Any injury in the workplace is an inconvenience for many employees. However, there are some injuries from which a worker rarely recovers. One of those injuries is a crush injury. Crush, sometimes called crushing, injuries can be so severe that workers may suffer a traumatic amputation, or loss of life.
Even if the worker’s crush injury is not fatal, the worker is still at risk of losing key motor functions in their limbs. Whatever the scenario, the worker’s health is seriously at risk. When workers suffer crush injuries at the workplace, their Chattanooga workers’ compensation benefits should cover the cost of their injury.
How crush injuries can happen on the job
Crush injuries are common in occupations that deal with heavy machinery. Construction workers, mechanics, and warehouse workers are just some of the workers who are most at risk of suffering from crush injuries in the workplace. Here are four occasions where one can experience crushing injuries in a work accident:
- Getting stuck between two pieces of machinery. Workers are likely to get crushed when they are stuck between two pieces of machinery. This can include getting caught in a machine press or being pinned by a forklift, for example.
- Falling objects. Another common cause of crush injuries involves falling or collapsing materials. Construction workers in particular are in danger of being hurt by tools or materials falling from ladders, scaffolds, cranes, and other types of heavy machinery
- Getting caught in a trench collapse. Excavation is a dangerous part of any construction job, and trench collapse – when the walls of the excavation fall in – is a real concern. Workers who are caught under the soil and materials can easily be crushed, and often do not survive the incident.
- Defective tools and machinery. If a tool or piece of machinery has a defect, either in its design or its manufacturer or because of poor maintenance, it can easily crush a worker. If a machine press’s safety switch doesn’t work, or if the brakes on a truck fail, it is the workers who pay the price.
How crush injuries can cause permanent disability
Crush injuries can cause serious or fatal injuries. Depending on the force and weight of the object, as well as the type of body part that has been crushed, a worker can risk amputation. Workers who endure crush injuries can lose circulation and oxygen around the crushed area of the body. When this happens, the cells die out, and infections can occur within hours.
Even if the crush injury is not fatal, the worker is still capable of losing function in the crushed body part. The crush injury can cause nerve damage in the affected area, leading to long-term functional loss.
Can I get workers’ compensation for a crush injury?
When you or a loved one have suffered a crush injury, you will have to come to terms with the fact that you could be permanently disabled. The impact from the crush injury could at best cause you to experience functional loss and at worst, an amputation. With either scenario, your ability to work and make a living will be affected. One way that you can receive compensation for your crush injury is through workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation insurance grants benefits to injured workers in exchange for waiving their rights to legal action against their employer. Instead of filing a lawsuit against the employer for their injuries, workers can file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits for several expenses, including:
- Medical expenses. Through your workers’ compensation claim, you can pay for the medical costs associated with your injury. This includes surgeries, pain medications, emergency care services and medical devices.
- Permanent disability benefits. If you have not made a complete recovery from your crush injury, you can qualify for permanent disability benefits. These benefits are offered once you still have not recovered after receiving your temporary benefits, but have reached maximum improvement for your injury.
- Current and future lost wages. Workers’ compensation benefits can also cover any current or future wages you will lose out on due to your crush injury.
- Funeral expenses. In some circumstances, a crush injury can result in sudden death. Your loved one’s funeral expenses can be covered through their workers’ compensation claim.
Can I file a workers’ compensation claim and also file a third-party claim?
In addition to workers’ compensation claims, there are other options that you can exercise to receive compensation for your crush injury at work. If another party outside of your employer was held liable for your crush injury, you can file a third-party personal injury claim against the other party. A third-party claim helps hold the other negligent party liable for your crush injury. You can pursue compensation such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering from a third party as well.
In some circumstances, you can file a third-party claim while also receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Some of the circumstances include whether your workers’ compensation benefits cover the full extent of your crush injury. Sometimes, workers’ compensation benefits do not offer enough financial compensation for a worker’s crush injury. In that case, you may be advised to file a third-party claim against another negligent party responsible for your crush injury.
A Chattanooga workers’ compensation attorney can assist you with correctly filling out your workers’ compensation claim and avoiding any potential mistakes. With a serious injury like a crush injury, it is important to follow all necessary procedures that can help you receive compensation as soon as possible. Our workers’ compensation attorneys can also help represent you if your claim has been denied by your employer.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we want to help you receive your workers’ compensation benefits with as little frustration as possible. We work with you one-on-one to ensure that you receive the best outcome for your case. Contact us today by calling 423-756-7923, or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We serve injured workers in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and North Georgia.
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