Understanding Workplace Injuries: Prevention, Reporting, and Compensation
Workplace injuries are a common occurrence due to various types of job-related activities. They can result from a specific event or develop over time due to repetitive motion. Understanding the causes, prevention measures, and the process of reporting and compensation are essential for both employees and employers.
Seeking Legal Help
Workplace accidents can be devastating, especially if they prevent you from working for a long period. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws aim to provide reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed work time, getting the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve isn’t always straightforward. Therefore, it is advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer throughout the claims process, which you can learn more here.
What Constitutes a Workplace Injury?
A workplace injury is any harm that befalls an employee while performing their work duties. While some may associate injuries with specific incidents, other forms of injuries, such as those resulting from overuse or repetitive motion, are also commonplace in the work environment. These can lead to long-term, painful conditions affecting various parts of the body.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Certain jobs that require prolonged and repetitive tasks can increase the risk of developing workplace injuries. These jobs include:
- Factory workers
- Jobs requiring extensive typing
- Lab workers
- Construction workers
Chronic Conditions from Workplace Injuries
Workplace conditions can cause lasting damage. Whether it’s an injury from a specific incident or damage resulting from years of repetitive motion, if it happens in the workplace, it’s considered a workplace injury. Such injuries can lead to chronic conditions such as:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lower back pain
- Knee pain
- Muscle strains
Early medical attention is vital to ensure the best treatment outcomes.
Preventing Workplace Injuries
Prevention is always better than cure, and this is particularly true for workplace injuries. Adjustments can be made in the workplace to reduce the strain on the worker’s body. These include:
- Designing ergonomic workstations
- Changing the pace of work
- Employee education on proper technique
- Modifying tasks
Reporting Workplace Injuries
In the event of a workplace injury, it is crucial to report the incident to your employer or supervisor within a specified time limit. In New Jersey, for example, employees are required to notify their supervisors within 14 days of an accident. Failure to do so may result in the denial of a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Exceptions to the Reporting Time Limit
While the general rule is to report an incident and injury within 14 days, some exceptions are permitted. However, if you exceed 90 days in reporting or your employer hasn’t otherwise learned about the injury, New Jersey state law states you cannot file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Exceptions to the 14-day rule include:
- Your employer should always be aware of the injury or illness
- You have a strong reason for not telling your employer immediately
When injured or wronged by another, there’s almost always a legally established time limit within which you must file a lawsuit. This is known as a statute of limitations. In New Jersey, workers’ compensation has a time limit of about 2 years, with exceptions. It’s important to always consider lawsuit filing time limits whenever you get injured or sick while working.