Hospital workers, including RNs, CNAs, and LPNs, face numerous challenges in their fast-paced line of work. These challenges often lead to injury, and it’s important for nurses to know that they are entitled to workers’ compensation if that happens.
Workers’ Compensation Laws for Hospital Workers
Illinois workers’ compensation laws cover the vast majority of employees in the state, including nurses. The law is a no-fault system, meaning you don’t have to prove fault in order to collect compensation for your injury.
That said, it is important to report an injury promptly and file a claim within the allotted time period. In Illinois, injuries must be reported within 45 days of their occurrence, and a claim must be filed within 3 years. That may seem like a lot of time, but it’s best to be as quick as possible about it.
It’s worth noting that if you don’t notice an injury until it has developed into a major problem, the time limits start from the date when you first noticed (or should have noticed) the injury.
Risks and Common Injuries
Among the common risks and injuries nurses face in healthcare are the following:
The most common healthcare worker injury is back strain and injury from lifting and moving patients. In some cases, those injuries occur suddenly, such as when helping a patient and they lose balance, forcing the nurse to bear their entire weight. The injuries that result from these incidents can be severe, painful, and costly.
More commonly, though, back injuries occur over time. The task of moving patients can take its toll after several months, and in rare cases, full recovery isn’t possible.
Repetitive motion injuries
In addition to back injuries, repetitive motion takes a toll as well. Moving patients, physical exhaustion from overworking, or repetitive tasks can all wear you out, often making it necessary to get treatment.
Exposure to sharps and fluids often put nurses at risk of contracting infectious diseases. While safety practices are generally observed, it’s still a risk that can have a major impact.
Slip and fall
With the amount of foot travel nurses undertake each day throughout hospital facilities, and with the various fluids used in the industry, slip-and-fall accidents are fairly common. The results of these accidents can range from a few bruises to torn tendons or broken bones.
When treating mentally or physically ill patients, sometimes there is a threat of a violent outburst. Nurses harmed by these events are entitled to compensation for any injuries they sustain in the process.
Seeking Compensation for a Hospital Work Injury
While most nurses and other healthcare workers do their best to soldier on through pain and fatigue, it is important to take care of yourself if you work in a hospital setting. If you notice pain, see a doctor. Even if it doesn’t slow you down now, it could develop into a debilitating injury later on, and you’ll want to make sure you’re covered if it does.
In the event that your employer is reluctant to provide benefits for your injury, you’ll need the help of an attorney. Hart David Carson LLP can help you secure the compensation you deserve in the event of a hospital work injury.