The Hidden Cost of the Flu: Costly Workplace Accidents

This flu season has already claimed the lives of 20 children.  Hospitals are overcrowded with patients seeking treatment and are turning people away in droves. The media has dubbed this an epidemic, encouraging people to get vaccinated, especially if they happen to be in a high risk group.  But what of the hidden costs to business, the workplace injuries that are the result of workers who are weak, who trudge to work because they can't afford to stay home and rest?  These workers are not dying of the flu.  But they could be at risk for traumatic injuries as a result of their flu.  They could be putting other coworkers at risk for traumatic injuries as the result of careless mistakes and negligent behavior. 

Being Sick Can Cause Workplace Injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that flu season costs businesses an estimated $10.4 billion in direct healthcare costs each year.  But that does not take into account lingering injuries as a result of accidents on the job.  

Workplace accidents are sometimes unavoidable realities.  Despite a worker's intention to pay attention and to carefully perform their job, sometimes accidents can happen.  When workers are sick with the flu, they can make careless mistakes because their mind and body are tired, or because they may be under the influence of a drowsy antihistamine or other medication. These accidents can cause the following injuries to workers:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • spinal cord injury
  • back and neck injury
  • knee injuries
  • broken bones
  • soft tissue damage
  • concussions
  • hearing loss
  • blindness
  • severed limbs
  • paraplegia
  • quadriplegia
  • amputation
  • death
According to the American Journal of Public Health, 1 in 3 American workers does not have paid sick days available.  This lack of sick days causes workers to go to work, whether they are sick, tired, stressed, and other conditions.  These people often cannot afford to take a day off because they are sick and this may cause an accident.  

If You've Suffered a Workplace Accident

All businesses are required to have Worker's Compensation insurance, which protects companies from being sued by the worker for their injuries.  Instead, the state maintains a worker's compensation fund that is intended to provide for employees' injuries. If you have suffered a workplace accident, you have rights.  And you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries.  You should seek out the advice of a skilled worker's compensation and personal injury attorney to help you navigate the complicated system of collecting worker's compensation for your injuries.  If you attempt to file the paperwork and collect on your own, there's a very real possibility that you can be denied money you desperately need for medical bills, or that you could receive pennies on the dollar for your injuries.  Call a skilled worker's compensation attorney today for the help you deserve.