Incidence of Hospital Workplace Injuries
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hospitals are among the most hazardous workplaces. In 2019 alone, hospitals in the U.S. reported 5.5 work-related injuries for every 100 full-time workers, which amounted to 221,400 workplace injuries and illnesses that year. To put those figures into context, this is nearly double the rate of workplace-related injuries and illnesses in the private sector.
Healthcare workers in general, not just those nurses and other professionals who work in hospitals, are prone to injury and illness by the mere nature of their work. As OSHA points out, hospital workers are tasked with lifting, repositioning, and transferring patients, many of which suffer from limited mobility which makes it difficult for them to take much of the strain off of the medical professional assisting them. In addition, workers are exposed to other risks that are not faced in the general private sector, including needlesticks and patients who act violently. And because of the unique culture surrounding the medical profession and its motto of “do no harm,” many nurses, doctors, X-ray technicians, and other health care workers put themselves and their health and safety in jeopardy in order to assist a patient in need.
And because of the unique culture surrounding the medical profession and its motto of “do no harm,” many nurses, doctors, X-ray technicians, and other health care workers put themselves and their health and safety in jeopardy in order to assist a patient in need.
More than half of all injuries among hospital staff resulting from sprains and strains, with strains in particular accounting for the greatest number of workers’ compensation claims among workers in this sector. Musculoskeletal injuries due to interactions with patients are also common.
Unfortunately, not all medical professionals report their injuries to their supervisors or launch workers’ compensation claims. As OSHA notes, around 24 percent of nurses and nursing assistants with unreported injuries have taken sick leave from work to recover. And as many as 80 percent of nurses report working with musculoskeletal pain on a frequent basis, sometimes due to unreported injuries. Sometimes the medical worker doesn’t realize that these types of benefits are available to them. A compassionate and seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer can help injured health care workers determine if they qualify for benefits under the law. Some commonly reported injuries among health care workers include:
Some commonly reported injuries among health care workers include:
- Leg, foot, and back injuries from spending most of their time on their feet.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome results from fine motor work using needles or surgical tools or from repetitive motion.
- Burns due to exposure to radiation or biohazardous materials.
- Back injuries from heavy lifting.
What to Do After Being Injured in a Hospital or Similar Setting
There are certain steps health care workers and medical professionals can take in the immediate aftermath of sustaining workplace injuries that can significantly improve their chances of recovering the workers’ compensation benefits for which they may be eligible. First, as soon as you are injured at work unless you absolutely need to continue attending to a patient who is in immediate danger, report the incident to your supervisor. If you must continue performing your work after being injured, as soon as you do have the opportunity to do so, report the incident.
It’s also sometimes necessary to gather certain pieces of evidence related to the incident that caused you to be harmed. For example, you may need to take pictures of the scene and document any other factors that might have played a role in your accident. For example, perhaps your accident occurred because a piece of medical equipment you were operating was defective or otherwise posed a hazard. Take pictures and make note of any such factors. Additionally, if there are any witnesses to the incident, get their names and contact information.
Next, seek medical attention for yourself as soon as possible and explain that you were injured in a workplace accident, even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious enough to justify seeking medical care. First, as a medical professional, you likely already know that just because an injury doesn’t “seem” serious at first, that doesn’t mean it’s genuinely not. You need to ensure you don’t require immediate treatment.
Seeing a doctor right away will also help when you present your case for workers’ compensation benefits. Quite simply, an insurance company is a profit-driven business, and will often look for reasons to deny your claim if doing so is possible. If you don’t see a doctor right after being injured, when you seek compensation, an insurer could argue it’s possible you were injured in an accident that occurred after the incident, when you were not on the job, and therefore you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You must be able to show that based on the timeline, it’s clear that an on-the-job incident was the cause of your injuries.
Schedule a free consultation with a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney representing medical and health care professionals next. You shouldn’t wait too long to file a workers’ compensation claim, but you also shouldn’t immediately begin corresponding with the insurance company before you’ve had time to go over the details of your case with a lawyer. You need to avoid potentially making statements that could damage your case. A lawyer can help you in this capacity.
Prepare for your consultation by gathering any of the evidence you may have previously collected. You should also draft a narrative of the incident as you remember it. Bring this with you to the consultation. Having it on hand will prevent you from accidentally forgetting to share any important details when discussing your accident with an attorney.
Hospital Employees who are Injured at Work
For medical professionals such as nurses, their cases can be complicated by their status as union workers. If that is the situation you find yourself in, you can rest easy knowing that we have extensive experience representing union workers in Pennsylvania.
Jeffrey S. Gross is a certified Workers’ Compensation attorney* who has been protecting the rights of workers for more than two decades. Whether you are looking to establish Workers’ Compensation benefits or wish to settle an existing case, we will protect your interests at all stages of the process to make sure you have what you need.
At Gross & Kenny, LLP We Don’t Get Paid Unless You Do - All Calls Returned Within The Same Day
Your career as a medical professional is too important to you and too important to your family to take for granted. Can you afford a Philadelphia work injury lawyer? You can’t afford to have one. At Gross & Kenny, LLP, we handle these claims on a contingent fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you do. Call us today at 215-512-1500 or contact us online to discuss your claim.
*Jeffrey S. Gross is certified as a specialist in the practice of Workers’ Compensation Law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.