We trust our nurses, nursing assistants, doctors, and other medical professionals to help provide care when we are ill or injured — but what happens when they are the ones that need help? Who takes care of the health care providers when they need assistance?
What types of injuries and illnesses are common within the healthcare field?
Just like any other line of work, those in the healthcare profession can injure themselves by lifting heavy objects, making repeated motions, and even driving while on the job to transport equipment, supplies, or patients. The field is broad and can include many types of workers. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some of the more common injuries specifically within the nursing profession include:
- Overexertion. Physical effort from bending, lifting and repetitive motion made for almost 50% of all injuries within nursing.
- Falls, slips, and trips. 25% of injuries were the result of a fall while working.
- Violence. Another 12% of reported injuries were the result of violence within the workplace from patients, visitors, or other workers.
Additional causes of injury included contact with hazardous objects or equipment and transportation incidents.
While safety rules may be in place for certain activities (e.g., patient lifts), emergencies occur everyday at a hospital that require a medical professional to try to assist a patient on their own. Unfortunately, injuries can occur when lifting a patient on your own, or if the patient falls while the medical provider is trying to help.
What options are available to help injured and ill health care providers?
In Wisconsin, state law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to those who are injured while on the job. State law requires the worker to report the injury or illness to their employer and submit to reasonable examinations as requested by the employer’s insurance provider. A workers’ compensation claim does not mean anyone is “suing” the employer/hospital/medical provider–they are just bringing an insurance claim. Employers have work comp insurance to protect their employees when injuries inevitably happen.
If injured, workers’ compensation benefits are available to medical professionals. Nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals can received medical bill payment, lost time benefits (2/3 of wages during any week recovering in a healing period); functional disability benefits; and even loss of earning capacity benefits if unable to continue in their career based on the impacts of the injury. Insurance companies may be initially helpful, but their ultimate goal is to pay less and minimize risks. Accordingly, do not settle for a low initial offer to settle your claim.
Fight for the benefits you deserve by researching your options and speaking to an experienced Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney.