The most common types of workers’ compensation claims are due to work-related accidents, though injuries that accumulate over time and occupational disease are also covered. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the incidence rate of all reported work-related injuries and deaths on an annual basis. (The incidence rate is the number of injuries or illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers.)
In 2010, incidence rates for non-fatal work-related injury and illness were as follows:
- Contact with objects: 28.1
- Fall to lower level: 7.3
- Fall on same level: 18
- Slip or trips without fall: 3.8
- Overexertion: 27
- Repetitive motion: 3.5
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments: 5.2
- Transportation incidents: 5.5
- Fires and explosions: .3
- Assaults and violent acts: 4.9
- All other events: 14.2
- Total incidence rate: 117.9
As you can see, the majority of injuries are related to accidents, with the largest category being “contact with objects.” This type of injury may include things like being struck by a forklift or hit by a falling light fixture. The “overexertion” category may result in back or musculoskeletal injury. “Falls” also account for many claims.
Third Party Claims
Injuries in several of the above categories may involve third-party lawsuits. These are more commonly seen in transportation incidents and assaults and violent acts. As an example, if you are driving supplies from one office to another as part of your job and an individual runs a stop light and hits your vehicle, any injury you sustain should be covered under workers’ compensation. If the party who hit you was at-fault, however, there may also be a third-party claim in the case. Likewise, if your injury was due to an assault or other workplace violence, the at-fault party may also be liable. While many workers’ compensation claims are straightforward, the situation can become much more complex if another person was responsible for your injury.
If you have been injured on the job, especially if there are third-party claims involved, you may wish to speak to an attorney to learn your rights. If you have questions about your specific case, speak to a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney at Merritt Webb.