Today’s American workers face many challenges that are often at the forefront of their minds — possible job loss, stress from being overworked and stagnant wages, among others. One challenge that workers may not consider is the possibility of getting into a serious accident on the job — which can cause injuries that force them to stop working for an extended period, or in extreme cases, can cause death.
Statistics show that serious workplace injuries are far too common: In 2010 alone, over 4,500 American workers were killed on the job, while millions more suffer serious nonfatal injuries. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workplace deaths and nonfatal accidents have been decreasing in recent years, there is still a lot of room to improve workplace safety.
“Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home,” Hilda Solis, the Secretary of Labor, wrote in a blog entry. “Every year in America, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury from which they may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families and damage our economy.”
In 2010, some of the most common workplace accidents included:
Illinois workers’ compensation is available to most workers in the state who are injured while performing their job duties. This insurance is designed to cover the costs of medical expenses related to the injury — such as the cost of prescriptions, hospitalization and rehabilitative therapy — as well as reimburse workers for their lost wages. If a worker experiences fatal injuries on the job, his or her family may also collect death benefits.
In order to collect these benefits, workers are required to notify their employer that they have been hurt on the job within 45 days of the injury. If the employer denies benefits, employees have the right to file a claim against the organization with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist workers in obtaining the benefits they deserve.