Why You Should Always Report a Workplace Injury

Joe is a construction worker and part of a Unionized team in New York City. Recently, whilst working a normal day on a construction site, Joe tripped on some debris that was left out and he fell. He hit the floor hard and although he did not appear to have visible signs of injury; his shoulder, neck and legs ached as a direct result of the fall. Joe thought he felt fine enough to return to work, so he did.

Joe really loved his job, his duties and the people he worked with so he did not want to report anything. He was also worried about what his boss might say. He chose not to visit any doctors because at the time the pain seemed minor and he did not want to take off of work. Joe continued to go to work with minor pain intermittently.

Extensive evidence from academic studies, media reports and worker testimony shows that work-related injuries and illnesses in the United States are grossly underreported. Up to 69 percent of injuries and illnesses never make it into the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. If these estimates are accurate, the nation’s workers may be suffering three times as many injuries and illnesses as official reports indicate.

With the information available, according to The National Safety Council there were 4.4 million medically consulted injuries on job sites in 2015 alone. 320,000 or 7.2% of those injuries happened to people in the construction industry. The average cost per medically consulted injury is estimated to be ~$31,000.

Some time passed since Joe’s fall. Since the incident was not reported; the hazardous conditions were never fixed. Joe believed that he or another coworker could get injured again by a similar fall. Joe’s employer had little incentive to fix the hazardous debris and other dangerous work conditions. Since nobody had reported getting hurt they had no reason to fix any problems. The current level of dangerous conditions had become acceptable and routine at the worksite. Joe thought about going to his manager to talk about his injuries and concerns about working conditions, but he realized he would lack credibility after waiting for so long to report it. Joe decided to hold his tongue and continued working with dull pains in his body…

Until one day when Joe woke up and was unable to move around normally. He felt an intense pain all over his body. He took some pain medication, but even then he was still experiencing a reduction in mobility, was unable to lift heavy objects, nor was he able to stand for long periods of time. Because of his symptoms he became unable to return to work. He hoped that the pain would pass, but it could be stuck with him for the rest of his life. He now lost his ability to work at his job he enjoyed. Joe was also unable to enjoy hiking and biking in central park as he had in the past.

Joe thought back to two years ago when he fell at work. He realized the pain he suffered was likely related to his fall incident at the construction site. He wondered if he could contact a lawyer to take his case. Upon contacting a lawyer he learned that the statute of limitations was only 2 years and also that it had passed. This meant that he would not be able to pursue a claim through insurance for lost wages, medical expenses, or loss of life’s pleasures. He saw now much later that he should have reported the incident immediately and went to a doctor for a medical evaluation. Sadly, cases like Joe’s occur more frequently than we wished. Many workers are left jobless, without pay and without recourse after sustaining an injury on the job that they chose not to report.

If you or a family member has been injured on a construction site you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve from the lawyers of Kalra Law Firm. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting victims the compensation they deserve through thorough investigations of all forms of evidence. Call our trusted New York City and Queens construction accident lawyers at Kalra Law Firm for a free initial consultation at (718) 897-2211. www.unionlawyer.com.

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© 2017 by Michael Chuda