Every worker is entitled to have a safe workplace. Although most employers make an effort to keep employees safe, this is not always the case.
Maryland workplaces, like those across the United States, have workplace hazards that put employees at risk of injury. These injuries can range from minor to life-altering. If you have been injured in the workplace, you could be entitled to recover a wide range of damages.
Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 today to speak with our Baltimore workplace injury attorneys and receive your free case assessment.
How Many Workplace Injuries Occur Every Year in Maryland?
Workplace hazards are surprisingly common. According to recent reports, there are approximately 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries each year. In order to decrease the number of workplace injuries that occur each year, employers and employees alike should be aware of common workplace injuries.
The Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries that Occur in Maryland
There are countless causes of workplace injuries in Maryland. The following are some examples of the most common workplace injuries that workers suffer in Maryland:
Vehicle Accident Injuries
Vehicle accidents are one the most common causes of workplace injuries in Maryland. Many Maryland employees have job duties that require operating a motor vehicle. Employees required to drive in order to carry out job duties are at risk of injury in the event of a car accident.
The most common vehicle accident injuries include back strains, neck strains, and lower back sprains. These injuries typically occur when a worker is hit by a moving car or truck while walking or standing outside of the vehicle.
Other common vehicle accident injuries include broken bones, cuts, and bruises. In many cases, these types of injuries do not require surgery or hospitalization, but other vehicle accident injuries could be life-altering. If you have been injured in an automobile accident on the job site, you should seek medical attention immediately so that your doctor can assess whether any further treatment is necessary before returning to work.
Walking Into Injuries
Sometimes, the least considered workplace hazards are the everyday objects found in our workspaces. Chairs, desks, and low-hanging ceilings present potential hazards that employees may run into, and employees may suffer minor to serious injuries as a result. Employers should focus on minimizing these potential hazards.
Falling Object Injuries
Some employees’ work environments may be naturally hazardous. Warehouse and construction workers often work in environments where they are at risk of falling objects. Being struck by one of these objects–especially when larger objects are involved–can result in injuries. the implementation of proper safety gear and safety procedures can help reduce these risks.
Falling objects can result in serious injuries in the workplace, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord damage. Even if the object does not fall from very high, it can still result in severe facial, dental, or eye injuries. Because falling objects are so common in many Maryland workplaces, employers should make sure all employees are familiar with their company’s fall protection policy and procedures. This will help prevent falls that cause serious injury or death.
Falling from Heights Injuries
Certain jobs require employees to climb ladders to heights in order to carry out basic job duties. Without proper precautions, an employee could fall and injure themselves. In Maryland, any fall from greater than 6 feet (1 meter) over a flat surface is considered a fall from a great height, even if no one was injured. Falls at work are often caused by unsafe working conditions, such as poor or missing handrails, faulty scaffolding, and defective ladders. Falling from a height can result in devasting injuries like spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and internal damage. In severe cases, victims could suffer partial or full paralysis in some or all of their bodies. Great falls can also easily cause death depending on how the victim lands during the fall.
Slipping and Tripping Injuries
Many workplace injuries are also caused by slipping and tripping. These injuries are typically caused by a slick surface, wet floor, poorly maintained walkways, or poor lighting in the area. While the victim is only falling from a standing height, their injuries could be significant. Many slip and trip injuries include stretched and torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which often require surgery to repair. Further, victims usually need to go through several months of physical therapy to heal fully from their injuries. Failure to display proper signage or to clean up potentially hazardous conditions in a timely manner places not only customers but employees at risk of injury.
Overexertion and Repetitive Motion Injuries
These injuries are often identified as the most common workplace injury. These injuries, which are very expensive, can occur whenever an employee is required to perform activities such as pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, or carrying. These types of injuries usually occur when an employee is required to perform repetitive motions for long periods of time without proper equipment or rest breaks. These injuries also typically require surgeries to repair and can result in permanent nerve damage. Because these types of injuries develop over a long period of time, you might not notice the injuries until a doctor has a chance to evaluate you. If you feel pain or discomfort while performing your typical job duties, you should get a medical exam to determine if overexertion or repetitive motion is the cause of your pain.
Damages You Could Recover for Workplace Injuries in Maryland
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers keep workplaces safe. This means that employers should take the appropriate precautions to minimize potential hazards, even in work environments that may be more dangerous. Employers do not always keep workplaces safe. Whenever an employee suffers an injury at work, they might be entitled to recover damages. The following are some of the damages to which an employee could be entitled to recover:
Compensation for your medical expenses covers any out-of-pocket expenses related to your medical treatment following the accident, including prescription medication and hospital bills. If you have suffered long-term injuries at work that require ongoing treatment or rehabilitation, these expenses will continue for an extended period of time and should be included in the compensation you receive.
You can recover lost earnings resulting from a temporary disability caused by the injury or permanent disability if the injury is serious enough to prevent you from returning to work after a reasonable period of time. The amount of your lost wages is determined by comparing what you would have earned if you had been able to work with what you actually earned as a result of your disability. You can also claim lost future earnings if your Maryland workplace injuries prevent you from engaging in the kind of work you could do prior to being injured.
Physical Pain and Suffering
You could also seek non-economic damages in addition to the financial losses mentioned above. These damages are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering,” which includes compensation for the lasting physical pain your injuries have caused. Many victims will have pain that causes suffering long after their injuries have healed. This can affect numerous aspects of a person’s life, potentially impacting their work and personal relationships.
You can also recover compensation for the emotional stress your injuries have caused. emotional distress can be shown in numerous ways. For instance, many victims suffer from depression and anxiety after suffering a workplace injury. Other victims might feel angry about their injuries, causing stress in all areas of their lives. Emotional stress can also manifest in physical ways like insomnia.
Loss of Enjoyment
If your injuries have caused you to miss out on doing the things you enjoyed doing prior to getting injured, you can recover damages for your loss of enjoyment in life. For instance, you might not be able to participate in sports anymore or spend the same amount of time playing with your children or grandchildren.
For workplace accidents caused by reckless or egregious conduct, you can pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded not to compensate a victim but to punish the wrongdoer. It is also meant as a deterrent for others to not cause similar acts in the future. However, punitive damages are rarely awarded, and it is up to the plaintiff to prove that they are justified in their case.
Our Maryland Workplace Injury Attorneys Can Help
For a free case evaluation with our Maryland workplace injury lawyers, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 today.