Understanding the impact of severe workplace injuries leading to surgery
These injuries not only bring physical pain and the daunting prospect of surgery but also the stress of lost wages and the uncertainty of your job, which can weigh heavily on your mind and heart.
If you find yourself in this challenging situation, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to navigate this difficult time.
Common workplace hazards can lead to serious injuries, requiring surgery and extensive recovery time
Every day in workplaces across Arizona, various common hazards pose significant risks of injury, some of which are severe enough to necessitate surgeries and extensive recovery time. Here are just a few examples:
- Slippery and wet floors in bars, restaurants, hotels and stores. Employees working in such environments are constantly at risk of slip-and-fall accidents. These incidents can result in severe injuries, such as broken bones or head trauma, often necessitating surgical intervention and a lengthy recovery period.
- Warehouse injuries from heavy machinery accidents. Operating or even just being around heavy machinery in warehouses can be extremely hazardous. Accidents involving forklifts, conveyor belts, or other machinery can lead to crush injuries, amputations or severe spinal damage, leading to surgeries, prolonged rehabilitation and potential lifelong disability.
- Car or highway construction accidents at work. Transportation or highway construction employees are susceptible to vehicle-related accidents. High-speed collisions can cause catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or spinal cord injuries, often requiring emergency surgeries and an uncertain path to recovery.
An injured worker recently came to us with multiple work-related back injuries. Bob Wisniewski helped get the claim accepted so the injured worker could receive benefits and medical care.
Equally important is understanding your rights and the resources available to you, including workers’ compensation and disability benefits, to navigate this difficult time.
Coping with the recovery process
Recovery from serious and catastrophic injuries is often a long and arduous process involving:
- Post-surgery rehabilitation. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are often necessary to regain mobility and function after surgeries resulting from workplace accidents.
- Financial support. Workers’ compensation benefits are crucial in this phase, providing financial support when regular income is disrupted due to the inability to work.
- Psychological support. The psychological impact of serious injuries and the subsequent life changes can be profound. Access to counseling or support groups can be an integral part of the recovery journey.
The immediate aftermath: surgery and recovery
The period following a workplace injury is critical, encompassing surgery, recovery and navigating the workers’ compensation process.
- Medical attention comes first. Your health is your top priority. Whether you’re dealing with a shoulder injury that limits mobility, tendonitis causing ongoing pain, or the cognitive effects of a traumatic brain injury, ensure you receive the necessary medical attention.
Also, be sure to follow through with the recommended treatment and surgery and ensure proper medical documentation, which is crucial for your workers’ compensation claim.
- Understanding your rights. Familiarize yourself with your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. You’re entitled to certain benefits, including medical expense coverage and compensation for lost wages, regardless of the type of work-related injury, illness or disease.
- Navigating the claims process. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complex, especially when dealing with injuries that have long-term effects, like traumatic brain injuries.
Consider consulting a specialized attorney to help you understand the intricacies of your claim and ensure you receive the full benefits you’re entitled to.
Coping with lost wages and work
In addition to workers’ compensation, it’s crucial for workers recovering from surgery to explore their other potential options for financial support during their recoveries, including short-term disability benefits, employer support and effective budgeting.
- Short-term disability benefits. Depending on your policy, you may be eligible for short-term disability benefits. These benefits can provide a percentage of your regular income while you cannot work, offering some relief during your recovery from surgeries or ongoing treatments.
- Employer support. Communicate openly with your employer about your situation. Some employers may offer additional support, like modified duties or flexible work arrangements, as you recover from your injuries.
- Budgeting and financial planning. The loss of regular income can be challenging, especially with the added medical expenses. Take time to review your finances, adjust your budget, and consider seeking advice from a financial advisor to manage your expenses during this period.
Arizona workers’ compensation coverage and eligibility
Understanding workers’ compensation coverage and eligibility in Arizona is key for employees recovering from major surgery after a work accident. Here’s what you need to know about your right to workers’ comp benefits:
- Mandatory insurance. In Arizona, most employers with even 1 employee are mandated to provide workers’ compensation insurance, offering a safety net for employees who suffer injuries on the job.
- Employee status. Whether you’re a full-time or part-time employee, you’re covered under workers’ compensation. However, it’s important to note that independent contractors may not fall under this protection.
- Aggravated pre-existing conditions. If your pre-existing injury worsens due to your job, workers’ compensation is designed to help you navigate this added challenge.
- No-fault benefits. Arizona operates under a no-fault system for workers’ compensation. This means you’re entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident, ensuring support and coverage during your recovery.
Comprehensive benefits for injured workers
Workers’ compensation in Arizona encompasses a range of benefits to support you through your recovery, including:
- Medical expenses. Coverage is not just limited to immediate treatment but extends to all necessary medical care, encompassing doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, medications and rehabilitation services.
- Compensation for lost wages. Injuries can often lead to missed work or reduced capacity to perform your job. Workers’ compensation provides financial benefits to offset lost wages, ensuring your financial stability as you recover.
- Death benefits. In the unfortunate event of a fatality due to a workplace injury, workers’ compensation extends benefits to dependents, covering funeral expenses and supporting lost income.
What is a temporary partial disability, and when do you qualify for Arizona TPD? Our workers’ comp attorneys explain what you need to know.
Preparing for your return to work
As you approach the end of your recovery, preparing for a return to work is crucial, involving rehabilitation, possible workplace accommodations, and attending to your mental and emotional well-being. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a successful transition back to work:
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy. Engage in rehabilitation and physical therapy as part of your recovery process, which is especially vital for injuries like shoulder injuries or tendonitis. These programs can help you regain strength and prepare you to return to work.
- Workplace accommodations. Discuss any necessary workplace accommodations with your employer. This might include ergonomic adjustments, modified work hours, or special equipment to help you transition back into your role smoothly.
- Mental and emotional well-being. Don’t underestimate the emotional toll of your injury. Consider speaking to a counselor or therapist to address any feelings of anxiety, depression or stress.
Problems getting compensated? Claims denied?
Workers’ comp benefits delayed? Talk to our attorney today.
Dealing with workers’ compensation claims can be daunting, especially when you’re focusing on your recovery. Contact us today if you need help with delayed benefits, denied claims, or issues with receiving the compensation you rightfully deserve.
We represent injured Arizona employees, and workers’ comp is all we do. It’s our single focus. Having our injury attorney represent you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim, ensuring that you receive the support and compensation you need to focus on your recovery.
We have two law offices in Arizona to accommodate you. If you’re in the Phoenix area, visit our Phoenix workers’ compensation office. For Yuma and surrounding communities, visit our Yuma law firm location.
If an in-office visit is a challenge, give us a call. We’ll work something out that’s best for you.