The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act guarantees every employee the right to work in an environment that is safe and healthy. However, industrial work environments pose serious inherent dangers for workers, which are made worse by dangerous situations that must and can be avoided. There are several parties in an industrial setting that have a duty of care to keep workers as safe as possible.
The work injuries that could occur in an industrial or factory setting have the potential to cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries. In the aftermath of an industrial accident, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits, which typically cover all injury-related medical expenses and a portion of lost earnings.
In addition to workers' comp, you may also be able to file a third-party lawsuit against an at-fault party other than the employer. If you have been injured in an industrial accident, it is important that you understand all avenues of compensation that are available to you. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Types of Industrial Accidents That Result in Injuries
There are many different ways in which industrial accidents occur. Some of the most common causes of industrial accidents and related injuries include:
Slip-trip-and-fall accidents: Slip-trip-and-fall accidents can occur in any workplace, but the risk is particularly higher in an industrial setting where such incidents could happen on slippery or wet floors, stairways or ledges.
Chemical exposure: Most industries use chemicals and other substances that could prove hazardous. Chemical burns and injurious exposure to chemicals could occur when these substances are not properly stored or labeled. It could also happen when employees are not adequately trained in the proper use, storage and transportation of these chemicals. Chemical burn injuries can be disabling and disfiguring and could lead to a worker being unable to return to work for an extended period of time, or even permanently.
Back and neck injuries: Sometimes, accidents could occur in a factory setting that causes injuries to the neck and back. Such injuries typically occur when workers lift heavy items, push or pull, or overexert on the job.
Struck by falling objects: Just as we see in a construction site, falling objects can cause significant injuries in a factory or industrial setting as well. Some of the most common injuries workers suffer from falling objects include broken bones, sprains, strains and contusions. Tools and other items should be properly secured in order to prevent such hazards in the workplace.
Electrocution and electrical injuries: When equipment and wiring are not maintained properly, workers may suffer severe electrical injuries. Electrical injuries could result from wiring that is not installed properly, machinery or equipment that is defective, or ladders that conduct electricity.
Getting caught in equipment: Industrial accidents that involve workers getting caught in or between objects and equipment occur more often than they should. The resulting injuries can be as severe as amputation and death. Because the work that happens in factories is fast-paced, major injuries can occur as a result of these accidents.
Workers' Compensation for Industrial Accident Claims
California has a "no-fault" insurance system when it comes to workers' compensation benefits. This means that if you have been injured on the job, you will be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries irrespective of who caused the accident – whether it was your fault or your employer's fault. Workers' compensation in California will still cover your medical expenses and lost income, if you can prove that your injuries occurred while you were doing your job.
Under California law, any employer that has one or more employee (regardless of whether they work full- or part-time) is required to carry workers' compensation. The system itself is designed to protect both employees and employers. While employees are given the assurance that they can receive compensation for medical expenses and lost earnings, employers (in most cases) are shielded from liability stemming from the workplace accidents and injuries.
While employers, in most situations receive immunity from lawsuits in workplace accidents, not all parties are shielded from such liability. For example, if a party other than your employer caused your injury, they may be held liable with a separate personal injury lawsuit or third-party lawsuit. You may be able to file this lawsuit in addition to your workers' compensation claim. Examples of third parties include, negligent contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, manufacturers of defective products such as equipment or tools, and other potential parties.
It is important to remember that the value or worth of third-party lawsuit is often much more than a workers' comp claim. This is because these lawsuits cover losses that are often not covered by workers' compensation such as lost earning capacity and pain and suffering.
This is why, if you have been injured in an industrial accident, it is crucial to discuss your injury claim with an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who will thoroughly evaluate your case and identify all avenues of compensation. This way, you will put yourself in a position to receive maximum compensation for your losses.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
It would be wrong to assume that your workers' compensation claim would be automatically approved or the path to receiving just compensation in your case would be straightforward. On the other hand, as work injury lawyers, we've seen a number of legitimate claims get rejected. Insurance companies count on workers not bothering to appeal a rejected claim.
If you have been injured on the job, unfortunately, you may have to fight to get the compensation you need and rightfully deserve. Workers' compensation laws and personal injury law can often be complicated and confusing. This is not something you should have to deal on your own. You need an experienced and knowledgeable work injury lawyer who will fight for your rights every step of the way.
Call Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC to find out how we can help you. Our California work injury lawyers have had a long and successful track record of helping workers and their families secure maximum compensation for their losses after a workplace accident.