North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Points Out Leading Causes of Workplace Injury Costs

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Ben Cochran of Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law, says compensation may be available for those who suffer injuries such as those listed in the recent Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.

North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney, Raleigh workplace injury lawyer, job-related injuries, hurt on the job, disability benefits, workplace safety

North Carolina workers' compensation attorney Ben Cochran

Fortunately, our state’s workers’ compensation system provides a way for injured employees to cover their individuals costs, including funds that pay for medical bills and partially compensate for lost wages.

The new Workplace Safety Index by insurance company Liberty Mutual Group, Inc., shows the heavy financial burden that can result from workplace injuries, North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer Ben Cochran said today.

According to the Index, the most disabling, non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2009 accounted for a staggering $50.1 billion in direct workers’ compensation costs.

In fact, the top five injury causes – overexertion, fall on same level, fall to lower level, bodily reaction and struck by object – resulted in nearly $36 billion in costs, or 72 percent of the total cost burden, the Index showed.

“Fortunately, our state’s workers’ compensation system provides a way for injured employees to cover their individuals costs, including funds that pay for medical bills and partially compensate for lost wages,” said Cochran, a partner in the Raleigh accident and injury law firm of Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law, and a Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law.

“However, the rules and regulations governing workers’ compensation claims can be very complex,” said Cochran, whose firm assists injured and ill workers throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh and its surrounding areas.

“That’s why it’s important to work with an attorney who can help navigate your claim through the system and make sure you secure the benefits you need and deserve.”

Liberty Mutual bases its Workplace Safety Index on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Academy of Social Insurance and its own workers’ compensation claims on injuries causing at least six missed days of work.

The 2011 Index is based on labor statistics from 2009 – the most recent year for which data is available. The index ranks injuries by their direct costs.

According to the Index, the five causes of disabling injuries in 2009 were:

  •     Overexertion (injuries from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, throwing) -- $12.75 billion in direct costs, or 25.4 percent of the total 2009 cost burden
  •     Fall on same level (such as falling from a ladder) – $7.94 billion, 15.8 percent
  •     Fall to lower level (such as falling from a scaffold) -- $5.35 billion, 10.7 percent
  •     Bodily reaction (bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling) -- $5.28 billion, 10.5 percent
  •     Struck by object (such as a tool) -- $4.64 billion, 9.3 percent.

The remaining five injury causes in the top 10 each accounted for less than 5 percent of the total costs of disabling injuries: Highway incidents ($2.18 billion, 4.3 percent); caught in / compressed by ($2.04 billion, 4.1 percent); struck against object ($2.01 billion, 4.0 percent); repetitive motion ($1.97 billion, 3.9 percent); and assault / violent act ($0.59 billion, 1.2 percent).

According to Cochran, a worker who has suffered one of these injuries may be entitled to full compensation for medical expenses and partial compensation for lost weekly wages without having to show that the employer caused the injury.

“Instead, you merely have to show that you were injured while working,” Cochran said. “However, there are important forms that need to be completed, deadlines that must be met and records that are required to be included with any claim.

“When a person is trying to cope with an injury or illness, those matters can be difficult to handle, and disputes may arise with an employer’s insurance company,” Cochran said. “An attorney can take care of those issues, while you focus on your recovery.”

About Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law

Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law, is a highly respected North Carolina personal injury, workers’ compensation and Social Security disability law firm with offices in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Dunn, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, dog bites, dangerous drugs, defective medical devices, nursing home abuse and negligence and traffic violations. For more information, call the firm toll free at (800) 434-8399 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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