According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.7 million private industry workers experienced non-fatal illness and injuries while on the clock in 2020. Out of those work-related injuries and illnesses, more than 1 million of them caused the injured employees to be out of work for at least a day. While there are many causes, common workplace injuries include cuts, lacerations, punctures, strains, tears, sprains, pain, and soreness.
New York and New Jersey law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If you experience a workplace injury, this insurance will pay for your medical treatment. A workers’ comp doctor is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat injuries caused by workplace accidents and conditions.
How Is a Workers’ Comp Doctor Uniquely Qualified?
After being injured on the job, your first thought might be to visit your primary health care provider; however, they might not realize that the injury is job-related. A workers’ comp doctor has experience diagnosing the root cause of workplace injuries, even those that aren’t readily apparent.
If your workers’ comp claim is challenged and you must pursue the matter in court to seek reimbursement, a workers’ compensation physician can provide medical testimony on your behalf. Family doctors might not have experience testifying in court.
A workers’ comp doctor has a comprehensive list of Workers Compensation Board-certified physicians and clinics near you in New York and New Jersey.
What Are the Causes of Common Workplace Injuries?
The National Safety Council reported that in 2019, the most common situations that caused occupational injuries requiring time missed from work were:
- Bodily reaction and overexertion: Warehouse and transportation workers were most at risk, with the back being the most frequently injured body part.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Agriculture workers were added to warehouse and transportation employees as being most at risk for these accidents, with strains, sprains, and tears being the most common injuries.
- Contact with equipment and other objects: Construction, transportation, agriculture, and warehouse employees were most affected by this kind of accident, which most commonly causes punctures, cuts, and lacerations.
Other causes of injuries on the job include transportation-related accidents, exposure to harmful environments or substances, and fires and explosions.
Because there are so many types of workplace injuries, there are multiple treatments available and many types of doctors to provide those services. If you need work injury treatment in New York or New Jersey, use Workers’ Comp Doctor’s free services to locate the help you need.
Who Treats Occupational Injuries?
With so many workplace accidents happening annually, multiple types of injuries occur. The actual injury is only one of the issues an injured worker can face, though. For example, doctors can set a broken bone, but that patient can still experience pain and loss of mobility. Workers’ compensation doctors create a comprehensive medical care plan to address the actual injury and its side effects.
There are multiple professionals that have specialties related to specific types of injuries:
Acupuncture is a type of alternative treatment focused on relieving pain and managing stress. The certified practitioner inserts thin needles into specific areas of the body to balance the body’s natural energy flow. Neck and back pain are common reasons to visit an acupuncturist.
A chiropractor uses different techniques to manipulate your joints. These methods realign the body to reduce or alleviate pain and maintain proper alignment to prevent further pain. Chiropractors can address occupational injuries in most areas of the body.
Neurologists treat various spine, brain, and nervous system issues. After a work-related injury, visit a neurologist if you experience these possible side effects:
- Weak muscles
- Tingling or numbness
- Seizures, tremors, or movement issues
- Sudden vision problems
- Confusion or memory loss
- Fatigue or insomnia
Bone fractures and rotator cuff injuries are common conditions caused by workplace accidents. An orthopedic doctor focuses on injuries of the musculoskeletal system, such as joint and bone injuries. Orthopedists also treat connective tissues, muscles, and ligaments.
Pain Management Professionals
The pain management umbrella covers all sorts of pain, including both acute and chronic. Pain management doctors use a variety of methods to address pain, including medications and injections. Depending upon the source and severity of the pain, the overall pain management strategy might involve other types of doctors such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, psychologists, and physical therapists. A multitude of workplace injuries can cause immediate and long-term pain.
A physiatrist focuses on diagnosing and creating rehabilitation treatment plans for traumatic muscular injuries caused by accidents. Their goal is for the patient to be pain-free and able to function normally. However, physiatrists do not perform surgery; a surgeon would manage that portion of the treatment plan if it is required. Sprains, strains, and neck or spinal injuries caused by occupational situations are commonly addressed by physiatrists.
Physical therapists assist the patient in regaining strength and mobility after an accident, injury, or surgery. Common strategies include exercises and stretches, ultrasound, massage, warm water therapy, and assistance for learning how to use walkers or artificial limbs. A wide variety of occupational injuries require physical therapy.
Psychiatrists and Psychologists
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who work with mental health conditions. Their treatment plans consist of both physical and mental components and can include medications and mental therapy sessions.
A psychologist has a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology and may not be a medical doctor. Unlike psychiatrists, neither New York nor New Jersey psychologists can prescribe medications. Therapy sessions involve psychologist-led discussions related to the patient’s issues.
Both types of mental health professionals can address workplace post-traumatic stress disorder caused by witnessing, repeatedly being exposed to, or being directly involved in a traumatic event while at work.
Any of those situations can cause short-term or long-term stress or disability. However, proving that occupational incidents caused mental conditions is difficult. A workers’ comp mental health care professional can diagnose and help you manage your mental health issue and can provide medical testimony to help prove its cause.
What Work Injury Treatments Are Available?
A workers’ comp doctor should assess every occupational injury individually because the severity of the damage, the overall health condition, and the medical history of the worker may necessitate different forms of treatment. However, there are some standard treatment options for each of the top causes of workplace injuries.
