The total cost of workplace injuries in the United States was estimated at $198 billion a year, according to a report by the National Safety Council. Workplace injuries affect not only the workers, but also their families, for many years. Workers’ Compensation is designed to provide workers with medical treatment and compensation for their injuries. However, it does not provide compensation to the workers’ families, who often suffer the negative effects of those injuries for years to come.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) report, Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job, examines the financial and emotional impact of workplace injuries. One case study found that in 10 years following an injury, workers in New Mexico earned 15 percent less than they did before the workplace accident. They also spent an average of $31,000, despite receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. According to OSHA, only 21 percent of the cost of worker injuries is covered by Workers’ Compensation. The federal government pays 11 percent, the state and local government pays five percent, and private health insurance pays 13 percent, leaving the injured worker to pay 50 percent of the cost of their injuries.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Northern Kentucky University conducted a joint study in which they found that families of injured workers were more likely to suffer injuries themselves. The study found that family members of severely injured workers filed 34 percent more claims related to fractures, sprains, joint dislocations, and other musculoskeletal disorders than families of non-severely injured workers in the three months following the occupational injury. NIOSH believes this may be because family members of severely injured workers are relied upon to help move their injured relative around, or to help with household chores, such as moving heavy furniture.
Lost or diminished wages can be a source of emotional strain for families of injured workers. Time off from work may lead to strained relationships between the worker and their employer. Being unemployed may also lead to a decline in other areas of the workers’ physical or mental health, and can even cause depression. The president of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America (LIUNA) states that workers can best avoid the harmful physical, emotional, and financial toll of workplace injuries by preventing the workplace accident from occurring in the first place. LIUNA, OSHA, and other affiliates are working diligently to reduce the amount of workplace accidents by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.
York County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for the Families of Injured Workers
If you were injured in a workplace accident, contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer in York County at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We understand the comprehensive toll that workplace injuries can take on the families of injured workers. Our team is experienced in navigating the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system. We provide high quality legal services to injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina, including clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 for a free, confidential consultation.