While some jobs appear to be extremely hazardous and others appear to be pretty safe, workplace injuries happen all the time, regardless of how dangerous the work “appears” to be. Loggers and professional fishermen work in the most dangerous jobs, but farmers, delivery drivers, garbage collectors, and septic tank workers also hold jobs that rank in the top 20 most dangerous. While those jobs are ranked by frequency of fatalities – virtually all jobs hold the potential for workplace injuries. The vast majority of workplace injuries are not fatal, and while many arise from the inherently dangerous nature of the particular job, others are far more subtle but no less debilitating.
Common Work Injuries Might Not be What You Expect
Workplace injuries happen in many different ways. Some are sudden and violent, as you might expect. Others, though, are caused by factors you might not see coming. Among the leading causes of on-the-job injuries are:
- Acts of violence by co-workers, generally involving attacks by co-workers for whatever reason.
- Repetitive motion injuries are among the most common of on-the-job injuries, frequently occurring from meat-cutting, typing, computer use, or any other repetitive activity.
- Traffic accidents: When employees have to drive in performing their job, traffic accidents will occur.
- Falling objects are a common cause of injuries on construction sites, but such injuries can happen in any kind of workplace where objects can be dropped from above or fall from shelves.
- Machine entanglement: Most common around heavy machinery, this involves clothes, shoes, body parts, and hair getting caught in machines used on the job.
Other common workplace injuries include falls – particularly from heights on construction job sites – slips, and back injuries, which can occur due to a myriad of reasons, including such mundane causes as lifting boxes of copier paper.
Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Usually is the Sole Remedy for Workplace Injuries
Just as in pretty much every other state, workers’ compensation law in Georgia is intended to serve two purposes — to provide a way for injured employees to be compensated for their injuries, and to protect employers from lawsuits. Injured employees can receive medical care and income while they recuperate from their injuries as well as receive compensation for permanent injuries. The trade-off is they generally cannot sue their employer for injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation.
That doesn’t mean workers’ compensation bars an injured employee from pursuing other means of compensation, however. Yes, pretty much all injuries on the job are covered by workers’ compensation. The whole point of workers’ compensation plans is to provide guaranteed levels of compensation for injured employees without them having to hire an attorney to sue their employer for damages. Georgia workers’ compensation law does not allow employees injured at work to sue their employers for covered injuries. If coverage is denied, injured employees can sue to obtain coverage, but even for covered injuries, there are options available.
For instance, Georgia worker’s compensation law does not prohibit lawsuits against third parties who might bear some responsibility for a worker’s injuries. For example, liability could arise where the negligence of a third party caused the injury, even if that injury happened during that employee’s work-related duties for his or her employer. This could include such circumstances as a traffic accident while an employee is performing work functions where a third-party driver is at fault, or an injury related to equipment malfunction due to a manufacturing defect. In each case, and similar cases, the employee would still be eligible for workers’ compensation but would be able to sue the driver, manufacturer, or other third party whose negligence caused or contributed to the employee’s injuries.