Experienced Chattanooga Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Assisting Injured Manufacturing Employees
Helping people hurt on worksites in Tennessee and North Georgia
Manufacturing is one of Tennessee’s largest industries. Nissan, Volkswagen and GM have plants here; so do Electrolux and Whirlpool. Along with these global and national brands, local Chattanooga manufacturing companies like McKee Foods and Roper Corporation keep our people working. While we rely on these manufacturers to bolster our economy, we must also be aware of the dangers posed to workers.
If you work in the manufacturing industry, and sustain a serious injury or develop a chronic illness because of your work, let Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law help. Our Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyers have been fighting on behalf of the injured since 1945. We can help you with your claim, or represent you in hearings or appeals. Let our family help you, so you can get back to work.
Fast facts from the BLS about worksite injuries
The good news is that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workplace injuries in Tennessee in on the decline. The bad news is that we still have a long way to go: “Of the 60,200 private industry injury and illness cases reported in Tennessee, 31,700 were of a more severe nature, involving days away from work, job transfer, or restriction.” As far as private industry jobs went, in 2016, manufacturing jobs reported the highest number of injuries – 3.7 out of every 100 full-time workers.
In other words, out of those 60,200 injuries and illnesses that were reported in 2016, approximately 12,600 of those workers were employed in manufacturing.
A changing industry means new risks for injuries
The manufacturing industry maintains a lot of the more traditional jobs: assembly and production line workers, welders, machinists, packaging, etc. But there are few industries that have changed as much, and as rapidly, as manufacturing. Some of the last changes include:
- Use of nanotechnology
- Water “lasers”
- 3D printing
- IOT Tech (the Internet of Things)
- Cloud-based computing
- Introduction of new materials (like graphene, versus carbon)
- Collaborative robotics
- VR and augmented reality
As manufacturing moves towards a fully automated, digitized platform, the primary concern most workers have is, “Will I be replaced?” But the immediate concerns should still be for safety – and old safety standards don’t always hold up to these new and emerging tech processes in industrial settings.
For example, let’s say you work in the biotech field. Right now, scientists are developing new compounds, and finding new uses for older materials, in order to craft more effective pharmaceuticals. That’s wonderful news. But every time you introduce a foreign substance into the general population, there’s a risk of contamination. If your “old school” safety gear cannot protect you from coming in contact with materials, and if the cloud-based IOT-tech that keeps your clean rooms closed and sterile glitches, these chemicals can be released and eventually reach people in the packaging department.
Does this seem like a long-shot? Perhaps. But the risk that comes with new tech cannot be denied, and as workers, you deserve to be kept safe from them.
Injuries from traditional manufacturing jobs
Companies who use minimal tech must rely on workers, and workers must rely on themselves, their colleagues and their machines. If any part of that chain fails, disaster can strike. The most common causes of injuries sustained by manufacturing employees in Tennessee include:
- Crushing and caught-between incidents
- Being struck by objects
- Burns and scalds
- Electrical shocks
- Lifting injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Toxic exposure and inhalation
- Skin and respiratory disorders
- Loss of fingers or hands
- Slips and falls
- Falls from heights
- Noise-induced hearing loss
Transportation-related accidents and crashes – from driving a truck to driving a forklift – account for a vast number of these injuries, as do safety violations.
Help for injured workers in Tennessee and North Georgia
If you sustained an injury or developed an illness while in the course of your job duties, you can make a claim for workers’ compensation. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, which would require a party to be found at-fault, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You have to report your injury within 15 days, though, or you could be barred from collecting.
If your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, you could be entitled to:
- Medical treatment. Your workers’ comp benefits should pay for your medical care, including hospital stays, medications, and any therapy you need.
- Vocational rehabilitation. If your injury or illness leaves you unable to return to the type of work you did before, you may be entitled to compensation that will help you train for a new position in your company, or for work in another field.
- Death benefits. If your loved one dies as a result of his or her injuries or illness, you may be entitled to death benefits. This will help you cover funeral and burial costs, and give you a percentage of your loved one’s earnings.
- Scarring and disfigurement. When you are left permanently scarred or disfigured in some way, the workers’ compensation program may give you a lump-sum payment based on your injury.
- Disability benefits. These cover your lost wages, and fall into two main categories:
- Temporary disability – about 2/3 of your salary, paid until you are healed and able to get back to work
- Permanent disability – continues for a set time period, even after you return to work.
At Wagner & Wagner, we respect that our clients really only want to get well enough so they can go back to work. We also know that some injuries take a long time to heal. Our Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyers will help you through the process of filing a claim, so that you can get started on the road to recovery.
The law firm manufacturing employees trust to do the right thing
Being injured on the job is hard; choosing the right workers’ compensation lawyer shouldn’t be. Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law is dedicated to helping you get back on track. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call 423-756-7923 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in North Georgia, Cleveland, TN, Chattanooga and all surrounding counties.