Hurt on the job? 5 reasons to lawyer-up
No one likes to think about it, but you cannot argue with the facts. More than 5,000 U.S. workers died from work-related injuries in 2019 alone. Another 2.8 million workers suffered from nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Manufacturing jobs accounted for 15 percent of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the private sector.
What do you do if you are hurt on the job? Immediate treatment for injuries is a top priority. Calling a personal injury attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law is the next step. Consulting with a legal professional as soon as possible is the best way to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Never agree to a settlement or payout from a workers’ compensation insurance company without first consulting an attorney.
Occupations with the highest risk
Of all the injuries recorded for 2019, 10 occupations accounted for 33.2 percent of all private-sector injuries and illnesses that required time off from work. The top three occupations with the most injuries per 10,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) workers are:
- Nursing assistants had the highest risk for injury or illness, with roughly 275 incidents. Nursing assistants, especially those who work in nursing homes and other skilled-care facilities, have the highest risk for an on-the-job injury. The kinds of injuries they experienced included back injuries, cuts, bites, and black eyes.
- Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the second-highest incident rate, at around 265 injuries for every 10,000 FTE workers. Sprains and fractures, slips and falls, repetitive injuries (carpal tunnel), and accidents were the four most common types of injuries truck drivers experienced while on duty.
- Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers were next in line for the most injuries, with around 260 total on-the-job injuries. Sprains and strains, back and spinal cord injuries, and fractures are among the most likely injuries for this profession.
The remaining professions rounding out the top 10 most prone to injury while on the job include light truck drivers, construction laborers, maintenance and repair workers, stockers and order fillers, janitors and cleaners (except maids and housekeepers), registered nurses, and retail salespersons.
When should I call an attorney?
Ideally, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a workplace injury. Even if you are still in the hospital being treated for your injuries, reach out. A top-notch personal injury lawyer like Bill Russell will come to you to conduct an initial consultation. Here are some of the top reasons why you should not wait to lawyer-up if you suffer an on-the-job illness or injury.
- Your employer is trying to blame you for your injury or illness
Under New Mexico law, an employer cannot try to blame you for a workplace injury to avoid escaping responsibility. Experienced personal injury attorneys understand the complexities of workers’ compensation cases and will speak up on your behalf if your employer tries to shift blame to avoid fairly compensating you for an injury or illness.
- Your employer’s insurance company is trying to low-ball you
Insurance providers are notorious for offering as little compensation for your injury or illness as possible. It is their job to protect your employer’s bottom line, and if you do not know what your injuries are worth, you may be tempted to accept less than you deserve. Bill Russell prides himself on standing up for victims. He will fight to make sure you receive a fair settlement and pursue your claim in court if necessary.
- Your injuries are serious and life-altering
Sometimes on-the-job accidents cause serious and sometimes permanent disabilities. You will need to make sure all future medical bills are covered, plus any lost wages if you are unable to return to work. An experienced personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation can get enough compensation to meet your ongoing needs.
- Your employer tries to claim pre-existing medical conditions
If you have a pre-existing medical condition that affects the same part of your body injured in a workplace accident, your employer could try to argue you are not entitled to compensation. It is difficult to fight this kind of claim on your own. Consult with an attorney immediately if you believe your employer may try to make this claim to avoid responsibility.
- You need to make a third-party claim
Sometimes workers who are hurt on the job need to pursue both an employer and a third party to receive fair compensation for their injuries. For instance, if you are injured by a piece of equipment you were required to use for work that the manufacturer of that machine knew was faulty, you could pursue both the equipment manufacturer and your employer. When third parties are involved in a workers’ compensation case, things can get complicated in a hurry. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is your best bet for a favorable outcome.
How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico?
New Mexico law affords victims up to three years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The sooner you file, the better your chances of success. Most personal injury lawsuits for workplace injuries are settled out of court. This is the best possible outcome for victims so they can avoid a lengthy and stressful trial.
Ready to discuss your workplace injury to see if you qualify for additional compensation? Reach out to Bill Russell today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.