Accidents at the workplace, just like the other accidents, are inevitable. People spend a lot of time at work, with some studies even suggesting that an average person spends 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work, according to Andrew Naber, a graduate of Gettysburg college. So, at some point during your work life, you may suffer an accident. Therefore, you need to understand what these accidents are, who’s liable, and what to do if one occurs.
First, the accidents need to be taken seriously. They also require immediate action regardless of the degree of harm. It’s important to follow company protocol in reporting the accident and the measures that follow to lower the chances of being found liable. Your claim could also be watered down by your failure to act as required.
What Is A Workplace Accident?
Some workplace-related accidents may lead to physical and mental injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, private employers reported an estimated 2.8 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses in 2019. Some industries, such as transport and construction industries, hold a higher risk of workplace injuries than other industries.
However, it’s crucial to note workplace accidents don’t include occupational diseases. Workplace injuries are sudden occurrences that happen at a specific time, causing harm to a person. At the same time, occupational diseases are conditions that develop over time from performing specific tasks at work.
Common Types Of Workplace Accidents
- Slips and falls: Things like slippery floors, chipped staircases, poor lighting, or uneven walking surfaces can lead to injury. Employees in the Oklahoma area can review this article to learn more about slips and falls and how to appropriately handle them.
- Motor vehicle accidents: Employee drivers may be at a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents and injuries arising from the accidents.
- Getting struck by an object: An employee may get hit by objects falling from heights which may cause bodily harm. An employer can prevent such accidents by ensuring proper storage of stacked objects.
- Falls from heights: This is among the top causes of fatal workplace injuries, especially in the construction industry. Workers often fall from roofs or ladders, resulting in injuries and even death.
- Overexertion: A single accident from work activities such as holding, throwing, carrying, pulling, and pushing can result in injuries that an employee can be held liable for.
- Electrocution: These injuries are caused mainly by coming into contact with exposed electrical cords or faulty electrical outlets.
What Is Legal Liability?
Liability refers to the situation where a person suffers harm or damage from the negligence of another. The employer must provide a safe working environment for their employees. The law, therefore, holds the employer legally liable for any injuries from accidents that occur in an employee’s line of duty.
It’s not at all times that the employer will be held liable. If, for example, the accident occurred because you were intoxicated, your employer should not be held responsible for such. Most employment contracts, if not all, require employees to not consume alcohol or drugs before or during work. An accident arising from such behavior violates work policies, and therefore, the employer shouldn’t be held liable.
Liability falls on your employer when they fail to protect you from accidents related to your work or workplace. In such cases, you deserve to be compensated.
When To Sue An Employer
While most employers will compensate you as a prerequisite after an accident, there are times when you may need to take further legal action. In instances where it’s your employer’s lack of proper care or caution that led to the accident, it’s possible to file a personal injury suit against them.
You may also feel the compensation being offered doesn’t cover the extent of the injuries suffered. If your employer has no insurance cover for work injury claims, you can also institute a civil suit for compensation.
Workplace accidents can sometimes end in a blame game, with each party pointing fingers to avoid liability charges. The best thing for you is to always be aware of your rights and to take the appropriate action when needed.
You can share your grievances with a work injuries lawyer for counsel on the best course of action to take. Try as much as you can to follow the proper procedures when reporting the incident to keep your chances of winning the compensation claim higher. Keep all the records as they might be required should you choose to sue.
However, even though the blame for workplace accidents often falls on the employer, this isn’t always the case. If you indeed were negligent or had an impaired judgment from intoxication in drugs or alcohol, the employer may not be held liable for your injuries.