Catastrophic Injuries and worker’s Compensation
While most workplace injuries are minor, catastrophic injuries do happen on the job. They can result in lifelong disabilities that severely impact both how long a person lives and their quality of life. While we go about our work, this isn’t something we think about, but it’s always a possibility. You may think these types of injuries happen only in heavy manufacturing or construction; unfortunately, serious accidents could happen to just about anyone working for a living.
Indiana Occupational Diseases
Occupational diseases are covered by worker’s compensation. They are often caused by exposure to toxic substances at work, which can severely impact a person’s health and ability to work. Though onset of the disease may happen quickly, most of the time occupational diseases develop over years of working with one toxic substance or another. They can cause catastrophic injuries to the lungs, skin diseases and cancer. Those working in health care risk contracting diseases from patients, including hepatitis and HIV; they can also suffer from long-term disabilities due to the constant physical demands of the job.
Occupational diseases can be caused by certain types of dusts, fibers and chemicals. Those exposed to dusty conditions in mining, drilling, blasting rock or construction sites are especially in danger. Even small amounts of certain substances, such as silica, can cause debilitating lung disease. Chemicals can be taken into the body through breathing fumes or aerosols or can be absorbed through the skin.
The chances of getting such a disease vary, depending on a number of factors, including the use and effectiveness of protective equipment, the amount of dust or chemicals in the workplace and how sensitive the individual is to the substance.
These diseases may carry the same or similar symptoms as non-occupational diseases and can be mis-diagnosed, often leading to treatments that are ineffective or actually make the individual’s health worse. Chronic coughing, wheezing, sinus problems or asthma may be caused by working conditions.
Indiana Workplace Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries at work are often related to falls and vehicle accidents. Employees, especially older ones, who slip and fall onto a hard surface at a workplace and who land just the wrong way can suffer injuries to their spinal column and spinal cord, potentially causing paralysis. Falls from a height, including from ladders, lifts or scaffolding, can also result in lifelong, permanent disabilities.
Spinal cord injuries can also happen to anyone who drives a vehicle as part of their job. Whether it’s an accountant driving to meet with a client, a police officer going to the scene of a crime, a truck driver travelling across country or someone delivering pizza, if the person is driving as part of their job duties injuries caused by accidents can fall under worker’s compensation. If the accident is serious enough spinal cord injuries and paralysis can occur.
Indiana Workplace Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) also happen in workplace falls and vehicle accidents. A severe jolt to the head due to the force of the accident can cause brain cells to be be damaged or killed as they strike the inside of the skull. Damage can also be done if an object penetrates the skull and intrudes into the brain or if the force on the skull is strong enough to fracture it. A TBI can result in permanent brain damage, which can cause physical impairment, changes in personality and decreased intellectual abilities. A TBI can cause catastrophic, life-long harm to a victim.
Indiana Workplace Electrocution
Electrocution can happen to an employee who accidentally exposes himself to electricity (due to uninsulated wires or defective or damaged machinery). This can happen to a construction site worker, landscapers digging near buried power lines, utility workers or anyone working with machinery or equipment powered by electricity.
Electricity can cause severe burns, heart attacks and secondary injuries caused by falls, especially if the person is working on a ladder, lift or bucket truck.
Indiana Workplace Amputations
A worker can lose a limb, foot, fingers or hand, leaving him with a lifetime of physical challenges. Amputations can happen in an accident involving heavy equipment, a vehicle accident or severe electrocution. If you suffer a work-related amputation, you may be awarded benefits arising from that loss, in addition to the missed time at work.
No matter which side of a catastrophic workplace injury claim you are on, a worker’s compensation dispute might seem like an intimidating process — but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of a worker’s compensation attorney, you can be sure that your interests are being represented.
At Coriden & Coriden, LLC, our experience is an asset to our clients, and we can give you knowledgeable, skilled representation in all stages of a dispute. Call us at 812-375-9800 or 866-375-9800 or fill out our online contact form today to learn how we can assist you.
Attorney Terry Coriden
Terry Coriden practices workers’ compensation law as a Partner at Coriden & Coriden, LLC. His entire professional career as an attorney has been committed to workers’ compensation law and making a difference in his community. He is also highly experienced in mediation. Terry is a member and past president of the Bartholomew County Bar Association, a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, and a former board member of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum (ICLEF). [ Attorney Bio ]