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Work Injuries Down, Employer Retaliation On the Rise

Over the course of the past ten years, the total number of workplace injuries has gone down about 31 percent, according to reports from the federal government. Simultaneously, employer retaliation claims are on the rise. According to various worker groups throughout the U.S., employers frequently retaliate against their employees for reporting accidents and injuries at the workplace.

Statistically, there were approximately 100 federal and state employer retaliation claims last year. This n umber is double what it was ten years ago. This growing number may be attributed to increased employee awareness about their right to bring claims against their employer's for retaliation.

What is actually contributing to the increase in employer retaliation claims in conjunction with the drop in injury claims? There are two major thoughts on this issue. On the one side, employers are claiming that workplace injuries are down due to a greater emphasis on workplace safety programs. Unions and personal injury attorneys, on the other hand, say that workplace injury statistics appear to have dropped only because employers often discourage employees from reporting injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been cracking down on jobsite safety regulations and there is, in general, a greater corporate focus on preventing hazards at jobsites. While this may partially be contributing to the decrease in workplace injuries, it may also in part be because many states have made it more difficult for injured workers to qualify for workers' compensation.

Some employees are simply too fearful of their employers in this unstable job market to report an injury. Many employer's exploit this fear of job loss by saying things like "the accident was your fault" or "reporting accidents will result in penalties." Most employers deny such statements and hold to the belief that it is a stronger emphasis on safety that has resulted in these decreased injury numbers.

A statistical analysis of various construction sites in 2011 revealed that a number of injuries were not being reported. A survey of over 1,000 carpenters working in the Chicago and St. Louis metro areas revealed that less than half of construction site injuries were reported.

In New York State, if a worker is injured during the course of his employment, he/she is entitled to workers compensation benefits. These benefits cover medical expenses and partial lost earnings from work related injury. However, as employers provide that "safety net", that is worker's compensation benefits, the employee, if injured on the job, may not sue his employer. In exchange for providing compensation benefits, the injured worker essentially gives up his/her right to bring a lawsuit for negligence against his employer.

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The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, P.C. - Bronx Personal Injury Attorney
Located at 5600A Broadway, Bronx, NY 10463.
Phone: (212) 964-5777.
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