Findings from Liberty Mutual’s top 10 causes of disabling workplace injuries for 2020 reveal that severe injuries at work cost US organizations more than $59 billion per year, or more than $1 billion per week. The annual study measures the cause of serious workplace injuries, defined as injuries that result in missing five or more days from the job.
The economic costs of a workplace injury only tell part of the story, however. There are also the intangible costs that are hard to put a dollar figure on. For example, it is difficult to measure the intense pain that an injured worker goes through during their recovery, as well as the anxiety and stress of being out of work and not being able to provide for their family.
Top 10 Causes of the Most Serious Workplace Injuries for 2020
According to Liberty Mutual’s 2020 index, here are the most common overall causes of workplace injuries and illnesses:
- Overexertion Involving Outside Sources: These are injuries that result from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing. Overexertion injuries cost organizations approximately $14 billion per year.
- Falls on the Same Level: These are falls that often happen because of slippery surfaces, such as a wet floor. Falls on the same level cost organizations nearly $11 billion per year.
- Struck by an Object or Equipment: Being hit by a tool, piece of equipment, or heavy debris. This type of workplace accident costs organizations more than $6 billion per year.
- Falls to a Lower Level: Workers that fall a significant distance are at risk of more serious injuries. Falls to lower levels cost organizations just under $6 billion per year.
- Other Exertions or Bodily Reactions: These are workplace accidents that happen because of awkward postures, such as twisting, bending, reaching, crawling, and climbing, and they cost organizations around $4.6 billion per year.
- Motor Vehicle Crashes: Roadway accidents that involve a motor vehicle, such as a crash on the highway. Vehicle crashes cost workplaces just over $3.5 billion per year.
- Slip or Trip Without a Fall: Slipping or tripping on a slippery or uneven walkway, for example. These types of workplace accidents cost about $2.06 billion per year.
- Repetitive Motions involving Microtasks: Hand intensive work, such as many of the repetitive tasks that are performed in a factory. Repetitive motion injuries cost about $2.05 billion per year.
- Colliding with Objects: Colliding with or getting struck up against an object or hard surface, such as walking into an open door. Collisions with objects in the workplace cost organizations about $2 billion per year.
- Running Equipment or Machines: Getting caught in or compressed by equipment, machinery or objects. While not as common as some of the other workplace accidents, these types of accidents can result in some of the more severe injuries, such as the loss of a limb, and they come at a cost of about $1.92 billion per year.
Legal Options for Injured Workers
As we talked about earlier, workplace injuries take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on workers and their families. The vast majority of employers provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, and this is the first place they would usually go in order to obtain reimbursement for their injury.
While workers’ comp is a no-fault system and you do not need to prove negligence, the benefits are also limited only to economic losses such as medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. Unfortunately, the program does not provide any coverage for noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. That said, this does not mean that an injured worker should give up hope of recovering compensation for these losses.
In many workplace accident cases, an outside party could potentially be responsible for the accident and subsequent injuries. For example, if a worker was struck by a tool or piece of equipment, this could have happened because of the carelessness of a subcontractor who was working nearby the employee who was struck. Or if a worker got his/her arm caught in a machine, it could be that the machine had an inherent defect, in which case it may be possible to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor.
Every case is different, and you will need to have an experienced attorney look at your case to see what legal avenues may be available. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are not necessarily limited to workers’ compensation benefits when an injury or illness occurs in the workplace. Just be sure to get in contact with an attorney sooner rather than later, so they can go to work right away to put together the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Contact a Seasoned Atlanta Workplace Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury or illness in Atlanta or anywhere throughout Georgia, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is here to help. Call our office today at 678-981-5370 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.