Given the time we spend there, our workplaces are almost a second home. Unfortunately, on-the-job injuries are distressingly common. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds in the United States.

While these injuries can occur in almost any work environment, the NSC reports that the service, transportation, manufacturing and construction industries are responsible for the largest percentage of worker injuries,

Many of these injuries are directly tied to negligence on the part of employers, managers or property owners. If you’ve been injured on the job as the result of dangerous conditions, it’s important that you know how to proceed.

By taking the right steps in the immediate aftermath of a workplace accident, you can protect your rights and lay the groundwork for future litigation.

Workplace Injuries: The Basics

Though workplace injuries take many forms, the most common ways people get hurt on the job include the following:

  • Overexertion. Roughly 34-percent of workplace Injuries are related to lifting or lowering objects.
  • Contact with objects or equipment. 25-percent of workplace injuries are related to being struck, caught or crushed by an object.
  • Slips and falls. 25-percent of workplace injuries are the result of a slip and fall, often the result of a poorly maintained surface.

Employers in California are required to maintain safe working environments. This includes regular safety inspections, worker training and an illness and injury prevention program.

Unfortunately, some employers fail to meet this standard. They may ask workers to lift unsafe loads, have them operate equipment without proper training or fail to maintain dry, even floor surfaces. All of these are common workplace scenarios that often result in debilitating injury and lifetime suffering.

What to Do if You’re Injured at Work

While California has a worker’s compensation system, it is limited in what it can offer those who have suffered serious injuries. For example, worker’s compensation does not cover pain and suffering or punitive damages.

If you’re injured at work, you should immediately report the injury to your employer, and document any hazards that contributed to the injury with photos or video. Remember, it is illegal for an employer to fire you for reporting an injury, or for seeking compensation.

Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, you may wish to pursue a claim through the California worker’s compensation system, file a lawsuit, or do both. A law firm with specific experience handling workplace injury cases can help you determine the best path to choose.

Workplace injury litigation can be quite complex, so it’s essential to consult with an attorney who specializes in such cases. By doing so, you help ensure that you receive fair and just compensation for your injury.