Workers can suffer all kinds of injuries while on the job. It only takes a second for a wet spot on the floor to cause a slip-and-fall incident or for a piece of machinery to malfunction. Workers often end up suffering severe injuries that leave them unable to return to their job for many days or even weeks.
Burns, crushing injuries and head injuries are all common on-the-job injuries, as are broken bones. A fracture can take a long time to heal and may permanently impact a worker’s mobility and quality of life. Understanding the risks from broken bones is important when you’re dealing with workers’ compensation insurance.
Depending on the kind of job you perform, you may not be able to complete critical tasks with a broken arm, leg, foot or hand. In some industries, your employer can adjust your tasks or provide accommodations to keep you at work. A stool at your station, for example, could allow you to take weight off an injured foot or leg. A workflow adjustment permitting you to work with customers instead of in production would also work for some.
Other times, employers simply don’t have the tasks or flexibility to work with injured employees until they heal. If that is the case with your injury, it could result in an inability to return to work until after you’ve completely healed. That might mean several months for the bone itself to heal, as well as many weeks of physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion in the affected area.
Many times, those with broken bones may experience ongoing symptoms after healing. Pain during weather changes or a reduced use of the affected limb can happen, especially without adequate physical therapy. However, for some people, the pain of a broken bone actually starts to get worse as the injury heals.
This increasing pain may be a sign of a debilitating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) was once called Reflect Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). This condition impacts the autonomic nervous system, causing constant pain. Often, the pain results from trauma, like broken bones or surgery. It may remain localized, but it can also spread throughout the body.
The difficult thing about CRPS is that there is no cure. Instead, patients require treatment to manage their pain and slow or prevent the spreading of symptoms. The condition can cause pain so overwhelming that patients can no longer work.
If you’ve received a settlement offer after breaking a bone at work, make sure that the offer reflects the amount of time you’ll miss work, as well as the medical treatments you’ll require.