What Does OSHA Consider a Serious Injury?
Posted in Lawsuit on October 8, 2019
Accidents can happen at any time and in any place – including on the worksite. Workplace injuries can range from mild lacerations to severe, debilitating injuries that require months of rehabilitation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines these serious injuries differently from the more common, less severe ones. Employers must report these injuries to OSHA as soon as possible after they occur.
What Is a Serious Injury?
Workplace injuries can be very minor and only need immediate first aid to treat, but some may require significant treatment and hospitalization – and your employer must report an instance of serious injury to OSHA as soon as possible. OSHA defines a serious injury or illness as any injury or illness that you sustain while working or in connection to your employment that meets any of the following criteria.
- You had to stay in the hospital for over 24 hours for a reason other than medical observation.
- The medical staff at the hospital had to amputate a member of your body.
- You lost a body part to a reason other than amputation, such as the loss of an eye.
- You suffered significant, permanent, and serious disfigurement.
If your injury falls under one of these criteria, you have suffered a serious injury and your employer must report your accident to OSHA within 24 hours. If someone you loved died as a result of a workplace accident, your employer must report it to OSHA within 8 hours.
The only exception to reporting a serious injury to OSHA is if you suffered your injury during any of the following events.
- You were in a motor vehicle accident on a public highway or street, excluding construction sites.
- You suffered your injury while on a transportation system, such as the public bus or while on an airplane.
- The medical staff admitted you to the hospital, but only to observe your injuries or to place you under diagnostic testing.
Claiming Compensation After a Serious Injury
The aftermath of a serious injury can be very devastating. You may be in severe pain and adjusting to the loss of a body part or function. You may have to miss significant periods of work to recover, and you may not be able to return to work or perform the same job functions at all. In addition, the medical expenses for serious injuries can be quite high – and your insurance may not cover these costs.
Under Missouri state law, you have the right to receive benefits from workers’ compensation insurance after suffering an injury on the job. You can receive compensation whether you suffered a serious injury or a minor one, as long as the accident occurred either while you were working or in connection to your job.
You can claim the following benefits through Missouri workers’ compensation.
- Medical expenses associated with your injuries, such as medications, hospitalizations, and physical therapy
- Lost wages that you incur while you are waiting to return to work, in the amount of two-thirds of your average weekly wages at the time of your accident
- Permanent disability benefits after you reach maximum medical improvement, calculated based on the severity of your injuries
If you suffer a serious injury while working in Kansas City, you have the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. As soon as possible after the accident, report it to your employer and seek medical attention. Inform the medical staff that you suffered an injury on the job and save all documentation from your visit. After you seek treatment, you can file your report and wait for a decision from the insurance company.
Successfully filing a claim can be difficult in certain situations – the insurance company may deny your claim due to lack of evidence, improperly filed paperwork, or even disbelief that the injury occurred on the job. For assistance filing your claim or appealing a decision, contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.