Most employees who are injured on the job in Virginia will qualify for workers’ compensation (WC) benefits as long as they can show that their injury or illness is work-related. Simple? Not really. Employers’ insurance companies have found ways to routinely deny legitimate workers’ compensation benefits for falls that happen on the job.
Common Causes Of Workers’ Compensation Falls
According to a publication from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), falls and falling objects can result from construction areas with unprotected sides, wall openings and floor holes; improper scaffolding construction; unguarded protruding steel rebars; misuse of portable ladders and more.
In fact, these types of injuries account for approximately one third of all construction deaths:
- Unprotected sides, wall openings and floor holes. Almost all job sites have unprotected sides and edges, wall openings or floor holes at some point during the construction process. If these areas are not sufficiently protected, injuries from falls or falling objects can result in sprains, lacerations, concussions and even death.
- Improper scaffold construction. Balancing on a narrow scaffold is difficult enough. Add heavy equipment and building materials while trying to work on that scaffold and it can become hazardous. Without proper fall protection or safety equipment, falls from scaffolding can result in serious injury or death.
- Unguarded protruding steel rebars. Unguarded protruding steel reinforcing bars (commonly referred to as rebar) can be extremely hazardous. Workers who are impaled or simply stumble into sharp rebar can experience severe injuries and death.
- Misuse of portable ladders. Portable ladders that are not properly or safely positioned can result in the loss of balance while on the ladder or while trying to climb up or down it. Falls from ladders are very common and can cause serious injuries – especially from high areas.
While OSHA regulations dictate that workers must be protected any time they are working at a height of six feet or more (in the construction industry) or four feet or more (in general industry), falls still occur – and they can be costly. OSHA estimates that the costs of many job site falls are approximately $50,000, but can be much higher depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident – and for specific types of occupations.
Roofer & Carpenters Have A Greater Risk Of Injury
While anyone can be injured due to unsafe working conditions or simply due to an accident occurring at a job site, roofers and carpenters tend to have a greater risk of injury , with more costs associated with those injuries. According to 2012 statistics published by Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the costs associated with fall injuries for these occupations are significant.
- Roofers. The average yearly claims costs associated with roofers who fall from elevations is approximately $54 million per year with each claim costing approximately $106,000 in lost wages, medical care and rehabilitation. The average yearly claims cost associated for roofers who fall specifically from ladders and scaffolding is approximately $19 million per year with each claim costing approximately $68,000.
- Carpenters. The average yearly claim costs associated with carpenters who fall from elevations is approximately $93 million per year with each claim costing approximately $97,000 in lost wages, medical care and rehabilitation. The average yearly claims cost associated with carpenters who fall specifically from ladders or scaffolding is approximately $62,000.
These types of expenses can put an enormous financial and emotional strain on the injured worker and their family. The bottom line is that the majority of falls that are work-related should be covered by workers’ compensation. When you’ve suffered a workplace injury and can’t get workers’ compensation, our attorneys will fight to get you the money you deserve for lost wages, medical costs and fees, vocational rehabilitation or retraining. If you’ve been denied workers’ compensation for a legitimate work-related injury, call Geoff at (804) 888-8888 or fill out a free initial consultation form.
For additional information, see our section on Virginia Workers’ Compensation FAQs.
Geoff McDonald & Associates: Helping Injured Employees Get WC Benefits For Over 20 Years
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, our experienced and aggressive Virginia workers’ compensation lawyers understand how some insurance companies operate. We can help you cut through the red tape and get your benefits – so that you can concentrate on getting better.
We make it our job to understand your individual needs and circumstances. We know the WC system and we’ll guide you through it to obtain the maximum workers’ compensation and other benefits for which you’re eligible. Our firm has been doing exactly that for the past 20 years.
We accept clients from across Virginia, including these areas: Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads, Chesapeake Bay, Northern Virginia, Central Virginia, Southern Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Highlands and the Heart of Appalachia. Our personal injury lawyers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we have the No Fee Guarantee®, meaning you don’t owe us a legal fee unless we win or settle your case.
Need help with your workers’ compensation claim? Just call Geoff at (804) 888-8888.