Healthcare is the fastest-growing part of the United States economy, currently employing more than 18 million workers. Women are almost 80% of the workforce. While the healthcare industry is an excellent field with good salaries, healthcare workers face serious hazards on the job, such as exposure to chemicals and dangerous drugs, back and foot injuries, allergies to latex, stress and violence.
When a healthcare worker suffers a serious injury or accident that leads to pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages, Guajardo & Marks is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Reasons for Injuries to Healthcare Workers
The healthcare field includes many types of jobs, from nurse to home care worker to administrative assistant. Regardless of the type of job, everyone who works in healthcare has some risk of an on-the-job injury. Some of the top reasons for injuries in the healthcare field are:
- Repetitive stress and overexertion: OSHA states that healthcare workers are more than seven times more likely to have musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs than all other workers. Nurses, attendants and orderlies have the highest risk of suffering an MSD, due to the repetitive tasks they do in their jobs every day.
- Patient handling: Manual lifting of a patient can be extremely taxing on the lower back and other sensitive parts of the body, especially when you must perform these tasks over and over.
- Sticks with needles: Healthcare workers often use needles and sharp medical tools that can puncture their skin and lead to infection or contamination.
- Slips and falls: Hospitals commonly have liquids spill on the floor, and slips and falls are common.
- Violence: Healthcare workers are more likely to be assaulted on the job. Patients, families and their friends are often highly upset and agitated, and they each pose a risk of violence.
- Understaffing: Many healthcare facilities have limited budgets and may have a shortage of healthcare workers. Understaffing can heighten the risks of many injuries to healthcare workers. Workers are under pressure to work faster and get more done with less help.
Common Healthcare Worker Injuries
Some of the most common types of healthcare worker injuries are:
- Strains and sprains: According to OSHA data, strains and sprains are the most commonly reported injuries for healthcare workers. Most of these injuries are to the shoulders and lower back.
- Slipped back discs: The regular transferring and lifting of patients can damage discs in the lower back.
- Bloodborne infectious diseases: Needlesticks greatly increase the risk of spreading a variety of bloodborne diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS.
- Infections: These may occur from airborne pathogens or exposure to bodily waste or mucus.
- Broken bones: Fractures often occur due to violence in the workplace from patients or family.
- Head injuries: Can occur in workplace violence or in a slip-and-fall accident
Legal Options for Injured Healthcare Workers
If you suffer a workplace injury in a healthcare facility, you could be entitled to compensation and benefits. The most common option is to file a worker’s compensation claim. This is generally the only option to obtain compensation from your employer after an injury on the job. Workers cannot sue their employers for workplace injuries except in limited cases.
Workers’ compensation allows you to have your costs covered after most workplace injuries in a healthcare facility or any workplace where you are a full-time worker. Common healthcare injuries are covered, such as repetitive stress injuries and illnesses that come from toxin exposure. No negligence needs to be shown on the part of the employer to collect benefits.
The other option in very limited cases is to file a personal injury lawsuit if another person was to blame for your healthcare workplace injury. For instance, if you are attacked by a family member of a patient, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that person.
Personal injury legal actions usually allow you to obtain more compensation than workers’ compensation because you can be compensated for pain and suffering; you cannot do this with a workers’ comp claim. But in a personal injury claim, you must prove the defendant engaged in negligent behavior that caused your accident injuries.
Contact a Dallas, Texas, Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you are a healthcare worker and have been hurt on the job, you need to be represented by an experienced Dallas workers’ compensation attorney or a personal injury attorney. Guajardo & Marks has years of experience representing injured healthcare workers in workers’ compensation cases and personal injury lawsuits. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.