A workplace injury is any injury, illness, or accident that happens in the workplace or occurs related to an employee’s job duties. Many states specify that an injury from the workplace is one that “arises out of an incident in the course of employment.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 over 3 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses occurred in the workplace.
Types of workplace injuries
Occupational injuries often happen because of a fall, slip, repetitive motion, or motor vehicle accidents, or an unsafe environment that does not have proper occupational safety protocols in place.
- Chronic exposure occurs in a high-risk job that involves exposure to toxic substances without proper protective equipment provided by the employer, such as in mining asbestos without proper protective equipment like masks.
- Falls are a common injury that can result in spinal cord injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and sometimes death. Falls are a common physical injury that occur in construction, often due to unsafe conditions in the workplace, carelessness, and defective equipment.
- Motor vehicle accidents can cause sustained injuries, but are only covered if the employee got into the accident during work-related business. Commuting is typically not covered by worker’s comp insurance.
What to do if you have a work injury
If you have a work-related injury, it can be stressful enough to get treatment and lose work time, let alone deal with incoming medical bills. However, you do have legal options that can help.
All state businesses are required to offer workers’ compensation insurance – a government-mandated insurance program – which helps protect an ill or injured employee by covering their medical expenses and providing cash benefits.
Work-related injury care from your employer will help streamline the process of getting your worker’s compensation and ensure you get the appropriate care without delay.
- Repetitive motion injuries (also known as Repetitive Stress Injury or RSI) are the result of doing the same motion repetitively for a long time, such as typing without proper ergonomic protection. RSI can cause bursitis, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries are the most common workplace injuries.
- Slips are a very common workplace industry, but are only covered by the workers’ compensation system if they were caused by a hazardous working environment. Otherwise, a slip will be considered a personal injury claim. Slips can result in head injuries and broken bones.
Who is eligible for worker's comp, and who is not?
Differences by state
Depending on the state you work in, you may have to meet the following to get your worker’s compensation (WC) benefits:
- Your employer offers worker’s compensation insurance.
- You are a full or part-time employee, seasonal worker, or temporary employee.
- You had a on-the-job injury or illness, or an injury or illness that occurred out of the workplace but that was related to the job.
If you have been injured at work or have an occupational disease and have access to worker’s comp through your employer, you are entitled to file a claim for monetary damages.
Some workers are ineligible to file a claim
However, if the following criteria apply to you, you may not be eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim:
- You are an independent contractor, volunteer, domestic worker, farm laborer, or undocumented worker.
- You have a personal injury that did not happen in the workplace.
How will UCHealth help you with workplace injury care and workers' compensation?
UCHealth has multiple Level 2 certified workers’ compensation physicians within the Occupational Medicine program. We offer excellent care to make sure you recover quickly and get back to work in no time.
Our occupational injury approach
Occupational injury management at UCHealth focuses on:
- Consults and expertise on toxic exposures, epidemiology.
- Evaluation, treatment, and management of injuries (walk-in/urgent care).
- Health psychology services and pain management.
- Physical and occupational therapy.
- Treatment plans/case management.
For workers’ compensation, we also have dedicated occupational health team members as the first point of contact when you have had a workplace injury and need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Our providers will handle communication with your employer and insurance company.
Our staff will start by providing you with the initial workers’ compensation form with your appropriate case and medical number, and will enter your information into our billing system under workers’ comp to make sure you don’t get charged. Our staff can help answer any question you have pertaining to the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Virtual visits for workers’ comp
We are now offering Virtual Visits for worker’s comp follow-up and closing visits, unless the medical provider believes it is medically necessary for the patient to be seen in the clinic.
If you are injured from work, call your local UCHealth Occupational medicine clinic to be scheduled.
Virtual worker’s comp visits are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are great option for the following work-related injuries:
- Blood-borne pathogen exposure.
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
- Minor functional movement injuries.
- Rashes and burns.
- Repetitive use injuries.
- Sprains and strains.
Serious injuries or injuries that need hands-on care (like stitches) will still need to be seen in-person at a clinic. If the UCHealth provider thinks your injury requires an in-person visit you may be referred to a nearby UCHealth clinic.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Traumatic Occupational Injuries (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/default.html)
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Traumatic Occupational Injuries (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/fastfacts.html)
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): National Library of Medicine. Occupational Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Management Strategies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470372/)