Bodily Reaction and Overexertion
This category includes injuries caused by moving the body, including lifting, bending, reaching, or carrying heavy merchandise or equipment. Doing too much when you aren’t physically or mentally able can result in moderate to severe injuries.
Back injuries often result from overexertion. These injuries can be very painful and prevent the worker from performing necessary duties at work.
Back pain treatments can include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Massage or chiropractic manipulations
- Heat or ice therapy
Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by repeating the same motions over time; improper hand and wrist placement when typing can cause carpal tunnel injuries.
Treatments for repetitive stress injuries may include:
- Medications or injections
- Physical therapy
- Cold treatment
- Elevation of the injured body part if possible
Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke can happen to workers in sweltering conditions, especially if they perform manual labor. Immediate medical attention is needed to prevent the condition from worsening, as, at times, organ damage or death can occur. Methods to address these concerns include rehydrating by drinking fluids such as sports drinks, utilizing intravenous (IV) fluids, taking cold water baths, applying ice packs placed around the body, and lying down with feet elevated.
Soft tissue injuries include bruises, strains, sprains, and inflammation. Depending upon the severity of the injury, workers’ compensation doctors might treat it with medications, injections, compression, ice packs, the elevation of the affected area of the body, splints, physical therapy, or surgery.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Many types of injuries can occur due to slipping, tripping, and falling. Bone fractures, bruises, cuts or lacerations, damaged teeth, and dislocated joints are common. All of these injuries may require pain management which can be provided with medications, acupuncture, and chiropractic services.
Bone fractures might require splinting, a cast, or immobilization. Surgery is sometimes needed to realign the bones properly or insert metal pins to hold the bones in place.
A physician might treat cuts and lacerations with antibiotic ointment, stitches, staples, wound closure strips, or skin glue. Antibiotics and tetanus shots are sometimes given after cuts or scrapes occur.
Medications, ice, rest, splints, manipulation, physical therapy, or surgery may treat displaced joints.
Contact With Equipment or Other Objects
A variety of occupational accidents can occur if, for example, an employee is caught by machinery, hit by a forklift, or struck by material ejected from moving machinery. Serious injuries such as severed or crushed body parts, broken bones, internal injuries, and even death can be caused by moving machinery and heavy equipment.
First aid techniques can treat minor injuries, but serious injuries may require surgery.
Transportation accidents can result from any mode of transportation, such as delivery vehicles, trucks, airplanes, ships, and trains. Workers might be injured by operating, being hit by, loading, and unloading the various types of transportation vehicles.
The range of injuries can be mild to severe. Treatment plans are made depending on the type of injury sustained and might include medications, injections, manipulations, acupuncture, physical therapy, immobilization, traction, or surgery.
Injuries Received From Coworkers or Animals
Unfortunately, some workers are injured due to the unintentional or intentional actions of a coworker. An employee might accidentally drop a heavy object onto a nearby coworker’s foot. Intentional actions might be fighting or throwing an object at another worker.
Injuries can include bruises, broken bones, cuts, lacerations, punctures, crushed body parts, burns, and organ damage. Each type of injury has its own treatment options.
Animals can cause injury in several circumstances: a dog might bite or scratch a delivery person; a horse may throw its rider, or a cat could scratch its veterinarian. Bites or scratches can be handled with medications, stitches, and tetanus shots. More severe injuries caused by animals require treatments, including physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and surgery.
Harmful Environments or Substances
Some workers come into contact with toxic substances or environments while they are working. If proper safety measures fail, the employee might inhale, touch, or be exposed to the hazardous material. For instance, medical workers might touch a dirty needle, factory workers may breathe toxic fumes from spilled chemicals, and x-ray technicians might not be adequately shielded from radiation.
The first steps in treating chemical exposure are removing the patient from the source of contamination to a place with fresh air, flushing the eyes, and cleaning the skin with water. Patients may need further medical attention if the lungs are affected or the skin is severely burned. Long-term exposure to some toxic environments can cause delayed conditions such as cancer or impaired reproductive capabilities.
Explosions and Fires
Burns, smoke inhalation, and injuries caused by debris are common results of explosions or fires. The skin, lungs, and internal organs may be damaged by fire; collapsing structures or airborne debris can injure workers during fires and explosions.
Oxygen treats smoke inhalation, along with hyperbaric oxygenation treatments or bronchoscopy if the damage is extensive. Burn treatments include wound cleansing, removal of damaged skin, topical salves, and IV fluids. Burn centers may address severe burns.
Can Injuries Sustain Over Time Qualify as Workers’ Comp Cases?
Even if there is not a single incident directly causing an injury, some work-related injuries are caused by repetitive stress or overexertion or long-term exposure to hazardous substances, for example.
Do You Need Work Injury Treatment?
Serving New Jersey and New York’s Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, Workers’ Comp Doctor lists qualified workers’ compensation doctors and clinics near you.
Find a Workers Compensation Board-certified physician in NY and NJ or treatment facility in your area using the free resources available on the Workers’ Comp Doctor website. Call (888) 590-4030 to speak to a representative or submit the handy online form to get started on your road to physical and mental recovery. Our doctors accept workers’ compensation insurance, no-fault, PIP (personal injury protection), medical liens, and other health insurance plans. Same-day appointments may be available. Call today and get on the road to recovery!