What Medical Expenses Will Workers Compensation Pay In New York?

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Injured on the Job?

The last thing any employee wants to do is obtain a work-related injury while on the job. Along with pain, they experience the stress of medical bills. This can involve medical visits to several doctors, and in certain cases have surgeries attached to them. Gaining knowledge of which medical expenses Workers Compensation will pay will help with some of these stressors involved after a workplace injury.

What is Covered?

The medical expenses that Workers Compensation will cover are ambulance rides to any E.R., emergency room visits, surgeries, rehab, visits to specialists, attorney fees, court costs (in the event of a lawsuit), and in the worst-case scenario funeral costs for deaths that occur at work. It is in the employers’ best interest to provide their employees with proper safety practices, ample breaks to allow them to step away from their computers, encourage exercise before or after work, and insist each employee keeps their work area clear of exposed objects (i.e. leaving cabinets opened) clear of the path others walk through. Make sure spills in the breakroom are cleaned to avoid anyone falling. Each employee doing their part will decrease worksite injuries.

Common Workplace Accidents

Some of the most common workplace accidents are first and foremost- slips, trips, and falls. In order to prevent these accidents from happening, make sure to clean up any items that spill, objects are off the floor to prevent trips and falls, and the like. Muscle strains often are strains in the back or neck area. These can be prevented by avoiding lifting objects that are too heavy. To prevent any employees from being hit by a fallen object, keep everything in safe and secure proximity of each employee. Crashes and collisions can be avoided by practicing defensive driving tactics and avoiding driving while distracted. If an employer provides a vehicle to their employees, make sure the vehicle is in excellent condition inside and out. Encourage routine tune-ups, tire rotations and oil changes in order to increase protection.

Physical fights can be avoided by effective communication, anger management and getting HR involved. HR along with the insurance company will want to have feedback from anyone who witnessed the office fight. Increasing office morale can help to decrease the chances of office fighting. Hosting monthly employee outings is one way to allow all the employees to get to know one another outside of the office. With both introverts and extroverts working at the office, these opportunities can allow introverts to feel more comfortable opening to communication and participation during the outing. Numerous studies have concluded that doing so will increase overall office morale, which helps with employee happiness and their health.

Workplace Injuries

The injuries that can result from these accidents can range from broken bones, concussions, lacerations, bruising, muscle tears, and more. Depending on the type of injury an employee sustains will determine which medical professional they will need to go see. Specialists such as Physical Therapists and Chiropractors are often utilized after a work-related injury. These professions offer more opportunity to sustain workplace injuries. Construction tools and materials can each lend to obtaining minor to severe injuries. Certain injuries can be remedied using medications and others can work themselves out by easier methods such as exercises, stress management, and massage therapy.

Injuries sustained over a period are called repetitive stress injuries. An example of this is carpal tunnel injuries, which are most often seen in employees who sit in front of a computer for long periods of time. To decrease the chance of dealing with carpal tunnel, it’s important for every employee to step away from their computer throughout the day. Overuse of a computer keyboard and mouse offers repetitive motions that can soon lead to severe pain. Incorporating stretches each hour will also be helpful to avoid injury. Investing in desk chairs for your employees that offer more support for their posture and muscles will also help the problem.

Reaction Injuries

Reaction injuries are caused by slipping/tripping without falling. These injuries can include neck strains, back strains or other body trauma. In office buildings, these can occur in break rooms. If there is a spill on the floor that is left unattended, this can result in a near fall. Sometimes reaction injuries can’t be felt until a day or two after.

Falling from Heights

Employees that use ladders with their work is an example of when this injury would occur. This can happen in labor type of work – construction, painters, roofers, etc. Make sure all work ladders are in solid, working order, make sure each employee knows how to use the ladders properly as well. Falling from heights can cause broken limbs, strains, sprains, and in the worst-case scenario, death. Broken limbs can require surgeries that keep the broken bone in place using pins, bolts or screws. Pain medication, physical therapy and rest can help the employee heal faster. And just as any other injury, other methods such as heat therapy, massage therapy can all help as well.

