Workplace injuries are so pervasive that the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates a worker is injured every seven seconds, which translates to 12,600 victims per day. The most common injuries at work are cuts and lacerations, soreness and pain, and strains, tears, and sprains, as per NSC findings. Most damages in the line of duty arise from these actions:
- Overexertion, e.g., repeated motions (33.54%)
- Contact with equipment, e.g., being struck, crushed (26%)
- Slips and falls, e.g., on different levels (25.8%)
These injuries and many others hurt the worker and could have negative impacts on their health now and later. Companies with injured workers face a decline in productivity, not to mention the costs associated with addressing workplace injuries. While no workplace is injury-free, there are professions with high rates of injuries such as transportation, construction, manufacturing, installation and repair, and service jobs.
Every year, an estimated 4.6 million workers suffer from some form of injury, and this translates to lost productivity for days, which means hiring replacement workers to avoid lagging behind deadlines. More so, injured workers will ask for compensation to recoup their medical bills and lost income, which means the companies will have to dig into their pockets.
When an injured worker is seeking compensation, the amount of money they can get is dependent on many factors, with the nature and degree of injury being key considerations. Employers involve their insurance company to negotiate with the injured worker so that they can determine if they are entitled to compensation, and if so, how much. An insurance adjuster will negotiate a settlement with the injured employee, but these discussions don’t always yield the desired outcomes.
Having a speedy and fruitful settlement discussion requires preparing your claims and supporting documents swiftly so the evaluation process can begin. The adjuster responds typically within a week or two after receiving your demand letter by calling to book the first appointment, but this depends on availability. They also need time to confer with the client (your employer) about said injuries and investigate to determine if there are grounds for these claims or not.
If there is no response within two weeks, you can contact the claims department and prompt them for a specific date when you can expect to hear from them. If they don’t honor this promise, consider reaching out to their superior and hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to follow up so the insurance adjuster can take your claim with the weight it deserves. Remember, you want this matter solved quickly, so you get money to clear medical bills, pay for additional treatments, and of course replace lost income.
Valuing Workplace Injuries
As mentioned previously, the primary concerns when determining a settlement after injury are the type of damage incurred and to what degree you are injured. Extreme injuries usually demand higher compensation to cover treatment bills and possibly future medical interventions you may need. Insurers gauge the amount of pain and suffering incurred by classifying various injuries and their corresponding degrees of pain, but these are ballpark figures since they are not based on scientific facts. If your injuries are not classified as severe, you can still prove the severity of discomfort and anguish to better your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Most injuries either fall under hard or soft injuries, and there are other forms of injuries as below.
- Soft injuries
Understanding soft injuries are mainly based on how the patient describes pain, and these are categorized as less severe and therefore, not given much compensation. The insurer will use a multiplier of 1.5 to 3 to arrive at the settlement figure, but this computation can increase under certain circumstances. They argue that soft tissue injuries are not enduring and they are less likely to trigger adverse consequences down the line. Also, proving soft injuries in court is more complicated than when dealing with hard injuries.
- Hard injuries
Hard injuries can be seen by conducting a physical exam on the affected part, like a broken femur. Therefore, they are handled more seriously by insurance companies. Insurers use a multiplier of 4 or 5, or even higher depending on severity to arrive at the settlement amount. Any injury that you can prove with documentation from a qualified physician and one that requires extensive treatments are classified as a hard injury. A Personal Injury Lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve so that you can get the best treatment possible, and whenever you need it.
Examples of hard injuries are as follows:
- Head injuries – these injuries are more serious, and the likelihood of permanent damage is considerably high, and so the claim is valued at a much higher price. Your claim value skyrockets if your medical records show internal bleeding or other grave signs of head trauma if you suffered a concussion or entered into a coma during treatment.
- Cracked limbs – breakage, twisting, chipping, or other similar damage to your bones or joints qualifies as a hard injury and therefore due for compensation. You will need to prove to the insurance adjuster how this broken joint or limb has impeded the quality of life, for instance, being unable to work.
- Dislocated limbs – if the accident involved falling off the scaffolding, you may suffer a dislocated shoulder or hip, torn ligaments, or separated joints. The pain is intense, and you may need a round of physical therapy to get back in shape, such as a hip replacement.
Other hard tissue injuries involve shifting a spinal disk, breaking your back, or even damage to the mouth. The evidence of severe injuries is captured by an exam, thus reinforcing your case even when the pain subsides, and you appear to be back on the mend.
Ultimately, personal injury claims are common in many workplaces across the country, but employees don’t always receive the compensation they deserve. Their demand letters could be ignored for weeks, they get lowball offers by an insurance adjuster, or they get intimidated and drop the claims. If you were recently injured at work, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to help in valuing your injuries, so you get the compensation you deserve.