The severity of a workplace injury varies significantly, from mild sprains and bruises to paralysis and even death. In 2016, which is the most recent full-year data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,190 workplace fatalities in the US. That number continues an alarming increase in recent years, which we talked about previously.
With tragic school shootings fresh in everyone's memory, it jumps off the page to see the statistic that injuries caused by violence in the workplace increased by 23 percent in 2016. Many of the victims in school shootings are faculty and staff, people who were injured or killed while doing their job. Sadly, workplace violence happens everywhere: offices, retail stores, restaurants and outside on public streets or in the line of duty.
Not limited to physical conditions
Anybody injured on the job is entitled to workers' compensation to cover medical bills and help them recuperate. It is not specifically for physical injuries. It also helps people get back to work and adjust to any changes caused by their injury, including emotional adjustments. Treatment for post-traumatic stress, anxiety or other mental health concerns is often necessary before a victim can return to work.
Workers' compensation is a multi-faceted program because the range of injuries is so big. There may also be personal injury concerns or Social Security Disability claims to consider after a workplace incident occurs in addition to a workers' compensation claim.
The road to recovery
It is an employer's job to provide a safe environment for employees. When violence occurs, it's also the employer's job to help employees recover from the incident. While the law protects employee rights, it can be difficult to navigate the workers' compensation and other legal matters. An experienced attorney who understands the complexities of employment law can help a worker to get back on track while protecting his or her rights to recovery.