In a year-end report published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, data showed that despite safety regulations, 2,644 amputations occurred on the job in 2015. What’s even more concerning is that the data collected was only taken from 26 participating states.
New Reporting Regulations
In 2015, OSHA implemented a new reporting process which required employers to report any serious injuries, like amputations, within 24 hours of the accident. This system was put into place because it has been noted that when an accident resulting in a fatality occurred, the investigation into that accident typically reveals a long history of serious injuries in the same workplace. By requiring companies to call within 24 hours, the administration hopes to prevent fatalities.
Despite the new system, OSHA estimates that 50% of all workplace injuries still remain unreported. In order to combat the lack of reporting, the fines for failing to report an injury have been raised to as much as $7,000.
Obtaining Workers’ Compensation After An Amputation
Anyone who has suffered an amputation due to an accident on the job is entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident or which body part was amputated – an injured worker should receive compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages through workers’ compensation insurance provided by their employer.
How To File A Claim
After you have received the necessary immediate medical care after your accident, you need to inform your employer about the accident and your injuries in writing. Do this as quickly as possible. Usually, your employer will have all of the forms that you will need to fill out.
After the injury has been reported to the insurance company you will likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster. If you haven’t contacted a workers’ compensation attorney, it is a good decision to do so before you speak with the adjuster. Adjusters are trained to do everything within their power to save the company they work for money and, as a result, their line of questioning will be aimed at getting you to answer in a way that will allow them to reduce or deny your claim. An attorney can help you to answer these questions so that you won’t risk a denial.
If you are one of the many workers who receive a denial, an attorney can help you identify why you received a denial and navigate the appeal system.
Are There Other Ways To Receive Compensation?
Yes. In many cases, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party whose negligence resulted in the loss of your limb.
For example, if you were injured due to a defective product, it may be possible to pursue legal action against the manufacturer of the product or the manufacturer of the parts which were defective.
Why Should I Consider A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Many of our clients have questioned why they should bother considering a personal injury lawsuit if they have already applied for workers’ compensation. The sad reality is that even if your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you will likely experience financial loss. Medical expenses may be covered, however, only a fraction of your lost earnings will be obtained and pain and suffering will never be factored into the equation.
By pursuing a lawsuit, you could stand to recover compensation for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, the full amount of lost wages, and any medical expenses not covered by the workers’ comp.
How To Document Your Losses
You should begin to document any losses you may have suffered as soon as possible. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, your injuries, obtain copies of all medical records, keep copies of any workers’ compensation forms you have filed, the written statement to your employer, any communication you have received from the insurance company, the contact information of any witnesses, and any bills or receipts or payments that you have made for losses pertaining to your accident. All of these documents will help your attorney build your case so that you may get the maximum amount possible in compensation.