No matter what kind of occupation you have, there is always a chance of getting hurt at work. Each year, thousands of workers in the US suffer fatal injuries, and millions more end up with severe and debilitating conditions. Companies in Huntington and communities throughout West Virginia have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to keep their workers safe and free from injury. OSHA has established various workplace safety standards, and these standards must be followed in order to minimize the number of injuries that occur on the job.
Unfortunately, some Huntington area employers do not always follow OSHA laws and best safety practices. Oftentimes, this is due to short staffing, poor management, and lack of adequate training, which all stems from a failure to prioritize safety over their bottom line. The end result is that far more workers get hurt on the job, costing billions of dollars to treat every year.
When someone gets hurt in a workplace accident, their first legal recourse is usually to file a workers’ compensation claim. Most Huntington employers have workers’ comp coverage, and these benefits pay for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and for partial or total disability.
In some instances, a workplace injury could be the fault of a party other than the employer. When this is the case, the injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the responsible party. Whatever the circumstances, it is always best to work with an experienced workplace accident lawyer, so you are able to look at every legal option that is available to you.
Since 1974, the Masters Law Firm has stood up for the working people of West Virginia. Our firm is solely dedicated to representing those who have been injured or suffered losses because of the negligent or reckless actions or omissions of others, and our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law.
When someone is injured at work, they have a right to full and fair compensation. We advocate aggressively for our clients during the workers’ compensation claims process, a process in which the deck is often stacked against injured workers. And if there are other legal avenues available, we will go to work immediately to build a rock-solid case that will stand up at trial.
Common Workplace Accidents in Huntington, WV
US companies lose more than $1 billion per week in productivity because of workplace injuries. Some of the most common causes of these injuries include:
Overexertion: Injuries that occur because of lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, or throwing. Overexertion injuries are common in occupations that involve working with heavy equipment, moving heavy cargo, etc.
Slips and Falls: Some slip and fall injuries occur on the same level because of conditions such as wet and slippery services, while others involve falling from a higher elevation to a lower level. Slips and falls happen frequently in hospitals and on factory floors, and they are also very common in the construction industry.
Struck By/Struck Against Object or Equipment: In occupations where heavy tools, equipment, and machinery are used, workers can get struck by heavy objects or equipment usually because of carelessness. Struck by/struck against events happen frequently on construction job sites.
Caught In-Between/Crush Events: Occupations with heavy machinery carry the risk of caught in between/crush injuries. These injuries can happen when someone gets caught or compressed by the equipment or gets crushed in an enclosed area.
Repetitive Motions: Numerous occupations involve repetitive motions in which a worker continually uses certain body parts. For example, on a manufacturing assembly line, workers perform the same tasks repeatedly. Over time, this can result in repetitive stress injuries.
Transportation Accidents: A lot of workplace injuries happen because of vehicle accidents that occur while an individual is performing work related duties off-site. Huntington’s mountainous terrain creates difficult driving conditions (especially in the wintertime), which heightens the risk of transportation accidents.
Huntington, WV Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation is usually the first place an injured worker would go for reimbursement of their losses. The good thing about workers’ compensation is that it is a no-fault system, meaning that there is no need to prove negligence on the part of the employer in order to obtain benefits. That said, the claims process is complicated and confusing, and it is not uncommon for workers to be wrongly denied benefits, a tactic that might be used to frustrate workers into giving up on the benefits they deserve.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits for the following:
Medical: The cost of reasonable and necessary medical expenses without any deductibles.
Temporary Disability: Two-thirds of weekly wages if you are unable to work at all until you recover from your injury. If you are able to do some limited work, you may receive the difference between your pre and post-injury wages.
Permanent Disability: Compensation for the loss of a body part or another impairment that reduces your potential earning capacity, or compensation for a permanent total disability that resulted from the injury.
Vocational Rehabilitation: If you are unable to go back to your previous job, you can receive help in finding a new job and/or retraining for one.
Death Benefits: If an individual suffers a fatal workplace injury, surviving family members can receive compensation for funeral and burial costs.
The main drawback with workers’ compensation is that injured employees cannot recover compensation for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
Workplace Injury Actions against Third Parties
In most cases, you are not allowed to file a lawsuit against your employer. However, if an outside party caused or contributed to a workplace injury, you may be able to file a personal injury action directly against that party. This would open up the door for additional compensation that you could not be able to receive through workers’ comp.
Here are some examples of outside parties that could be responsible for a Huntington, WV workplace injury:
Contractors/Subcontractors: In some workplaces, there are outside contractors and subcontractors that perform tasks in the vicinity of employees. If one of them were to cause an accident, they could be held liable or the injury.
Vehicle Drivers: When a worker gets hurt in an off-site transportation accident, they may be able to file an accident injury claim against the driver who caused it.
Product Makers: If a workplace injury is caused by a defective or dangerous product (such as a machine that malfunctions), the injured worker may be able to file a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or any other party within the product’s supply chain.
If you or someone close to you suffered a workplace injury in West Virginia, The Masters Law Firm is here to help. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106.