Injuries That Commonly Occur in the Workplace
Labor statistics show that more than 3,000 Georgia workers are injured in workplace accidents every year. While those numbers are unacceptable, they are also not surprising. Millions of Americans sustain serious injuries on the job annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Workers can get hurt no matter what industry they work in. Common injuries involve serious damage to the shoulders, arms, knees, spine and other vital organs. Workers’ compensation laws require most employers to pay for the cost of medical bills and lost wages and to provide benefits for permanent and partial disability. But sometimes employers and their insurers try to skirt the system or say someone else is to blame for the injuries. If you’re in that position now, you need to talk to a lawyer.
Contact the attorneys of Monge & Associates by calling or contact the firm online for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys know how to handle personal injury and workers’ compensation claims and can help you identify what benefits you deserve, who is at fault for your injuries and what types of legal action you can take. There is no fee for your case evaluation, and you won’t pay us unless we win your case.
Our firm also offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you are not 100 percent satisfied with our services during the first 30 days after hiring our firm, your case file and attorneys’ fee will be returned to you with no questions asked.
The legal team at Monge & Associates represent clients in Atlanta, Decatur, Lithonia, College Park, East Point, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Conyers, Riverdale, Duluth, Fayetteville, Loganville and across Georgia and the Southeast.
TYPES OF WORKPLACE INJURIES
No job is 100 percent safe. Accidents happen. However, federal and state governments have created laws that employers must follow in order to make the workplace as safe as possible. Unfortunately, not everybody complies.
Injuries can happen to any part of the body, but here is a list of some of the most common work-related injuries.
Spinal discs are structures containing a jelly-like substance that lie between the vertebrae in the spine. Discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to bend and flex. A herniated disc arises when some of the jelly-like material leaks out into the spinal canal, putting pressure on the nerves in the backbone and causing serious pain. Jobs that involve lifting, pulling, pushing or twisting put workers at risk for herniated discs, which can require time off work or, in the worst cases, surgical repair.
Fractures / Broken bones
Any forceful impact can cause bones to fracture, or break. Falls are a leading cause of broken bones in the workplace, but any type of accident that causes a body part to be crushed, twisted, pinned or otherwise jammed into an abnormal position can lead to a fracture.
Recovering from a fracture can take a long time, depending on the location and severity of the break. In cases where bones break in multiple parts or protrude through the skin, surgery may be required to repair damaged tissue and place pins, plates and screws to help stabilize the bones and encourage healing.
In worst-case scenarios, bones can be broken so severely that the only medical option is to amputate the damaged limbs. Data indicates that as many as 18,600 amputations in the U.S. are due to work-related injuries, according to the National Center for Occupational Safety and Health. Amputations are more common in jobs that require the use of heavy equipment such as in the manufacturing trade and transportation, construction and agricultural settings.
A healthy shoulder allows for the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. However, work-related shoulder injuries can be particularly limiting because the shoulder is responsible for stabilizing the arms and helping them move. Most occupations require a worker to use his or her arms, so any injury has the potential to interrupt the ability to work for extended periods of time.
Typical shoulder injuries include damage to the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that keep the arm in the shoulder socket. Trauma to a type of cartilage in the shoulder called the labrum can also reduce the stability of the shoulder and arms, resulting in pain, inability to move and dislocations. Jobs that require a lot of lifting or repetitive movements can make workers vulnerable to rotator cuff injuries and torn labrum.
The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. Knee injuries occur often in sports, but they can happen easily at work in a slip and fall accident or in any instance when there is a direct blow to the joint. The most recent federal data show that 280 Georgia workers sustained knee injuries in 2009.
Damage most often occurs to one of several important ligaments:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL): The ACL is one of two ligaments that cross in the center of the knee and it acts as a stabilizer. Any unusual twisting movement, such as the impact from a fall or jump, can injure the ACL.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL): Damage to the MCL typically stems from a direct blow to the outside of the knee. Being hit with heavy equipment is an example of how an MCL injury might occur at work.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL): The PCL crosses with the ACL in the center of the knee and acts as a stabilizer. Injuries occur less commonly in the PCL, but a direct blow to the front of the knee can be damaging. PCL injuries are often called “dashboard injuries” because they often occur in car accidents, when the shin is forcefully pushed backward by hitting the dashboard.
Torn meniscus injury
Other types of knee injuries include:
- Torn meniscus: The meniscus is tough, rubbery cartilage that is attached to ligaments in the knee and acts as a shock absorber. Direct injuries that cause the knee to twist and pivot can tear the meniscus.
- Patella injuries: As long as your kneecap stays in place, you can walk, run, sit, stand and move. If the kneecap partially or fully dislocates, as it might in a work-related fall, you won’t be able to move easily. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), fixing an injured patella may be as simple as having a doctor put the dislocated part in the correct position or as complicated as to require surgery.
Unfortunately, knees can take weeks and months to recover. That can mean considerable time off work, substantial bills and the possibility of not being able to return to the same type of work you did before the accident.
Wrist injuries and sprains can occur at work during a slip, trip and fall accident, but serious wrist damage can also come from performing repetitive job duties, such as typing, scanning items at a cash register, working on an assembly line, painting or using vibrating tools. The most common example of a non-impact, work-related wrist injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.
The carpal tunnel is a structure in the wrist that contains the tendons used to bend and flex your fingers. Running through that tunnel is the median nerve, which controls feeling and muscle movements in some parts of the hand, especially the thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tissues surrounding the tendons swell and put pressure on the median nerve, which may cause pain, numbness and abnormal sensations traveling up the arm and shoulder. As the disease advances, weakness may cause sufferers to drop items or even have problems holding a pencil. Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include a combination of medication, steroid injections, splints, braces and surgery.
In recent years, some employers – particularly in office settings – have begun designing ergonomic work stations that are designed to keep the wrists in a natural position while working. However, according to the National Institute of Health, there is no conclusive proof that ergonomic designs prevent or alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome, including medical bills and lost wages, is estimated to be $30,000.
INJURED ON THE JOB? CALL OUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYERS TODAY
Work-related injuries can be devastating. If you were injured in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for money beyond what you obtained through your workers’ compensation claim. Call Monge & Associates or use our online form for a free consultation. Our goal is to help you secure the money you need to cover past, current and future expenses caused by your workplace accident.
IF WE DON’T WIN, YOU WON’T PAY US
The attorneys of Monge & Associates serves clients in Atlanta, Decatur, Lithonia, College Park, East Point, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Conyers, Riverdale, Duluth, Fayetteville, Loganville and across Georgia and the Southeast