Typical Types of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Injuries

Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Workplace accidents and illnesses happen for many reasons. It is important to work with an experienced North Carolina work injury attorney who knows the common kinds of claim types. It isn’t necessary to prove fault on the part of the employer because fault is not an element of workers’ compensation law. But the type of accident usually indicates the type and extent of injuries. This is important because many employers will try to get the employer to return to work before the worker is ready. Experienced work injury lawyers work with doctors so they know how long injuries should really last and what complications may arise.

Skilled workers’ compensation lawyers also understand when injuries may be permanent, when they might result in the need for vocational retraining, and what disability injury ratings may apply. Attorney Joe Miller has this essential knowledge. For over a quarter century, he has helped thousands of injured workers in North Carolina and Virginia get Strong Justice SM – full compensation for all kinds of work injuries. Some of his work injury knowledge is based on his experience and knowledge of the laws and rules surrounding Workers Compensation in North Carolina.

Here’s a sampling of the more common injury types.

1) Overexertion

Many physical labor jobs such as construction work, industrial job, and health care work require constant pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying. The constant wear and tear can cause damage to muscles and joints. For many workers, there is the one extra push or pull, lift or carry, that wrenches their back, strains their neck or causes acute physical pain, or a heart attack. Overexertion injuries are very common workplace accidents.

2) Slip, fall or Trip and Fall Accidents

Falls around the workplace are very common. They can happen for many reasons such as loose tiles, wet surfaces, poor lighting, wires, or torn carpets. Inventory or equipment that isn’t properly stored or put away can cause slip and fall accidents too. Workers are especially susceptible to slips and falls or trips and falls because their focus is on their immediate task and not looking down at the floor. Slips and falls can happen in almost any work environment including restaurants, medical facilities, construction sites, retail stores, and industrial warehouses.

3) Serious Falls on flat surfaces or from Heights.

In typical slips and falls, the worker falls on a ground or floor-based surface due to some slippery substance such as ice, water, oil or grease. Some falls take place at heights, causing much more serious injuries and even death. Examples of these serious falls are falls from a ladder, a scaffold, or a roof during construction or during an inspection. Falls down stairs can happen in almost any work environment. The farther the fall, the more serious the injuries will normally be.

4) Being Struck by an Object

Without warning, a piece of retail inventory or a piece of heavy equipment can fall on a worker causing broken bones, nerve damage, bruises, amputations, and other medical complications. Falling objects are common in any place with inventory and in construction sites. Falling objects are so common at construction sites, that most construction workers are required to wear helmets. Even so, helmets cannot protect when a heavy piece of lumber or metal falls from a high height.

5) Vehicle Accidents

Many workers need to operate a vehicle to perform their job. Many truck drivers suffer serious injuries because trucks rollover or jackknife. Workers who use cars for work also suffer many accidents for many reasons – such as failure of other drivers to follow traffic laws, driver fatigue, texting while driving, faulty truck equipment, and for other reasons. The reason really isn’t important as long as it can be shown that the use of the vehicle was being operated on company time.

6) Equipment Accidents

Machinery and tools can crush, electrocute, or harm a worker in many different ways. Workers at construction sites are especially prone to injury from forklifts, power tools that don’t work, and for other reasons. Some employers fail to provide necessary safety equipment for their workers. Other employers may fail to comply with state, federal and local guidelines. Equipment is not always chosen with the safety of the worker in mind. Workers should be properly trained on how to use the equipment. All equipment should be routinely inspected for defects and signs of wear and tear.

7) Repetitive Motion

Repetitive stress injuries are a common workplace occurrence. They can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, pain in the spine, and other complications. The problem with repetitive workplace injuries is that one can typically not recover for repetitive stress injuries. If there is a potential recovery for something such as carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive use, it may be covered as an occupational disease, if certain strict criteria of proof can be met. There must be clear evidence that the type of work performed over time caused the carpal tunnel syndrome and that the public is not equally exposed to this type of work.

8) Violence at work.

Some workers are hurt because of fights with coworkers. Others can be injured or killed because a disgruntled former employee, someone with a mental illness, or just a plain no-good criminal commits a crime on the workplace such as a killing or a robbery. Workers who are injured are usually entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if someone else committed a violent or criminal act. Co-worker violence is only compensable if the violence relates something having to do with the job. Violence brought on by a personal grievance is not compensable.

9) Occupational Diseases.

In addition to accidents, there can be compensation for occupational diseases. Some are well-recognized and listed in the statute book such as asbestosis, silicosis, manganese poisoning and loss of hearing caused by harmful noise in the workplace. Other types of injuries and conditions not listed specifically in the statute can be shown to be an occupational disease if

  1. It can be shown that the disease is due to the characteristics of the particular job the worker was engaged in and
  2. It is not something to which the public is equally exposed.

So for instance, if you were claiming you got a bad case of the flu because of your work environment—and you worked construction—that would not be something you could prove because the public is equally exposed.

But if you worked in a lab that handled flu viruses and you came down with several cases a year of the particular strain that only you handled—likely you would win.

Another example—you claim carpal tunnel syndrome, but your job is driving a car. Everyone drives. Not likely going to win. But if you are a machinist and you work with hand tools all day long—and you are right-handed and the carpal tunnel is in your right hand–that is something else.

In some of these cases, if someone other than the employer caused the accident – the injured worker may also have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible third party.

Speak with an Experienced North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Whether you are a janitor, a health care worker, a construction employee, a teacher, a certified nursing assistant, a truck driver, an office worker, or anyone in most any type of North Carolina job, you have rights. If you were hurt on the job, you have the right to seek medical help, to demand payment for your fair percentage of lost wages. You may also be able to seek vocational retraining.

Attorney Joe Miller has the skill and experience you need. He is a strong and aggressive advocate for injured workers. For help now, call Joe Miller Law at 888-694-1671 or complete his online contact form. You may be entitled to a substantial recovery.