Common Causes of On-the-Job Neck Injuries

Neck injuries can cause crippling pain and affect other areas of the body, since injuries impacting the neck often extend to other regions of the spinal cord. Unfortunately, neck injuries are relatively common in the workplace. Getting familiar with your workers’ compensation rights and your workplace’s process puts you in a better position if you do become injured.

Have you been injured at work? We can help you with your workers’ compensation claim. Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-3371 to schedule a consultation now.

Stress Injuries

Stress injuries are extremely common at workplaces across various industries. Essentially, any job that has repetitive work tasks puts employees at risk of stress injuries. These injuries can be difficult to identify, as pain may build up slowly over time, rather than starting immediately after a standalone accident. For that reason, it’s important for employees to be in touch with their pain levels and identify any activities that cause an increase in pain levels.

Stress injuries vary depending on the work environment. People who work in an office often suffer pain because they lean forward at their desk while working, putting extra strain on the upper neck. Those who work in manual labor may suffer stress injuries after lifting heavy boxes. People who work in a call center may suffer neck pain from holding a phone between their shoulder and ear every day.

Car Accidents

Across the board, car accidents are one of the most common sources of neck injuries. Unfortunately, car accidents can lead to all types of neck injuries. Bulging discs, neck sprains, whiplash, and fractured vertebrae can all happen after a vehicle collision. A vehicle crash puts an enormous amount of strain on the neck, which often results in lingering pain for victims.

A car accident can be considered a workplace injury if it happens when you are traveling between worksites, going to clients’ locations, or as part of your regular job duties. It may not be considered a workplace accident if it happens when you are running personal errands or stopping for coffee between work tasks.

Falls

Both same-level falls and falls from heights can lead to serious neck injuries at work. Injuries vary, depending on the severity of the fall and the overall health of the person. For example, an aging worker is far more likely to suffer serious injuries because of a fall than a younger employee. Some injuries that may happen during a fall include vertebral fractures and whiplash. Sometimes, these injuries occur even if an individual does not actually hit the floor. Simply slipping and having your body lock up in preparation for a fall can be enough to put strain on your neck.

Improper Posture

Poor posture is a problem that affects most of us to some degree. Even if your work does not involve lifting or other physical tasks, consistently standing or sitting with poor posture can put significant pressure on your neck. However, tasks like lifting boxes or otherwise exerting yourself can hasten injuries caused by bad posture.

Limiting Neck Injuries at Work

Employers and employees can do a lot to minimize workplace neck injuries and decrease workers’ compensation expenses. Some injuries can be eliminated through the use of ergonomic equipment, including computer mice, keyboards, and desk chairs.

Others are prevented through proper training and observation. Poor lifting form is extremely common in many workplaces, but many companies don’t have the resources to retrain employees or do periodic checks on employees’ lifting practices. Doing so can limit injuries and make the workplace safer.

If you do suffer a neck injury at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Reporting your injury promptly can help get the treatment and compensation you need, so don’t put off your claim. If you’re having a hard time reporting your injury or getting your claim approved, turn to a workers’ compensation attorney for more personalized assistance.

Choose Thiry & Caddell for Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have been hurt at work and you’re not sure what your next step is, we can help you with your workers’ compensation claim. To get started and learn more about your options, call Thiry & Caddell at 251-351-3371 or contact our team online to schedule a consultation.

Can I File a Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claim at the Same Time?

When you are injured at work, there is a lot to process. You’re likely wondering how you’ll pay your bills, how long you will be away from work, and how to get the medical treatment you need. Since workers’ compensation doesn’t pay the full amount of your missed wages, lots of workplace accident victims want to know if they can file a personal injury claim to make up the difference.

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury and you’re not sure what to do next, we can help. Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-351-3371 to schedule a consultation.

The Answer is Usually No

Unfortunately, in most circumstances you cannot file a personal injury claim at the same time as a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, you generally can’t file a personal injury claim at all for a workplace accident. This is due to the nature of workers’ compensation.

The workers’ compensation program was developed as a way to help employees get the compensation they deserve after an injury while still protecting employers from personal injury claims. This is particularly important for small businesses, for whom a personal injury claim could mean bankruptcy.

As part of the workers’ compensation system, workers injured at work because of an employer’s or coworker’s error cannot file a personal injury claim against them. This is true even if you can prove that your employer or coworker obviously caused your injuries. When this occurs, the only compensation you can receive is through the workers’ comp system.

Sometimes, Personal Injury Claims Are an Option

There are some circumstances in which you may be able to file a personal injury claim. In these situations, you’ll likely still start by filing a workers’ compensation claim. This program pays out more quickly and does not require proof of negligence, so it can help injured employees stay afloat while they pursue a personal injury claim.

