Extreme and traumatic injuries are typically watched closely by the authorities to prevent them becoming commonplace, but they remain a risk to every worker in the USA. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are up to 2.8m non-fatal workplace injuries every year in the USA, with over 300,000 of these incidents requiring hospitalization. Whether in work or outside of it, serious injury can cause disability and trauma that last a lifetime and can cut a career short. Plotting a course out of serious injury and supporting an independent life is important, both in terms of health and financial well-being.
When you experience a traumatic injury, the first thing to establish is where your starting ground is. More often than not, this means assessing the cause of the injury and seeing if fault lies anywhere. Companies are often responsible for every area of their business and network, even where you might not suspect it. In early May 2020, the New Jersey Law Journal reported on a $125m settlement made by Verizon in respect of a falling telephone pole that had hit and paralyzed a passer-by. Legal practitioners JJS recommend looking for legal help as soon as you experience injury – even if you believe there to be no fault, legal experts may feel otherwise. A settlement can help you on your way to being comfortable and having a safety net as you rebuild your life.
Awareness of your rights
A disability incurred from injury or trauma does not preclude you from employment. The US Department of Labor have several safeguards in place that protect both the legal rights and the right to compensation for workers of all types and backgrounds. What does this mean for working? You can equip yourself with the full knowledge of the rights and regulations that surround your condition and demand fairness in any interviewing procedure and any other selection process. If you retain the skills and ability to conduct any tasks involved in the job, the employer is compelled to treat you fairly and give full consideration.
Just as disability should not prevent you from obtaining employment that you are legally able to complete, neither should it impede you in the workplace. If an employer signs a contract with you, they are bound to the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and this means they need to make reasonable adjustments for you within the workplace. This can be sight aids, mobility adjustments, or specialist software and equipment, to name but a few tools. It is your right to have these adjustments put in place, and your employer must respond positively to the request.
When you become severely injured for reasons beyond your control or fault, there are measures that can be taken to alleviate the pressure of your career. The rules and regulations in place around the country are there to support injured workers and can make a big impact. The key to making use of them is, as always, awareness.