If you work on your feet, you know just how important foot health is. Injuries to the foot may not get as much attention as other parts of the body. But they're still quite common. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every year, there are around 60,000 foot injuries that result in lost work days. You need to stay on your toes, metaphorically speaking, to avoid hazards that can cause foot injuries.
Common types of foot injuries at work
- Crushed or Broken Feet and Toes. Most commonly, crushing injuries and broken bones are caused by falling objects or vehicle tires rolling over the feet. Workers who use heavy equipment or machinery may also sustain severe foot injuries by getting their feet caught in machinery. These types of injuries can even result in amputation.
- Punctures to the Underfoot. In many workplaces, there is a risk of stepping on sharp objects. These objects may be nails or broken glass, and they can cause puncture injuries. Employers are responsible for keeping walkways clear of hazards and ensuring that workers are able to see where they're stepping.
- Frostbite. During the winter months, people who work outdoors may develop hypothermia and frostbite injuries to the extremities. Frostbite can result in the loss of toes or even an entire foot.
- Burns. Workers who work with hot liquids or toxic chemicals can be injured when those chemicals spill or are splashed on the ground. The feet and lower legs are potentially quite vulnerable in these situations.
- Sprains, Dislocations and Twisted Ankles. Many slip and fall or trip and fall accidents at work result in injuries to the foot or ankle, some of which can cause significant pain and limit your mobility for some time.
Your legal rights if you sustain a foot injury at work
Pennsylvania's workers' compensation system pays for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for an injury sustained on the job. For a foot injury, that may include your initial medical evaluation at an occupational care clinic, diagnostic tests like X-rays, treatment with a specialist such as a podiatrist, surgery, physical therapy, medical devices you may need for treatment or mobility, and medication such as painkillers.
Workers' compensation also pays a percentage of your lost wages if you're unable to work due to a foot injury. If your job requires standing or moving about and the injury renders you totally unable to work, workers' compensation pays two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a statutory maximum. If you're able to move to a desk job and take a pay cut or reduced hours while you have to stay off your feet, then workers' compensation covers two-thirds of the difference in pay.
Finally, Pennsylvania law provides for "specific loss benefits" for workers who sustain a permanent loss of use of certain body parts, including the feet and toes. For instance, if your work injury resulted in the amputation of a toe, you could receive specific loss benefits for that injury.
We'll stand up for full compensation for your foot injury
Injuries to the foot can be complex, both medically and legally. You need strong representation to advocate for the full compensation you deserve. We have the experience and resources to fight for you, from start to finish. Recently, we resolved a claim involving a foot injury for $125,000.
If you sustained a foot injury on the job, we'd be happy to speak with you about your legal rights and options. Give us a call or contact us online for your free consultation with attorney Richard Jaffe.