Common Types of Workplace Injuries
Tens of thousands of workers get hurt on the job in some fashion in Illinois each year and make a claim for workers compensation. Many workplace injuries that give rise to workers compensation claims are serious and result in at least temporary disability for the worker. Workplace injuries can take a number of forms, and serious injuries can mean that a worker experiences lasting pain and damage.
When a person is injured on the job, payment for medical care, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation may be available through the workers compensation system. An experienced Chicago workers compensation lawyer can help compile the documents and evidence you’ll need to support your claim, negotiate a settlement with your employer, or represent you through the claims process with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission if your claim is disputed.
Head injuries can result in permanent brain damage that affects your ability to think, move, or function, or disfiguring scars that are painful both physically and emotionally.
Common types of head injuries resulting from workplace accidents may include:
- Concussion — This is a type of brain injury that usually results from a blow to the head. Effects are usually temporary, but reinjuring your head while you’re still healing can increase your chances of lasting damage.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries — This term includes a broad category of head injuries that result in injury to the brain. Injuries can be minor or severe. Serious traumatic brain injuries may require lengthy recovery times and significant time spent in therapy. In some cases, brain damage may never heal and functions such as attention, memory, coordination, balance, or the senses may be permanently impaired.
- Skull and Facial Fractures — When bones in the skull or face are broken, you’re likely to experience painful swelling and bruising, and possible brain damage depending upon the nature of the fracture. You may need surgery to repair the fracture.
- Facial Lacerations — Facial lacerations can be very painful and result in scars that require plastic surgery to correct.
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries can be painful and often require you to have surgery to fix the problem. Even with surgery, you may experience long-lasting pain, numbness, or partial loss of some functions. Common neck and back injuries seen in workers comp claims include:
- Herniated Discs — When your back is injured, the discs that separate and cushion the vertebrae in your spine may leak fluid. This is a painful condition sometimes also called a bulging disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc. A herniated disc often requires surgery.
- Broken Vertebrae — Broken vertebrae can cause pain or damage to your spinal cord that may cause permanent problems.
- Spinal Cord Injuries — When your spinal cord is damaged, you may experience loss of sensation, partial or total paralysis, loss of control over bladder and bowel functions, loss of sexual functions, pain, spasms, or difficulty breathing.
- Whiplash — Whiplash happens when you experience some kind of impact, such as a car crash, that causes your head to snap back and forth and your neck to extend unnaturally. Whiplash can lead to neck pain, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, or fatigue.
Bone injuries are usually very painful and debilitating. They require long periods of time to heal, and may involve surgery such as to insert a rod or pin into a broken bone to hold it in place while it heals. Bone injuries usually fall into a couple of categories:
- Broken Bones — Bones can break in any number of ways, from small cracks known as hairline fractures to the multiple snaps of a compound fracture. Broken bones can be extremely painful and may need surgery. Broken bones also may prevent you from working and performing normal household tasks while you heal.
- Dislocated Bones and Joints — When you suffer a dislocated bone or joint, such as a shoulder or kneecap, because of an accident, the pain can be tremendous. A dislocation involves the bone actually popping out of the socket that holds it in place. With a dislocated shoulder that involves the upper arm bone popping out of the shoulder socket. A medical provider can put the bone back in place, but it can take a few weeks to regain function, and the joint is likely to be unstable in the future, meaning you may be prone to dislocating it again.
Amputated or Crushed Limbs
When employees work with dangerous or heavy machinery, such as punch presses, accidents can result in the loss of or serious damage to arms, legs, fingers, toes, hands, or feet. Losing a part of your body is traumatic, painful, and disfiguring. When a limb or extremity is amputated or crushed in a workplace accident, you’ll likely be at least partially disabled by the loss, and may be unable to work or confined to light duty.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can be deceptive. They may not be immediately apparent when you have an accident, but instead you may start to feel pain and other symptoms days later. Soft tissue injuries may not be externally visible, and they don’t show up on x-rays, but for you the pain and is all too real. Soft tissue injuries generally involve the stretching or tearing of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Sprains and strains may heal on their own, but can cause you to experience a lot of pain and swelling, and if you don’t get medical attention, they may not heal correctly and you could experience lingering problems.
Burns can result from fires, explosions, or chemical spills in work environments. Burns can be painful and leave disfiguring scars that require skin grafts. When burns penetrate into muscle and bone, they can be fatal.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Some kinds of repeated movements can lead to injury or damage of nerves, tendons, muscles, and other tissues. Examples of common types of repetitive stress injuries include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, or trigger finger. Serious cases may require surgery or result in permanent disability that prevents you from doing your job.