Did you know that nearly 3 million workers are injured or sickened every year on the job? A large percentage of those workers come from the Midwest, and Illinois definitely has its share of workers’ compensation cases. Whether you have suffered from a ladder fall, trench collapse or other industrial or construction-related accident, you have the legal right to compensation through a formal claims process. Workers who have been injured on the job should never have to shoulder the burden of paying for their own medical care.

The good news is that workplace injury rates appear to be on the decline. In fact, private industry reported about 54,000 fewer nonfatal events in 2014 as compared to 2013 (the most recent years for which statistics are available). Many of these positive statistics indicate shorter periods of time away from work, perhaps because of better care or a lower injury severity. Still, the only industries that saw significant improvement are those related to health care, retail, hospitality and food services. Manufacturing and other related industries are still hotbeds of injury because of unsafe working environments.

Injuries far outpace illnesses in the American workplace, with about 95 percent of incidents attributable to some type of work accident. Injuries can be caused by negligent operating of machinery, industrial accidents, slip and fall accidents and a variety of other mechanisms. Injuries happen in a split second, while illnesses tend to develop over time. In the majority of cases, illnesses have to do with skin conditions and other related diseases.

No matter whether you have suffered a traumatic injury or an illness at work, you have the right to a full investigation for your workplace incident. Employers are legally required to provide workers’ compensation for on-the-job ailments, no matter their cause. Workers who have difficulty obtaining the money they deserve need a tough attorney to face unscrupulous insurance companies.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illness Summary,” Oct. 29, 2015