Each year, workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses nearly $60 billion in workers’ compensation. That’s over one billion dollars a week, and that is only for the direct costs of workers’ compensation. But if you think that figure is large, consider this: The cost of workers’ compensation is small next to the costs for productivity losses. Such losses amount to $183 billion a year, or three times all the workers’ compensation paid. These costs are borne by the worker, and they include:
- Loss of current and future earnings
- Loss of benefits, such as paid health insurance
- Loss of home production (repairing your home, taking care of your children, cooking and cleaning, and so on).
Furthermore, these numbers don’t account for pain and suffering, which can be considerable in serious occupational accidents.
The Top Causes of Workplace Injury
The top five workplace injury categories were responsible for almost two-thirds (65.4 percent) of the total costs to businesses in 2012. The top ten categories produced 83.8 percent of the total costs. Remember, these figures do not include the workers’ portions, which would be much more.
The top five categories, taken from 2012 records:
- Overexertion, meaning lifting, pushing, pulling, throwing, carrying, or holding heavy loads, accounted for 25.3 percent of all workplace injuries.
- Falls on the same level, often involving slipping or tripping, resulted in 15.4 percent of occupational injuries.
- Being struck by an object or equipment made up 8.9 percent of workplace injuries.
- Falls to a lower level, such as off a roof or off scaffolding, comprised 8.6 percent of occupational injuries.
- Other exertions, meaning bending, crawling, kneeling, climbing, reaching, twisting, stepping, sitting, standing, or walking, were responsible for 7.2 percent of workplace injuries.
You can sue your employer for illegal behavior such as denying a valid workers’ compensation claim, or retaliating against you for filing a claim, but you generally cannot sue them for injury if you accept workers’ compensation, except in certain rare instances.
What Is a Third-Party Suit?
Some examples of third-party suits include:
- Defective products or equipment. For example, if the scaffolding you are using fails and you fall (No. 4 on the injury list above), you could sue the maker of the scaffolding. Another example would be a piece of machinery striking you (No. 3 on the list above) because of a braking or other safety failure.
- Injury by an individual. For example, if you are driving a company vehicle while on the job, and another person runs a stop sign and injures you in an accident, that person can be sued. (Roadway incidents are No. 6 on the Top Ten list.) If that person was driving on business, it’s possible you might also have a case against their employer.
- Exposure to toxins. If you were injured after long-term exposure to something like asbestos, silica, or benzene, you can sue the manufacturer of that substance. You could also sue the maker of the protective equipment for not adequately shielding you, if any was in use.
If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, contact the Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. We have served injured South Carolinians since 1959, so we understand how the workers’ compensation laws work and know how to pursue third-party negligence cases aggressively. We can help you collect the money you’re entitled to, so you can concentrate on getting better and going back to work.
For a free evaluation of your case, call us today at (803) 454-1200 or contact us online. We believe you deserve more than a chance — you deserve a voice. You deserve the truth. You deserve justice.