Generally, a personal injury claim is available to an injured employee when they have a valid third-party claim. This means a claim involving someone who is not employed by their employer.

One common situation involves employees who drive between work sites throughout the day. If they are hit by a negligent driver while driving between locations, this is a work-related injury, but it also allows them to file a personal injury claim. The person at fault is not a coworker or employee, so the victim can file a claim against the other driver.

Another good example involves construction sites. While many of the workers on a construction site are employees of the same company, many companies fill in the gaps with subcontractors. Subcontractors are not employed by the injured worker’s company, so they can be held liable with a personal injury claim.

This may also be a viable option if an employee is injured by a customer or client. For example, consider a retail worker dealing with a belligerent customer. The customer gets angry and throws an item at the worker, hitting them in the head and causing an injury. The employee may have a valid claim against the customer.

When this type of situation occurs, the employee is often at risk of losing their job by filing a claim against the customer. This is why it is important to speak to an attorney.

When You Receive Funds from Workers’ Comp and a Personal Injury Claim

Note that you cannot be paid for the same expenses twice. That is to say, if workers’ compensation pays for your medical bills and then your personal injury claim also gives you money for your medical bills, you don’t get to keep the extra. Instead, workers’ compensation will typically be reimbursed for what they’ve paid you. Once their reimbursement is removed and your attorney’s fees are paid, you receive the remainder of your settlement.

Turn to Thiry & Caddell Today for the Help You Deserve

Have you been hurt at work? We understand the challenges you are facing, and we are here to help. Learn more about your legal options now by contacting Thiry & Caddell online or calling us at 251-351-3371. We look forward to setting up a consultation and helping you plan your next steps.

Who is Responsible for an Employee Injury at a Company Retreat?

Company retreats are often the highlight of the year. Employees work hard all year long to crush goals and accomplish as much as possible, and their retreat is the reward they get. But between the meetings and the happy hours, accidents sometimes happen. When they do, who is liable for the employee’s injuries?

If you’ve been hurt at work or a work event, it’s important to learn more about your rights and figure out your next step with an attorney. Thiry & Caddell can help. Schedule a meeting now by calling us at 251-351-3371.

Mandatory and Voluntary Events

Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to whether or not employers are responsible for injuries that occur at a company retreat. Because of this, each case has to be handled on an individual basis. There are a number of factors to look at, one of which is whether the retreat was mandatory or voluntary.

If a retreat is mandatory, it is likely that the employee’s injuries would be covered by workers’ compensation. Mandatory events are considered part of an employee’s work tasks, and any subsequent injuries would be considered on-the-job injuries.

If a retreat is voluntary, it may or may not be covered by workers’ compensation. If the employee spent time on work tasks during the retreat, they could still receive workers’ compensation. If the repeat was entirely for leisure, it is less likely that the workplace will have any liability.

Additional Coverage for the Event

This question might be avoided completely if there is extra liability insurance for the event. Some retreat centers require hosts to purchase additional liability insurance to cover injuries and other expenses. In this situation, the injured employee would likely be able to seek compensation from that fund.

Specific Company Policies and Waivers

A lot depends on the policies and procedures of the specific company. Some companies foresee these issues and address them ahead of time by making attendees sign liability waivers. Some have policies that explicitly state that retreat injuries are or are not the responsibility of the company. Small companies that have not run into these issues before are less likely to have detailed policies for these situations.

The Extent of the Employer’s Involvement

A big factor in this question is how much the employer was involved in the planning and running of the event. This relates to the funding, location, and organization of the event. As a general rule, the more involved an employer is, the more likely it is that any injured employees will be covered under workers’ compensation.

When you look into the details of the event, who funded it? If the company paid for it, they do have an obligation to employees to keep them safe. That may include limiting alcohol consumption, choosing safe activities, or investing in extra liability insurance. If the retreat is not paid for by the company itself, they may have less liability.

The location of the event is another important factor. If a retreat is held onsite, the employer is very likely to have some liability in any injuries that occur. Offsite events are less risky for employers, as the facility hosting the event has an obligation to provide a safe environment and keep attendees safe.

Finally, who organized the event? If your company’s party planning committee went all in on this event and are responsible for every part of it, that could be bad news for the company if someone gets injured. If the company was largely hands-off during the planning of the event and activities were left up to individual attendees, attendees could be responsible for their own injuries.

Although there are no clear-cut rules regarding work retreat injuries, you can use these guidelines to figure out if you do or do not have a case for workers’ compensation. If you are still unsure about your rights and options, set aside some time to talk to our team.

Get Help with Your Workplace Injury from Thiry & Caddell

If you’ve been hurt at work or while attending a company event, you may be entitled to compensation. Get more information by scheduling a meeting with our team. Give us a call at 251-351-3371 or contact us online to get started.