No occupation or industry is completely risk-free. However, North Carolinians who work in certain environments have a higher risk of injury or occupational illness than others. For example, people who work in Charlotte’s healthcare industry are routinely exposed to contagious infections and diseases. That puts employees like doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and medical assistants at elevated risk for developing MRSA, hepatitis C, and other contagious illnesses. In addition to facing these industry-specific risks, healthcare workers can also be injured by slip and fall accidents, workplace violence, and other types of workplace accidents.
If you are an RN, LPN, dental assistant, or other healthcare worker who suffered an injury or illness at work, call the Ramsay Law Firm to discuss filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation, or “workers’ comp,” provides financial benefits for employees who were hurt while performing their job duties. Our Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers have extensive experience representing medical workers, and can facilitate the claims process by handling your paperwork and investigating claim denials or delays in benefits. To talk about your claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the Ramsay Law Firm at (877) 576-5500.
Healthcare Industry Injury and Illness Statistics
Any employee at any workplace can suffer a devastating illness or injury. However, because their jobs put them in close contact with pathogens like bacteria and viruses, healthcare workers have a greater likelihood of becoming sick or infected at work as compared to the general population.
Even employees who do not perform surgery or medical examinations, such as receptionists, janitors, and hospital cafeteria workers, can be exposed to harmful pathogens through skin-to-skin contact, airborne transmission, or by handling contaminated items such as linens, garments, bandages, utensils, napkins, or towels. No matter their job description, the risk of sickness or injury is high for every person who works at a:
- Blood Bank
- Dentist Office
- Dialysis Center
- Doctor Office
- Hospice Care Center
- Needle Exchange Program
- Plasma Donation Center
- STD Testing Center
- Urgent Care Center
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 74,000 North Carolinians in the private industry suffered non-fatal workplace injuries during 2015. North Carolina’s healthcare industry accounted for nearly 14,000 of those cases. In other words, healthcare workers accounted for about 19% of the non-fatal work-related injuries reported in North Carolina during 2015 – nearly one in five. These figures include:
- Nearly 5,000 hospital injuries.
- Over 4,000 injuries at nursing and residential care facilities.
- Over 3,000 injuries in ambulatory healthcare services (outpatient care settings).
Workers’ Compensation Options for Healthcare Workers in NC
Hospital workers are at high risk for a wide array of illnesses, infections, and injuries, any of which can be temporarily or permanently disabling, even with swift and skilled medical care. While the worker is disabled, he or she cannot earn income, but still needs to pay for expenses like rent or mortgage payments, groceries, utility bills, and other basic necessities of life.
This puts the worker into a difficult financial position, especially if he or she was previously providing support for a child, spouse, or elderly or disabled family member. However, workers’ compensation was designed for precisely this situation.
When a hospital worker is disabled by an infection, injury, or communicable disease that occurred in the workplace, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim to get financial benefits. The claim must be filed within 30 days of the injury.
The process starts when the worker notifies his or her employer of the injury or illness. The employer will require the worker to see a pre-selected doctor, who is likely to return a conservative diagnosis which does not accurately reflect the true severity of the injury or illness. The employee may request a different doctor, or get a second opinion.
However, even if the employee chooses to seek additional care, he or she should still seek legal representation. It is common for valid claims to be improperly denied at the initial stage, or for administrative errors to cause delays in benefits. You will need legal help to ensure that your rights are protected, because employers and insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They will seek ways to protect their bottom line, at your expense. A workers’ comp lawyer for hospital workers, like those of the Ramsay Law Firm, can step in to challenge any delays or denials that arise in your case.
Depending on the nature and severity of the disabling injury or illness, benefits may be paid for up to 500 weeks, which is equivalent to about 9.5 years. Disability payments are calculated based on the employee’s wages.
Our attorneys work toward the goal of getting you the most benefits possible, as soon as possible. We can assist with a wide variety of workers’ compensation claims in the Charlotte region, including but not limited to claims involving:
- Back Injuries
- Bone Fractures/Broken Bones
- Bulging and Herniated Discs
- Foot and Ankle Injuries
- Hand and Wrist Injuries
- Head and Brain Injuries
- Hepatitis C Exposure
- HIV Exposure
- Hospital Needle Stick Accidents
- Hospital Slip and Fall Accidents
- MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Staph Infections
- Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Industry
Depending on the circumstances, we may determine that it is appropriate for you to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, against a medical product manufacturer, or against other parties. While the law typically prevents workers from suing employers for injury in North Carolina, there are several exceptions that may be relevant to your case.
For example, you may have grounds for a work injury lawsuit if your employer intentionally injured you or intentionally allowed you to become injured, or if your injury was caused by egregious misconduct on the part of your employer. Additionally, you may be able to sue a medical manufacturer if your injury was caused by a defective product you used at work or while performing your job duties. Our personal injury lawyers can evaluate your workplace accident to identify an appropriate course of legal action.
Charlotte Healthcare Work Injury Lawyers for Healthcare and Hospital Workers
Every day, thousands of North Carolinians get up and go to work in an environment where their health and safety is at risk, all so they can save the lives of others. At the Ramsay Law Firm, we are proud to represent the men and women who jeopardize their health to care for those who need it most.
If you or one of your family members developed an infection, was exposed to a bloodborne infectious disease, or suffered an injury while working at a hospital, clinic, medical testing lab, or other healthcare setting, we urge you to contact our law offices for a free and confidential discussion about getting compensated for your injury-related expenses, including medical bills and lost income. For a free legal consultation about workers’ compensation for doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers in North Carolina, call the Ramsay Law Firm at (877) 576-5500 today. We handle cases throughout the Charlotte metropolitan area.