What Types of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in Wisconsin?
You were injured on the job in Wisconsin. Are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? While there are a few factors that will determine your eligibility, one factor that isn’t particularly relevant is the nature of your injury. Here’s why:
In Wisconsin, workers’ compensation benefits are available to eligible employees who get injured on the job. As long as your injury is job-related, it doesn’t matter what type of injury you suffered. While programs like Social Security disability (SSD) only cover certain types of injuries, this isn’t the case with workers’ compensation.
Common Job-Related Injuries Covered By Workers’ Compensation
While all types of job-related injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation in Wisconsin, some injuries are more common than others. Here are 10 examples of common injuries covered by workers’ compensation:
1. Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve damage to ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Sprains and strains are the most common soft tissue injuries. These injuries involve stretching the tissue beyond its limit of elasticity, and workers can typically recover with rest and rehabilitation. Tears are less common, but they are also much more serious. In many cases, workers who experience ligament, muscle, and tendon tears will need surgery.
2. Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is also an extremely common work injury. Similar to soft tissue injuries, lower back pain can result from a wide range of causes. These include traumatic accidents (i.e., falls and collisions) as well as repetitive strain (i.e., lifting or bending over repeatedly at work over an extended period of time).
3. Broken Bones
Broken bones can vary widely in terms of their severity. While some broken bones will heal with stabilization and rest, others will require invasive surgery. The location of a bone fracture (i.e., a broken finger, ankle, or rib) can impact the recovery process as well as an employee’s ability to work during his or her recovery.
Burns are common injuries for employees who work around heavy equipment and machinery. Engines and other moving parts can become extremely hot, and contact with hot surfaces can immediately cause severe, painful, and debilitating burns. Burn injuries are also common among electricians, welders, and others who work in high-risk occupations. Prolonged sun exposure and contact with toxic chemicals can cause severe burns as well.
5. Severe Cuts and Bruises
While minor cuts and bruises may only require basic first aid, severe injuries can necessitate stitches, sutures, and other forms of medical care. The costs of this care can add up quickly, and workers may need to take time off in order to fully heal.
6. Concussions and Other TBI
Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and they can happen in a broad range of scenarios. They are common injuries in vehicle collisions, falls, impacts from falling objects, and other work-related accidents. Rest is critical following a concussion, as the brain needs time to fully heal. When employees return to work too soon, they are at greater risk of suffering a second concussion and potentially being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.
7. Neck Injuries
Neck injuries, including whiplash, can also result from vehicle collisions, falls, and other common work-related accidents. Depending on their severity, neck injuries will often have lingering effects, and in some cases they will lead to long-term complications. If you are experiencing neck pain after an accident at work, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You have the right to choose your own doctor under Wisconsin law.
8. Eye, Ear, and Nose Injuries
Our eyes, ears, and noses are fragile. Loud noises, bright lights, flying objects, closing doors, and many other work-related hazards can cause potentially serious eye, ear, and nose injuries. Broken noses, corneal abrasions, loss of vision, ruptured eardrums, and tinnitus are just a handful of examples of injuries employees commonly suffer on the job.
9. Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (also called repetitive strain injuries) occur when the body wears down over time. Employees in nearly all occupations perform some sort of repetitive movement, and this repetition can cause wear and tear that eventually results in a serious injury. Some examples of common work-related repetitive stress injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- De Quervain’s syndrome
- Shin splints
- Tennis elbow
- Trigger finger
Due to the deadlines that apply to workers’ compensation claims in Wisconsin, filing a claim for a repetitive stress injury can present some unique challenges. As a result, if you are in pain due to repetitive stress at work, you should speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
10. Overexertion Injuries
Overexertion injuries happen when workers attempt to perform tasks their bodies can’t handle. This includes common tasks such as lifting items off of the ground, using hand tools, and attempting to push or pull heavy objects. It also includes working to the point of exhaustion. While many employees feel pressured to take on high-risk tasks, proof that an employer is responsible for an employee’s injury is not required when filing for workers’ compensation in Wisconsin.
The Severity of Your Injury Determines the Benefits You Can Receive
While the nature of your injury does not affect your workers’ compensation eligibility, the severity of your injury is a factor in determining which workers’ compensation benefits you can receive. If you are able to work through your injury, then you will only be able to obtain medical benefits (coverage for the costs of your diagnosis and treatment). If you are out for less than seven days, you can also collect disability (partial wage replacement) benefits after a three-day waiting period. If you are out for more than seven days, you can collect disability benefits for the entire period you are unable to work.
Request a Free Consultation with a Madison Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you would like to know more about filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Wisconsin, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Madison workers’ compensation lawyer at Mays Law Office, please call 608-257-0440 or inquire online today.