, and bruises. While it certainly doesn’t take much to cause a serious slip or fall accident on the jobsite, there are a number of hazards that are likely to lead to injury, such as:
- Spills on smooth walking surfaces (water, oil, and other liquids)
- Freshly-waxed surfaces
- Sloped walking surfaces
- Loose or irregular surfaces
- Hoses or wires laid across walkways
- Poor lighting
- Changes in elevation
- Ramps without anti-skid protection
To identify and mitigate these fall hazards on your jobsite prior to a workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to contact one of the workers’ compensation defense attorneys in Florida.
Struck by Object
Struck-by injuries are when forcible contact or impact occurs between a worker and an object or a piece of equipment. Generally speaking, there’s four categories of struck-by hazards: struck-by flying object, struck-by falling object, struck-by swinging object, and struck-by rolling object. Office workers, retail workers, restaurant workers, and workers in the construction industry are all vulnerable to struck-by injuries.
Roadway incidents involving vehicles are a common occurrence for truck drives, traveling business representatives, police officers, and other workers who are required to drive or ride in a vehicle for work-related reasons. This type of incident includes car accidents that have occurred when an employee is performing a job-related task, such as running an errand, driving from one worksite to another, traveling for a work-related reason that they are compensated for, or making a delivery. A remotely-based employee who is paid for travel time may also be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim for an injury that occurred during their commute. The only stipulation is that an employee cannot receive compensation for accidents that occur outside of the hours he or she is paid, such as the commute between work and lunch.
Related: Workers’ Compensation Defense Tips
Minimize Workers’ Compensation Claims
By familiarizing yourself with the common occurrences for workers’ compensation, you’re already taking an important step toward reducing workers’ compensation claims on your jobsite. The next step would be to provide appropriate training to all workers, create a culture of safety on your jobsite, identify and analyze possible jobsite hazards, and provide protective equipment where necessary. If you are facing a legal issue related to workers’ compensation, it would be in your best interest to immediately seek out the assistance of one of our workers’ comp defense attorneys in Florida with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
If you would like to speak with one of our workers’ comp defense lawyers in Florida, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.