A Birmingham newlywed wakes up every day thinking it’s Valentine’s Day after suffering a fall accident at work.
WBRC News reports the injured employee was working on a ladder February 13 and can remember the ladder falling out from beneath him. He recalls another employee waking him up, and he was diagnosed with a concussion at the hospital. But then he started forgetting. Soon he couldn’t remember whole afternoons. Then he started waking up every day thinking it was Valentine’s Day, the day after the accident.
Our Birmingham workers’ compensation attorneys know fall accidents are the leading cause of fatal work-related injury. Statistics for 2011 released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show 4,609 employees were killed on the job last year. More than 660 died in fall accidents, making it the leading cause of death after transportation accidents and fatal contact with objects or equipment.
A total of 74 employees were killed on the job in Alabama, including 10 who died in falls.
Other fatal Alabama work accidents in 2011:
Workplace violence: 6
Transportation accidents: 36
Fire and explosion: 1
Exposure (harmful chemicals/substances): 7
Contact with objects or equipment: 17
Workers’ compensation benefits in Alabama will pay for medical care and a portion of lost wages in the event of an injury on the job. However, it’s important to report an accident as soon as it occurs. This case illustrates how seemingly minor injuries can later result in a serious medical condition. Failure to properly report an injury at or about the time of occurrence can impact your ability to collect damages to which you would otherwise be entitled. Workers’ compensation death benefits may also be available to dependents of the victim or other members of the deceased’s household.
In this case, the victim and his wife have been to doctor after doctor; they have been told his memory could return at anytime. In the meantime, his mind is not creating new memories and the couple is struggling with mounting medical bills, for which several fundraisers have been planned.
Traumatic head injuries, in particular, can cause serious medical issues that are not apparent until weeks or months after an accident. The National Institutes of Health report nearly 2 million people suffer a head injury annually. Falls are the leading cause, followed by car accidents.
TBI can result in a wide range of short- or long-term cognitive issues including problems with memory or reasoning; loss of sensation; issues with language, pronunciation or speech; and emotional problems, including anxiety and depression.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration continues to be concerned about ladder safety in the workplace. Employers must work to prevent employees from falling when working from overhead platforms, elevated work stations and around holes in the walls or floors. Workers must also receive the proper safety training and must be provided the proper safety gear at no cost to the employee.
OSHA requires employers to provide fall protection at a height of four feet or greater in most industries. The height is five feet in shipyards and six feet in the construction industry.
Birmingham man’s memory lost after work accident, Channel 9 News, By Christy Hutchings, Sept. 24, 2012.
Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co. v. Thomas: Car Accidents on the Job in Alabama, Published by Cross & Smith, LLC, Sept. 5, 2012.