Injuries Due to Falls
Over 260,000 American workers will experience a fall on the job that puts them out of work. Nearly one thousand workers die from fatal falls across the U.S. each year. In Maine, an average of 850 work related falls are reported to the Workers’ Compensation Board annually. Some of the most common falls include falling off ladders and off non-moving equipment or vehicles.
According to Maine’s Department of Labor, in 2006, a Maine truck driver sustained a serious head injury when he fell just four feet off a flatbed trailer that he was loading insulation material onto. This individual died several months later as a result of his head injury. In 2007, another Maine worker fell 20 feet off a ladder and died.Dangerous Occupations
Falls can happen in any workplace, but the employees in certain occupations are at a far greater risk of falls. The largest concentration of workplace falls are in the fields of:
- Fishing occupations
- Construction laborers
- Structural metal workers
- Construction supervisors
In fact, the construction industry accounts for as much as 50% of all fall related deaths and injuries. This is attributed to the fact that construction involves so many employees working at elevation, is fast moving, requires employees work in adverse conditions, and many firms are self-employed, often hiring seasonal workers. Agriculture/fishing/forestry and mining are second to the construction industry in fall-related injuries.Types of Work Related Falls
There are many different types of fall related injuries that can occur in the workplace. The more common injuries include:
- Falls from ladders
- Falls from one level to another, ie. from roof; down stairs or steps; building girders or structural steel; falls from trees
- Falls from scaffolding, staging
- Falls on the same level
- From nonmoving vehicles
Injuries caused by falling at work can vary from minor bruising and lacerations to traumatic brain injury and in some cases even death. The extent of the injury depends on the distance of the fall, the location of the landing, and the body parts impacted. Striking one’s head on the ground can cause a brain injury which can lead to cognitive impairment. Hitting the ground with force can damage the spine, break bones, and cause other debilitating injuries.Obtaining Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Employees with Fall Injuries
In the State of Maine, nearly all public and private employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exempt employers include those engaged in agriculture, with some restrictions, and employers of domestic servants in a private home.
Employees who fall on the job will be eligible for benefits so long as the fall injury arouse out of and in the course of their employment. All employees must notify their supervisor within 30 days of the injury, and the employee must either require medical attention or miss time from work to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Worker’s compensation benefits can include: payment of all medical bills, including prescriptions and mileage reimbursements; payment for vocational rehabilitation; weekly wage replacement; and more in the event of severe injury or death.
Obtaining the full benefits to which you are entitled is not always easy for Maine workers who have fallen on the job. An experienced Maine workers’ comp attorney can offer vital assistance throughout the process.Maine Employee Rights Group: Recovery for Victims of Workplace Falls
Maine Employee Rights Group is dedicated to assisting workers injured in falls on the job. Our dedicated legal team will guide you through the insurance maze and advocate for your best interests. Call us today at 1 207.874.0905 for a free consultation. We have offices in Portland and Bangor and will meet with you at your home if you are unable to come to us.