Workers’ Compensation claims for Nurses, Paramedics, and Healthcare Workers
Work Injuries in the Healthcare Field Care Common
When we think of a “work injury” it’s easy to imagine yellow hard hats, construction sites and other hazardous work areas. However, many work related injuries happen in the exact place the rest of us go for treatment: the hospital. Nurses, paramedics, and other hospital employees are some of the most commonly injured employees because of the dangerous and strenuous nature of their work.
If you sustain an injury on the job, you are likely entitled to benefits, including medical, wage loss, return to work assistance, retraining, and permanent injury benefits.
Nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers are exposed to a wide variety of hazards in their workplace. Healthcare workers frequently sustain injuries from the physically demanding job duties they perform. In addition, nurses and paramedics may sustain mental injuries, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression from the traumatic, horrific or gruesome incidents they are exposed to as a part of their job.
Nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers are uniquely exposed to:
1) Injuries from assaults. Nurses and paramedics are frequently assaulted and physically injured by patients. Patients may be on drugs, suffering from mental illness or simply scared, which makes their actions erratic and difficult to predict. Nurses and paramedics may also sustain mental injuries from these assaults, which are compensable claims under Minnesota workers’ compensation law.
2) Injuries from blood-borne pathogens or chemical exposures. Nurses and paramedics are constantly exposed to blood-borne pathogens and other bloodily fluids. They also may be exposed to chemicals and other substances that are harmful to the body. Nurses and paramedics exposed to dangerous materials may develop occupational diseases, which is a compensable claim in Minnesota workers’ compensation.
3) Gillette injuries to the back, neck or shoulders. Nurses and paramedics have very physically strenuous job duties. They are required to push, pull, lift and carry heavy patients, gurneys and supplies, often from awkward or less-than-ideal body positions. When a nurse or paramedic does this heavy labor, over the course of time, their backs, necks, and shoulders start to wear. This type of injury is called a Gillette injury and is a compensable claim under Minnesota workers’ compensation law.
4) Lifting injuries. The most common injury that we see with our nurse, paramedic and healthcare worker clients are lifting injuries. These injuries may come on all at once when you are helping a particular patient out of bed, or it may come on overtime as a result of lifting patients every day for multiple years. Regardless of how the injury occurred and how common they are, these types of claims are compensable under Minnesota workers’ compensation.
5) Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental injuries. As of October 1, 2013, PTSD became a stand-alone workers’ compensation claim, which means that is treated no differently than a physical injury claim. The exact same benefits are offered to these injured employees. Nurses and paramedics who are exposed to emergency medical situations and other associated trauma everyday may develop anxiety, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, panic attacks, etc. over the course of time from their exposure to these traumatic events. It is important the those suffering from the mental effects of this difficult career path get the help and benefits they deserve under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act.
6) Slip & fall injuries. Nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers are frequently injured by slipping and falling during the course of their work. This is particularly true with in-home care nurses and paramedics who are not able to control their surroundings and are often working in cramped or untidy quarters. These injuries are also common in this field because nurses and paramedics are often helping patients with mobility and it is easy to lose our balance or have a misstep in these types of situations.
7) Consequential injuries. When a nurse, paramedic or other healthcare workers sustains an injury on the job, they may be at risk of injuring another area of his or her body. For example, if a paramedic sustains an ankle injury, this will change the way the paramedic walks, runs, lifts and carries, and through overcompensation, it may put strain on other parts of the paramedic’s body, such as the knees and hips. These injuries are caused by the initial injury and called “consequential injuries.” They are also covered by workers’ compensation. Another common consequential injury is when a physical injury, such as a back injury, causes a mental injury, such as depression. In these cases, the medical treatment and wage loss associated with the consequential depression would be covered under workers’ compensation if it can be proved to be the result of the nurse’s or paramedic’s work-related back injury.
Injured on the Job as a Nurse? Call us. We Can Help.
To ensure that you receive the compensation and benefits that you deserve, work with an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer. We will protect your interests and take care of the legal and financial elements of your claim so that you can focus on your recovery. We do our best to meet our clients where they are—physically, mentally and emotionally. You don’t have to navigate the workers’ compensation system alone.
Joe Osterbauer and his team will provide a free initial consultation, either in his Minneapolis office, over the phone, or we can travel to meet you. You will not have to pay any attorneys’ fees up front, and we are only paid if we successfully secure a recovery on your behalf. Call 612-334-3434 or contact us online today for a free initial consultation.