While employees in any occupation might suffer accidental bone fractures on the job, those in certain positions are at greater risk than others. Drivers, construction workers, warehouse employees, healthcare workers, office personnel, and restaurant employees are among the most likely to break bones at work. If you fracture a bone in an accident on the job in Florence, you’re entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim for your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as disability care and vocational re-training in some cases.
Workers’ comp provides no-fault coverage of work-related injuries and occupational illnesses for most SC employees of companies with four or more workers on the payroll. You don’t have to prove that your employer’s negligence caused your injury. Even if you caused it yourself, you can still file a claim, and your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so.
Types of Bone Fractures
Bone fractures are categorized as follows:
This is a minor break in which the broken bone can be realigned easily.
There is no open wound in the skin.
Open or compound fracture.
The skin is pierced by the end of the broken bone.
The bone is broken or crushed into multiple pieces.
The break has an angular pattern.
The bone breaks horizontally.
A part of the bone connected to a ligament or tendon is torn away from the rest of the bone.
Constant pressure or repetitive motion causes small cracks in the bone.
The break is “vertical” or parallel to the length of the bone.
The bone is cracked but does not break into two pieces.
The ends of the broken bone are jammed together by the force of the impact that causes the break.
One side of the bone is broken while the other side is only bent.
If you suffer any such fracture on the job, workers’ comp medical benefits should cover all your necessary treatment, medications, emergency room visits, physical therapy, and even the expenses you incur traveling to your appointments. During your recovery, workers’ comp should pay you approximately two-thirds of your lost wages. If your bone fracture is severe and affects your ability to perform your job duties even after you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), you could be eligible for disability benefits: Temporary Partial Disability (TPD); Temporary Total Disability (TTD); Permanent Partial Disability (PPD); or Permanent Total Disability (PTD).
Common Bone Fracture Accidents
Work-related accidents that commonly result in broken bones include the following:
Slip- or trip-and-fall mishaps are the most common workplace accidents resulting in broken bones. An employee in any work environment might slip on a wet surface or trip over an object and fall to the ground. Construction workers and factory employees sometimes fall from heights or down steps. In such mishaps, the weight of the body and the impact of the fall can easily cause serious bone fractures.
Being struck by falling objects like tools, building materials, or pieces of equipment stored on high shelves or transported by overhead cranes often causes skull fractures or breaks other bones.
Vehicle accidents are common among truck drivers, taxi drivers, forklift operators, chauffeurs, and others who use company vehicles for job-related transportation. Bones in the hands, arms, legs, feet, and ribs are often broken in such crashes.
Having limbs caught in machinery or between heavy objects can crack, snap, or crush bones. In the worst instances, amputation might be required.
Repetitive motion of the hands, as well as constant vibration from operating power tools or other machinery, can cause stress fractures in the bones of the wrist and fingers.
Treating Broken Bones
The type, location, and severity of a bone fracture determine what treatment is required to repair it. Breaks of minor to moderate severity can generally be aligned, and fiberglass or plastic casts will keep bones in a proper position to heal. Special boots are often used to stabilize broken bones in the foot or ankle. More severe bone breaks are treated with external fixation. Metal pins or screws are inserted into the pieces of a bone and attached to an external plate that stabilizes the bone while it heals. Traction, which utilizes weights and pulleys, can also be used to realign pieces of a broken bone so that it heals properly. In severe bone fracture cases, screws or plates might be attached internally to the bone, or metal rods might be inserted through the center of the bone to keep it intact.
Even a minor bone fracture requires time to heal. If you return to work too soon, you run the risk of re-injuring yourself and having to file a second workers’ comp claim, which could be complicated. More serious fractures can lead to high medical expenses and long recovery times. The most severe bone injuries might leave you partially disabled, which means your workers’ comp claim could be an expensive one that your employer’s insurer might dispute or deny. In such a case, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you to seek fair benefits by appealing to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) or state courts.
What to Do If You Break a Bone on the Job
As soon as possible after sustaining a broken bone on the job in Florence, notify your supervisor or the claims representative of your injury. If your boss does not file a claim on your behalf with the SCWCC, you should do so yourself with a Form 50 from the SCWCC website. Your employer’s insurer will then recommend a certified doctor to examine and treat you. Visit this doctor as soon as possible. (You may not choose your own doctor; doing so could damage your claim and make it harder to get benefits.)
Strong medical evidence like X-rays, results of MRIs, and other tests are very important in your quest for fair workers’ comp benefits. Keep all appointments with your recommended doctor and follow all advice and treatment plans conscientiously. Take all medication as prescribed, retain all receipts and other relevant documentation, and keep a daily journal of your treatments and recovery. If your employer’s insurer denies your claim, is slow to approve necessary treatment, wants you to return to work too soon, or tries to fire or retaliate against you for filing a claim, consult an attorney immediately.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Florence?
If you've been hurt at your job in or around Florence, South Carolina, you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Florence personal injury office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.