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Most Common Workers’ Comp Injuries

What are the most common workers’ compensation injuries? Over the last decade in Washington state, roughly 115,000 workers were injured on the job each year. While the majority of workers’ compensation injuries are physical in nature, many other types of injuries occur, from repetitive stress injuries and construction site accidents to occupational disease, hearing loss, and depression. If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important to know your options and your rights. The following are examples of specific workplace injuries that are often covered by L&I — workers’ compensation.

Physical Injuries

Accounting for about half of all accepted L&I claims, the most common workplace injuries in Washington are physical injuries, such as the following:

  • Hand, wrist, and finger
  • Back, neck, shoulder, and spine
  • Leg, knee, ankle, foot, and toe
  • Facial injuries and lacerations
  • Multiple injuries to multiple parts of the body

Jobs involving physical labor and repetitive motion increase the risk of back, neck, shoulder, hip, and knee injuries. The impact of repetitive twisting, turning, lifting, and other apparently harmless motions can accumulate over time and lead to serious damage. Isolated accidents can also disable a worker who is otherwise in perfect physical condition, forcing them to alter physical activities as a result.

shoulder joint x-ray image on digital tablet with doctor team medical diagnose injuries of tendons and bones

Spine, Back, Neck, or Shoulder Injuries

If you experience a serious spine, neck, shoulder, or back injury on the job, your first step is to immediately seek medical attention — including a full written diagnosis. Often, medical facilities do not want to order an MRI, CT Scan, X-ray, or myelogram, but these diagnostic tests and their results are the foundation of any injury claim. If you cannot get diagnosed, call an attorney for options on medical providers who will be willing to see you and diagnose your injury. This information is critical if you also have a third-party claim for negligence against an individual or entity other than your employer.

Hip and Knee Injuries

Hip and knee injuries, especially ones that require surgery or reconstruction, can occur from blunt trauma, repetitive stress, or simple aging. Acts such as lifting, crawling on an already injured knee, slipping and falling, or maneuvering in tight spaces or on ladders can result in injury. Workers may have claims against others, in addition to an employer, if a third-party is involved.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive stress or strain injuries involve conditions that arise from placing excessive stress on a joint by performing the same or similar actions again and again. The most frequent repetitive stress injuries are tendinitis and bursitis. Stress to a joint pulls on surrounding tissues, including tendons, muscles, and bursae. Without time to recover, the affected area swells and becomes painful.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is compression of the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel and is most commonly associated with long spells of typing on a keyboard. Primary symptoms of CTS include sporadic numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial side of the ring finger. Long-standing CTS can result in serious and permanent nerve damage, with workers eventually experiencing constant numbness, atrophy, and weakness of muscles in the hand.

Construction Site Accidents

Construction jobs rank among the most dangerous work in the U.S. thousands of Washington workers are killed or seriously injured each year. Frequent injuries include:

  • Scaffolding accidents
  • Falls
  • Crane accidents
  • Accidents involving compressed gases or chemicals
  • Defective machinery or equipment
  • Explosions
  • Welding and cutting accidents

Construction Site Third-Party Claims

Workers may be eligible to bring a third-party claim for additional compensation and benefits when someone other than the employer contributes to a construction site injury, or if an accident takes place off-site. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, there is practically no limit to the amount of awards in third-party liability claims. This means an injured worker may receive further medical benefits, time-loss compensation, and additional damages for personal pain and suffering.

Mental Health Claims

Work-related injuries are traumatic and can affect more than just your physical health. While outward physical symptoms can be the easiest to recognize, anxiety and depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other mental illness can also develop when an injury or illness causes prolonged pain, prevents someone from carrying on their work, or alters the nature of their family and social life or personal activities. While mental conditions cannot be diagnosed with a stethoscope or x-ray, it is important to identify and treat these conditions so that a patient’s mental and emotional state do not impair a their ability to return to work, or even their daily life. We take mental health as seriously as any other physical injury and will fight to ensure that you get the full treatment you need from your L&I claim.

Occupational Illness

An occupational illness is defined as a chronic condition or illness that occurred as a result of an injured worker’s job, career, or work-related functions or activities. The following are some commonly recognized occupational diseases:

  • Asthma
  • Byssinosis (from exposure to asbestos)
  • Coal miner’s pneumoconiosis (black lung)
  • Eczema
  • Urticaria
  • Skin cancer
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lead poisoning
  • Cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), or other diseases related to exposure to benzene, mold, silica, carbon monoxide, lead paint, chemicals & carcinogens

The illness may have resulted from an initial or prolonged exposure, but the worker must first prove that they came in contact with a substance that caused the illness on the job. If you feel like you developed an occupational disease as a result of workplace exposure to a harmful substance or repetitive stress, call the legal team at Emery | Reddy, PLLC to see how they can help you identify and pursue an occupational illness L&I claim.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can negatively affect many facets of your life. Not only can it may make you less productive at work, and it can also  detrimentally affect your personal life. If your hearing has been damaged as a result of your work, you may have a valid Labor and Industries claim.

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you should take immediate steps to protect your hearing by using earplugs or a headset, making an appointment with an audiologist, ENT, or both, and calling us to discuss a potential claim:

  • Muffled sounds or distorted ranges
  • Difficulty (or complete loss of) hearing high-pitched sounds
  • Ringing, roaring, or rushing sounds in one or both ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty understanding others
  • Having to regularly ask others to repeat themselves

How Do I Know If I Have a Strong L&I Claim?

If you have an L&I claim and wonder if you should hire a Labor and Industries attorney, ask yourself the following questions:

If any of the above apply to you, we may be able to help you with your claim.

Navigating a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult and very time-consuming, especially when you’re ill or injured. You want to focus on healing and make sure your bills are paid, but if you don’t file things properly or on time, your health, home, and job could be in jeopardy. Many individuals miss out on much-needed L&I benefits because they don’t understand what to do or how to get the most compensation for their injuries. If you are experiencing any challenges in your case, a Labor and Industries attorney can assist you. By contacting Emery | Reddy as soon as possible after you’ve been injured, we can help you avoid the common pitfalls of filing and navigating an L&I claim. Our Seattle L&I Attorneys are here for you every step of the way.

Emery | Reddy Can Help You with Your L&I Claim

Emery | Reddy is the only law firm in Washington state that is equipped to provide comprehensive representation on your case from every angle. Our Seattle L&I Attorneys thoroughly assess every case to determine if our clients have additional claims, and at times this can extend far beyond the underlying workers’ compensation claim.

If you have been injured in the workplace, call Emery | Reddy for a Free Case Review with an experienced Intake Specialist to learn more about how our team may be able help you today.

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Meet the Team

The L&I Attorneys at Emery | Reddy, PLLC are passionate about helping workers with L&I claims and Employment Law issues. We Help Workers®. It’s our motto and what drives us every day.

We know how L&I and big companies think, and we understand the tactics they use. Our Labor and Industries Attorneys use that knowledge coupled with over two decades of experience to help our clients get access to the L&I benefits to which they are legally entitled and hold employers accountable when they break the law.

If you’re struggling with an L&I claim, injury, or legal issue at work, call us for a Free Case Review with an experienced Intake Specialist to learn more about how Emery | Reddy may be able to help you today.

“Very friendly interview and intake process. I was informed thoroughly about the processes in obtaining a lawyer and was given ample time to make a decision on representation. I’m thankful for everyone’s help and looking forward to working with this Firm on my worker’s compensation claim.”

— Darren A.

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