Overextension Injuries

These injuries are typically obtained by lifting, pulling, carrying, holding or pushing. Some of the jobs this can be seen is stocking stores, construction work, and moving companies just to name a few. Causes can include, improper lifting – if you bend at the waist as opposed to the knees can cause improper lifting. Manually lifting heavy objects instead of using machinery that will assist you can cause overextension. Intensive keying can injure your tendons and muscles. Not taking work breaks throughout the day can cause overextension injuries and faster work conditions can cause more repetitive tasks.

Using incorrect posture can cultivate injuries in the back and neck. In order to keep the proper posture employees should sit with their back straight, sit all the way back in their chair, raise your monitor to face height, rest your forearms on the armrest to the chair, and invest in an ergonomic mouse, keyboard and chair. If you overextend your muscles this can lead to pulls and tears in the muscles. This can cause pain that requires physical therapy. Physical therapy includes incorporating various exercises – treadmill work, exercise bikes, free weights can be used to help rebuild muscle mass, increase flexibility, etc. Massage therapy can be used to increase blood flow and loosen tight muscle pains. Heat therapy can also help with muscle and joint pains. Electrical pulses to the affected areas (called a TENS unit) can help bring pain relief. Providing employees with discounts or even access to a nearby gym can help to reduce the chances of obtaining overextension injuries.

There are steps an injured employee needs to take after obtaining their injury. They first must provide evidence that the injury took place at work as opposed to somewhere else. For instance, if they hurt themselves using a piece of office equipment, they should point out which one and describe the time it took place, what they were doing at the time, etc. For a repetitive stress injury, usually, your employer will need to see a doctor diagnosis to indicate treatment is needed. The best way to avoid this from happening is to educate all your employees on all the office equipment that could cause harm.

Make sure everyone knows how to operate them properly to avoid any injury. Company HR departments are utilized after a work-related injury takes place. Any reports, doctor diagnosis notes, etc. are gathered and sent into the insurance company each company uses. Organization for work-related injuries is important; especially for ongoing injuries that require treatment over a longer period. Make sure to keep copies of records for yourself of all the medical expenses obtained. In some cases, employers and employees will disagree on which procedures, medications, etc. need to be covered. Should the situation be escalated into a lawsuit, it will be essential that the employees have their own evidence of bills obtained.

Lawsuits

Workplace injuries can bring lawsuits into the picture. The different types of claims that liability insurance covers are, third-party action lawsuits. These are lawsuits that are delivered to a third-party as opposed to directly to the employer. An example is if the employee uses a piece of machine and gets injured; they can then draw up a lawsuit to the manufacturer of the machine. Loss of consortium is filed by a spouse of an employee who was injured at the workplace. These lawsuits can occur when the injury results in a severe injury or even death. A dual-capacity suit is when an employee holds the employer liable as an employer and manufacturer. Consequential body injury suit is when a spouse of the injured employee suffers injuries that are caused by the employees’ initial injury. For instance, the stress from a workplace injury could cause the spouse severe stress and depression. This could cause their blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels, which can result in severe medical conditions including strokes.

Businesses should protect themselves by having Workers Compensation Insurance into place in the event these work-related injuries occur. Depending on the severity of the injury, the costs can stack up quickly. Workers compensation insurance is especially needed in areas such as construction work. The ease of sustaining an injury while performing heavy labor type of work increases greatly. Workers compensation protects each employer and covers each employee with covering most, if not all their medical costs. Practicing safe workplace precaution measures will help prevent workplace injuries. Safety seminars, open communication between employees and employers, safe, and clean workspaces will all help to keep employee’s health in-tact. If budget allows, provide employees with discounts to nearby gyms. This will allow them to lower blood pressure, work out muscles, tendons, and decrease overall stress.