Workplace injuries can have a huge impact on every aspect of an individual’s life. After all, an injury not only has physical effects, but emotional and financial ones too.
Collecting workers’ compensation benefits can help individuals reduce the stress of those effects. However, one detail that many people might not think about is the effect a work injury can have on the injured worker’s family.
Families commonly worry about finances after an injury
After individuals receive treatment for their work injury and the pain subsides, the next most common worries usually include:
- How will they support their families if they cannot work?
- How will they cover the expenses needed for treatment?
Thankfully, the workers’ compensation benefits that injured employees cover both lost wages and medical bills to help support families in the tough time after a work injury (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-602). Even so, families might still face financial challenges.
This is often the case if a family member must become a full-time caregiver in addition to their job.
The role of caregiver can be stressful for family members
Loved ones play an important – and often unrecognized – role after a work injury. Spouses, and also children, often become caregivers for their loved ones after they suffer a severe and life-changing injury. For example, if a worker suffers a traumatic brain injury in a serious fall at work, they have a long road to recovery ahead of them. Their spouse or other loved ones might have to help them:
- Complete basic tasks each day, such as dressing or bathing;
- Bring them to appointments to obtain treatment; and
- Take care of the family’s finances and most responsibilities around the house.
Spouses and children do this out of love, but being a caregiver is a stressful job. It can lead to caregiver burnout and it might create strain in family relationships.
Family members might also face a greater risk of injury
According to a study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), family members also face a higher risk of suffering an injury after a loved one sustains a serious work injury. Their risk increases by 34%. This is generally because family members take on more responsibilities around the house and may engage in physically taxing work.
These additional injuries could cause families even more physical, emotional and financial stress in the long run.
That is why it is critical to seek workers’ compensation as soon as possible after a work injury. Consulting an experienced attorney can help injured workers recover the benefits they deserve. In turn, this can help injured workers reduce the impact an injury could have on both them and their families.