According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) more than 30,000 workplace illnesses and injuries occur each year across Louisiana. The state’s service, construction, and manufacturing industries experience most workplace injuries and illnesses. Yet, those who work in other occupations also suffer injury and illness. Regardless of your exact occupation, if you’ve been hurt on the job, you have the right to workers’ compensation benefits that cover medical expenses and issue disability payments.
In some cases, you might also have the right to seek compensation for damages in civil court against a third party. An experienced New Orleans workplace accident attorney can guide you through the workers’ compensation claims process, investigate your workplace accident claim, negotiate a settlement when applicable, and fight for you in court when settlement is not an option. Below we cover some common types of workplace accidents and provide a broad overview of the workers’ compensation claims process and bringing a lawsuit against a third party for compensation beyond benefits.
Workplace Scaffolding Accidents
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 2.3 million construction workers perform their job duties on scaffolding, which accounts for 65 percent of the nation’s construction workers. A BLS study estimates that more than 70 percent of construction workers involved in scaffold accidents reported that the event occurred as a result of weak planking or support, the employee slipping, or a falling object striking the worker. These are all preventable causes of scaffolding accidents that employers can reduce when they comply with OSHA guidelines regarding scaffolding, such as:
- Properly assembling and securing scaffolding
- Installing guards and handrails on scaffolding
- Replacing worn, damaged, or weak scaffolding
Workplace Electrocution Accidents
According to OSHA, electrocution is the third leading cause of fatalities in construction site accidents, with dozens dying each year. Many other workers suffer serious electrocution injuries, some of which result in permanent damage. One of the major issues that lead to electrocution injuries is that workers are simply unaware of the electrical hazards around them while working. OSHA states that the most common causes of electrocution injuries include:
- Unintended contact with live power lines
- No ground-fault protection, Failure to ground or improper grounding of equipment
- Using equipment for purposes not intended by the manufacturer
- Improper use of extension cords
OSHA reports that falls and getting struck by an object are the leading causes of death on construction sites, other workplace hazards also lead to fatalities. One example is explosion accidents in the workplace. Explosions do not happen frequently, but when they do, the consequences are dire. Workers involved in an explosion often cannot return to work because they suffer permanent injuries, most often severe burns.
Like many other workplace accidents, explosions are preventable. Some causes of workplace explosions include:
- Faulty electric wiring
- Gas leaks
- Defective equipment
- Improper handling and storage of flammable materials
Burns are costly to treat and often devastate victims emotionally and financially on top of their physical pain. A skilled New Orleans workplace accident attorney can help you get the benefits and compensation you deserve if you suffered burns from an explosion at work.
New Orleans Trench Accidents
Each year workers at phone companies, cable companies, and construction workers dig thousands of miles of trenches across the nation to bury wires and pour foundations for buildings. If employers and workers do not follow best practices ensuring safety, workers face injuries or death if a trench caves-in or collapses. Those trapped can inhale toxic fumes and substances, suffocate, drown, or suffer electrocution injuries or burns from an explosion if they come in contact with any underground utilities. Additionally, trench accidents can occur when heavy equipment falls into the trench and injures those working.
Workers Compensation in New Orleans
Workers’ compensation is federally mandated insurance that each employer must carry to provide benefits to workers who suffer on-the-job injuries. Each state administers their own workers’ compensation program. If a worker gets hurt in the workplace and files a workers’ compensation claim, he or she may receive medical benefits, temporary or permanent disability payments, and vocational rehabilitation. Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits also include coverage for prescription medication.
Workers’ compensation is intended to pay injured workers and protects employers from lawsuits. Fault does not matter in workers’ compensation claims. Yet, workers’ comp insurance carriers and some employers can make filing a claim a frustrating process. Insurance companies deny claims and devalue claims, and some employers engage in retaliation. If you’ve been a victim of retaliation for filing a claim or your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you need a knowledgeable lawyer on your side to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Third-Party Workplace Accident Lawsuits
Even when your workers’ compensation claim is approved and you receive benefits, you will still likely feel financial pressure. Although benefits cover your medical expenses, disability payments are only a portion of what you made before your injury. Workers’ comp benefits also do not compensate you for the non-economic damages you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries.
Bringing a third-party workplace accident lawsuit can sometimes be an option that allows workplace accident victims to receive more compensation to help meet monthly living expenses and avoid financial ruin. You cannot sue your employer unless they aren’t carrying workers’ compensation insurance, or they were grossly negligent. In most cases, you must pursue compensation from another party. Examples of third parties your attorney might recommend naming as a defendant in a lawsuit include:
- Property owners or building owners when you are working on a site
- General contractors when you are on a site
- Drivers who cause an accident when you are hurt in a company vehicle
- Manufacturers of defective equipment that caused injuries
- Manufacturers of toxic substances if you’ve been exposed
Contact a New Orleans Workplace Accident Attorney
If you’ve suffered injuries in a New Orleans workplace accident, you need legal representation from a skilled lawyer who can advocate for you and help you get the benefits and compensation you deserve. Workplace injury claims are typically complex and involve multiple parties. Contact the experienced New Orleans workplace accident lawyers at Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest Law Firm online or call 504-200-0000 to discuss the details of your workplace injuries and how they have impacted your life.