Common Workplace Injuries
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in St. Louis
For thousands of years, workers around the world have been protected by some variation of what we now call “workers’ compensation.” The 1750 BC Code of Hammurabi, for example, provided a schedule of required monetary compensation for specific injuries to workers. Essentially workers were paid for each body part they lost. Unfortunately, these systems have gotten no less crude over time.
The Dixon Injury Firm handles a wide range of legal services, including workers’ compensation cases on behalf of injured employees in St. Louis and throughout Missouri. Our experienced and award-winning team can assist you if you suffered a serious injury on the job or if your loved one died due to catastrophic work-related injuries. We understand the immense challenges you are facing—physical, emotional, and financial—and we want to help you get back on your feet.
How Work Injuries Are Valued
Today, as in the past, injured workers are given a formula-set amount of compensation for certain injuries. ProPublica has put together a useful calculator to show how different body parts and injuries are valued in different states.
According to their calculations, someone who loses an index finger at work in Missouri will be awarded an average of $22,325, while someone who loses a hand will get $86,821 and someone who loses an arm can get up to $115,100, on average.
These numbers are just an example, as actual compensation is determined based on an employee’s wages multiplied by a number representing the severity of the loss. For example, a lost arm is actually worth 232 times two-thirds of an employee’s weekly wage, in most cases. That weekly wage has a maximum, though, and many injured people work in low-wage occupations, which is why the estimates may seem a bit low for a permanent disability of that magnitude.
Poor Safety Is Expensive
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strenuously argues that companies should invest in safer workplaces to reduce workplace injuries, not only for their employees’ benefit but also for their own benefit. The agency reports that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for workers’ compensation alone, not to mention the indirect costs.
Indirect costs of an unsafe workplace can include:
- Training replacement employees
- Lost productivity
- Repairing damaged equipment
- Lowered morale
- Increased absenteeism
Liberty Mutual has quantified the ten most expensive injuries in the workplace and found overexertion to be the most expensive work-related injury in the United States. Overexertion injuries cost employers $13.79 billion in 2016. Falls represented the next two biggest categories. Interestingly, falls from the same level cost $10.62 billion while falls to a lower level cost just $5.5 billion. Being struck by equipment ($4.43 billion), being caught by equipment or an object ($1.95 billion), and being struck against an object or piece of equipment ($1.94) also showed up in the top ten. Roadway accidents were a major injury cost as well, coming in at $3.7 billion. Rounding out the top ten is repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome caused by typing and other prolonged activities.
Work Zone Injuries & Fatalities
Hundreds of work zone accidents occur every year in the United States. In Missouri alone, approximately 15 people are killed and dozens more are severely injured in interstate and highway accidents, with more than half of these accidents occurring in designated work zones.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, between 2016 and 2017, fatal work zone accidents in the U.S. increased by nearly 3 percent, which is an average of 19 additional yearly fatalities. Passenger vehicle work zone accidents are the most common, but commercial vehicle work zone accidents are a close second, followed by pedestrian accidents.
Some of the most common causes of work zone accidents and injuries include:
- Speeding: This occurs when drivers exceed the posted speed limit or when weather conditions require slower speeds.
- Bad weather: This can result in rear-end collisions because a vehicle at a stop sign is not visible due to fog or snow.
- Distracted driving: Distracted drivers may be on a cell phone and not react quickly enough to avert an accident.
- Intoxication: Motorists who aren’t aware that they are speeding or weaving on the road cause many auto accidents.
- Pedestrian or driver fatigue: A pedestrian might not look on both sides of the road before crossing or a fatigued driver may fall asleep at the wheel lulled by the motion of the car.
Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatal work zone crashes are often due to changes in traffic patterns because of road construction activity. For instance, narrowing the right-of-way can cause drivers to get confused and cause accidents.
Work Zone Awareness Tips
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) offers FHWA work zone training to improve work zone protection. Their top tips for driving safely around a work zone include knowing about construction activity before you go, wearing your seatbelt, expecting the unexpected, and avoiding distracted driving.
The FHWA also suggests that drivers start paying attention to the driving behavior of other motorists, obeying the signs posted by work crews, not driving dangerously by speeding or tailgating, and staying calm and exercising patience as they drive through a work zone.
How Our St. Louis Workplace Injury Lawyers Can Help You
When you pursue a workplace injury case in St. Louis, it’s important to secure legal counsel with experience. At The Dixon Injury Firm, we work to make sure clients have the resources they need to win a settlement.
Here are a few things to know prior to seeking legal counsel and filing a workers’ compensation claim:
- Hiring a Lawyer Doesn’t Have to Cost a Lot: At The Dixon Injury Firm, we provide our services on a contingency fee basis. This means that our attorneys’ fees are contingent on them winning your case. There are no out-of-pocket expenses for you and, in the unlikely event that we do not secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you do not pay.
- The Value of Your Claim Depends on Many Factors: It is not possible for any attorney to tell you exactly how much you could recover in your workers’ compensation case until they have gone over the various details of your situation. Even then, many factors—such as the nature and severity of your injuries, how long you are out of work, and the cost of medical treatment, among others—all play a role in the amount of benefits you can recover.
- Hiring a Lawyer Is Not Mandatory, But It Is Wise: The law does not require you to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in order to file a claim. However, insurance companies often employ various tactics to dispute or deny your claim. They may even delay your payments or offer you a lowball settlement. An attorney can protect your rights and help ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to.
Call The Dixon Injury Firm If You Were Injured at Work
Whether you were recently injured on the job or have had your workers’ compensation claim denied, our St. Louis work injury lawyers are ready to help you and fight for your best interests. We offer free, no-obligation consultations during which time we can sit down with you and discuss the specifics of your situation. From there, we can inform you of your various legal options and begin developing a personalized legal strategy tailored to your unique needs and goals.
Call (314) 208-2808 to schedule your free case evaluation today. We are available 24/7.