When people think of dangerous professions that lead to serious workplace injuries, a police officer, fireman, or construction worker may come to mind. It is unlikely that being a teacher would be included in this list. However, teaching is a very physically demanding and increasingly dangerous profession. This can lead to teachers suffering injuries that sometimes result in chronic pain, limitations of movements, and inability to perform their job duties. Fortunately, injured teachers may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Georgia law.
What Are Common Ways That Teachers Suffer Injuries on the Job?
The job of being a teacher is becoming increasingly more difficult, and more and more demands are being placed on teachers every year. Many teachers work long hours and face additional pressures to improve student performance and achievement. This can lead to teachers suffering a variety of injuries in workplace accidents. Some of the causes of injuries that result in workers’ compensation claims include:
- Slip and fall accidents. With the number of students, teachers, and other staff in schools on a daily basis, it can be hard for the janitorial staff to keep up with all the slip and fall hazards. Spilled food and drink, splashed water and debris in the bathrooms, icy or wet parking lots and school entrances, and torn carpeting and damaged flooring are just a few of the causes of teachers suffering slip and fall accidents. This can result in them suffering sprains, broken bones, fractures, back and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injury.
- Repetitive strain injuries. One of the most common types of injuries that leads teachers to file workers’ comp claims is a repetitive strain injury. These injuries are caused by repetitive movements, such standing for long periods of time, writing on a whiteboard throughout the day, grading papers, and typing on a computer. Tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other repetitive stress injuries can require a teacher to take time off work and file a workers’ comp claim.
- Toxic exposure. Teachers can be exposed to many toxic substances at their school on a daily basis. Some older schools may not have removed dangerous asbestos. Other harmful substances include fumes, moisture damage, mold, and excessive dirt or dust. Teachers could develop severe headaches, blurred vision, skin rashes, memory loss, muscle cramps, and cancer or other life-threatening illnesses from long-term exposure.
- Injuries related to teaching subject. Sometimes, the courses being taught could pose risks of injury. For example, a science teacher could be exposed to harmful chemicals. Computer science teachers could suffer more repetitive strain injuries. These injuries can prevent a teacher from performing his job, making it necessary for him to take time off work while he recovers from his injuries.
- Stress and psychological conditions. Teachers have heavy workloads with little time to prepare for classes. They must also deal with challenging students, lack of materials, and other pressures to perform. This can lead them to suffer from stress and stress-related psychological conditions, such as depression or anxiety. If the problem is severe enough, they may need to take time off work while they seek treatment.
- Violence. Schools are becoming more dangerous, and teachers now risk serious injuries or death in a workplace violence incident. Teachers must often intervene to try to break up fights and can also be the victim when someone brings a gun to the school and opens fire on students and teachers.
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can an Injured Teacher Receive?
Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws, a teacher could be entitled to benefits while he is off work recovering from his injuries or if he becomes permanently disabled. However, calculating the weekly benefits can be more complicated when a teacher does not work through the entire year. Workers’ compensation benefits that a teacher may receive include:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary partial disability payments
- Permanent partial disability payments
- Permanent total disability payments
- Mileage reimbursement
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits and funeral expenses if the worker died as a result of his injuries
Do you need to file a workers’ compensation claim? The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Chris Hudson & Associates can help. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 to schedule a free consultation.