Professional Focus: Common Teacher Injuries
Teachers and other education staff provide an invaluable service to their communities across Maryland. From leading classrooms to taking on ancillary duties like coaching sports or running after-school clubs, these individuals do a lot in a single workday. Such responsibilities, however, may entail being exposed to various situations that possibly result in minor to severe injuries. To provide context, 2019 US Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the education services sector reported 38,600 cases of work-related injuries and illnesses, with the highest number of cases happening at the elementary and secondary school levels.
Given this reality and knowing some readers may be teachers themselves or know someone who is one, we wished to explore the topic of common teacher injuries and what to do after an accident.
Common Occupational Injuries Faced by Teachers and Other Education Staff
2017 Maryland Department of Labor's Division of Labor & Industry's Research & Statistics Unit data showed that Education Services workers reported a total of 1,100 work-related injuries and illnesses that required time away from work. While state data does provide some further information about the types of injuries or illnesses faced by these individuals, we provide more information about common teaching injuries in the following section.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Sprains and strains stemming from overexertion of muscles while leading classes, grading papers and exams, and using classroom technology
- Repetitive movements and long periods of being on their feet can also cause issues
Slips and Falls
- 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 all are risks to teachers slipping and injuring themselves
- Students, especially older ones, can present a risk of violence given their size and heightened energy levels
- For educators working with students with exceptionalities, there is an additional risk of injury depending on the individual's specific needs
Exposure to Fumes and Other Harmful Materials
- Along with potential exposure to diseases from other staff and students, teachers may be subjected to things such as mold, cleaning chemicals, and excessive dirt and dust
- These issues may be exacerbated if a school is older or has not been well-maintained
What Options Do Educators Have Following a Workplace Injury?
Option 1: File a Workers' Comp Claim
If a physical injury happens as a result of carrying out work duties, a nurse may file a workers' comp claim with the state's workers' compensation commission. Depending on the injuries, an individual may be eligible for disability benefits while they recover or if they are found to be temporarily or permanently disabled. It is best to first consult with a workers' compensation attorney immediately following the injury.
Option 2: File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Maryland laws related to workplace accidents prevent an individual from suing their employer for damages. However, if a third-party caused the injuries, a teacher may be able to pursue a personal injury case. They will need to prove that the defendant was negligent or intentionally did something wrong in a way that caused harm in order to collect compensation.
How We Can Help
Choosing to work with a five-star rated workers compensation law firm like Shultz Legal can help ensure your or a loved one's case gets the proper attention it deserves. Start by either calling our office or requesting a consultation using our online form.