Each year, workers’ compensation claims end up costing employers and their insurance companies tens of billions of dollars, according to Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Workplace Safety Index. Workplace accidents and injuries that caused employees to miss six or more days of work cost private employers nearly $60 billion in 2014. OSHA has also estimated that employers pay approximately $1 billion per week for workers’ compensation costs.
Workplace injuries cost employers billions annually in the form of workers’ compensation. These benefits include payment for medical bills, wages, and permanent impairment. In many states, including Tennessee, employers who regularly employ five or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, subject to narrow exceptions in the law.
A workers’ compensation claim is distinguishable from a typical personal injury claim primarily because the injured worker does not always need to prove negligence on part of the employer in order to recover. This is why workers’ compensation is frequently referred to as a “no-fault” system. That being said, it is beneficial to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help navigate this unique field of law that is constantly evolving. For instance, the workers’ compensation law in Tennessee drastically changed in 2014 when new legislation was enacted.
Each year there are millions of workplace injuries reported by private-sector employers. However, not all on-the-job injuries are created equal. Many types of injuries occur more frequently and could cost employers and employees in the long run.
For example, the 10 leading causes of workplace injuries accounted for nearly 83% of the $60 billion in cost reported in the most recent Safety Index. Of these common injuries, the three most prevalent are overexertion, slip and falls, and falls to a lower level (i.e. falling off a ladder). Together, these three types of injuries account for almost half of the cost of the 10 leading causes of workplace injuries. Other leading causes of workplace injuries include being struck by an object or equipment, roadway incidents involving a motorized vehicle (i.e. car or truck accident), and repetitive motions.
By categorizing the types and costs of different workplace injuries, the head of Liberty Mutual’s workers’ compensation division hopes that employers will take note of what they can do to make their work environment safer. “Workplace injuries impact both employees and employers,” as “injured employees face potential physical, emotional and financial harm. Employers face the direct costs of workplace injuries – medical care related to the accident and some portion of an injured employee’s pay – and the indirect costs, including hiring temporary employees, lost productivity, and quality disruptions.”
Thus, by spending more on safety, employers could see that cost repaid exponentially in the form of reduced workers’ compensation costs. The goal is that by highlighting direct costs with a hard and fast number, employers can easily see how unsafe work environments affect their bottom line and place their employees at risk. However, no matter how much a company invests in safety and training, accidents are bound to occur at job sites across the United States.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, it is important to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. There is a short window of time within which to contact your employer and put them on notice of your injury. Claims that are not reported in a timely manner may be barred forever. Benefits for medical treatment and time off of work will not be paid until a claim is properly reported within the time frame specified by state law. Do not hesitate to contact the experienced Memphis workers’ compensation attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 to discuss your claim and protect your rights as an injured worker.