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Does that cut on your finger qualify you for workers’ comp?

Workers’ compensation covers employees who sustain work-related injuries. You may think in terms of burns or fractures. However, there are countless injuries that qualify for insurance benefits.

A study of claims submitted to the nation’s largest workers’ compensation carrier shows that an injury as small as the cut on your finger may make you eligible to file.

The most frequent injuries

In 2016, The Travelers Companies released an Injury Impact Report, a compilation of information from 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims submitted within a five-year period. At 30%, strains and sprains took first place, followed by punctures and cuts at 19% and contusions at 12%. The final entries out of the top five injuries on insurance claims were inflammation and fractures at 5% each.

How they happen

The report cited material handling as the most common cause of a workplace injury followed by slips, trips and falls. Next most common was being struck by or colliding with an object, then accidents with tools and trauma that occurs over time from repetition or overuse. Although it is obvious that major injuries like a broken leg or traumatic brain injury require significant time away from work, many minor injuries represent a surprising number of missed workdays according to the study.

Industries most affected

The report showed that material handling injuries occurred most often in the manufacturing and retail industries. Eye injuries were common in manufacturing as well as construction and falling from heights was also common in the construction industry. Oil and gas was the only industry where motor vehicle accidents occurred with any frequency.

What happens next

That cut on your finger may be very problematic depending on your job. The first step is to report the injury to your supervisor. Your employer must, in turn, report the injury to the company’s workers’ compensation carrier. Keep in mind that claims are not always successful. If you feel dissatisfied with the way your employer handled your claim or the way the insurance company responded, you may wish to seek legal guidance.

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