Work injuries are all too common. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 20,000 workers in Nebraska sustained some form of injury in 2021 (the most recent year of data). The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that about 4.26 million workers suffered a similar fate nationwide.
It is important to know your rights if you suffer an injury on the job. Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help you pursue the benefits and other compensation you deserve.
Call (402) 241-5020 today for a FREE case review. Our lawyers serve injured workers in Omaha, Sarpy County, and all of Nebraska and nearby Iowa.
Work Injuries: The Most Common Causes
Some of the most common causes of work-related injuries include:
Activities involving the use of significant force or exertion can lead to injuries such as
- Slipped discs
- Severe back aches
- Muscle sprain and strains
- And more
Overexertion may occur as a result of pushing, pulling, throwing, carrying, lifting, and other job-related tasks.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents occur when an individual slips on a wet floor or trips over an obstacle that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Injuries may occur as a result of the fall and/or efforts to catch oneself.
If a worker who slips or trips is able to catch themselves before falling, that sudden effort can still lead to injuries like whiplash. But if the employee falls because they slipped or tripped, the injuries can be worse. Examples include broken bones, severe sprains, cracked skulls, internal bleeding, and much more.
Falls from Heights
These are seen more frequently in high-risk jobs such as construction, window washing, antenna or mast repairs and servicing, and others. Depending on the distance from the ground and other factors, the injuries sustained may range from mild to life-threatening.
For example, if construction scaffolding that is five stories high collapses, the severity of the injuries are likely to be more serious than those sustained in a fall from a first-story roof.
Contact with Objects and Equipment
Contact with objects and equipment is the third leading cause of employee illness and injury in the workplace. Workers may be struck by falling objects, work equipment or machinery, or even get stuck in machinery while it’s running.
Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents
Any job that puts a worker behind the wheel or in the roadway is at risk of being injured in a transportation accident. For example, delivery drivers operating poorly maintained heavy-duty trucks can get in an accident, leading to ghastly or fatal outcomes.
Electrical injuries are often caused by exposed wires or conduits in the workplace. Despite adequate training, experienced workers may still be electrocuted on the job. Electric shock can lead to injuries or even fatalities, with OSHA reporting that electrocutions are responsible for almost 9% of workplace fatalities.
Unlike many workplace injuries that can suddenly occur, repetitive motion injuries develop over time. They are the result of movements that are repeated all day over a number of years. Examples of injuries caused by repetitive motion include lower back pain brought on by years of lifting and throwing heavy packages, carpal tunnel syndrome caused by typing, and more.
Exposure to Harmful Substances
Employees who don’t wear adequate PPE around toxic substances may suffer significant health problems. Even with adequate protection, people who deal with hazardous substances can become ill from repeated exposure. Examples of illnesses arising from exposure to toxic substances include respiratory disorders, chemical burns, cancers, and more.
Low, inadequate, or poor lighting can cause accidents in the workplace. You are more likely to trip over clutter or slip on a wet floor if you can’t see the hazards.
Tired and exhausted workers are more likely to make mistakes on the job. Fatigue can also cause workers to make poor decisions, fall asleep while operating heavy machinery, suffer poor concentration, and have slower response times. All of these can put both them and other workers in danger.
What Can You Do If You Became Ill or Sustained Injuries While on the Job?
You have the right to workers’ compensation if it can be shown that your injury was sustained as a result of or in the course of your work. The steps you need to take to protect your rights under workers’ comp include:
- Report the accident and its attendant injuries to your manager or employer as soon as possible.
- Get medical help even if your injuries are mild or nonexistent. This is important because some minor injuries can worsen over time, leading to serious medical conditions.
- If possible, collect evidence. Photographs, witness testimony, and other evidence can help support your claim.
- Attend all doctor’s appointments and keep up with medical care and rehabilitation.
- Consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
In Nebraska, you have a maximum of 2 years to make a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a work-related injury or begin exhibiting symptoms. This is known as the statute of limitations. It is crucially important to abide by this time limit.
Who Is Liable for Work Injuries?
Most work injuries in Nebraska are compensable through the workers’ compensation insurance held by your employer. Workers’ comp is considered the “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries. In other words, workers are typically barred from suing their employer if they get hurt.
This same protection does not apply to third parties. You may be able to file a lawsuit against an independent contractor, the owner of premises, a motorist, a product manufacturer, and/or another party if their negligence caused you injury on the job.
Experienced Attorneys Serving Those Who Have Suffered Work Injuries
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be tedious and complex. When you’re hurt, you just want to get better and—hopefully—get back to work.
Unfortunately, work injuries can take an enormous toll on workers and their families. Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop has the experience, knowledge, and skill to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.