Drownings and Workers Comp Claims
Drownings are a manner of fatal injury, disability or life without morbidity that are given in the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Drownings refer to the type of fatal injury, disability or life without morbidity that a worker sustains in a job-related event or accident. If a worker drowns as a result of a fatal, job-related event or accident, this has to be put in the right category of the OIICS.
There used to be several terms that were used in connection with drowning. These terms were wet drowning, dry drowning, active or passive drowning, secondary drowning and silent drowning. However, at the 2002 World Congress on Drowning that was held in Amsterdam, a new consensus definition for drowning was suggested by a group of experts.
The consensus definition of drowning that was agreed on is that drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submission/immersion in liquid. Near drowning is defined as the survival of a drowning event that involves unconsciousness or water inhalation and can result in serious secondary complications or death for up to 72 hours after the event.
As it applies to workers’ compensation, drownings refer to the manner of death, disability or life without morbidity of a worker in a job-related event or accident that occurs during the course of that worker doing their job for their employer. Although drownings usually occur in water, industrial drownings may take place in other liquids, such as wax or molasses.
What most people do not realize is that drownings usually take place rapidly and silently. The picture that most people have of a person thrashing and gasping in the water is rarely reported. Drownings are usually the ominous scenario of a motionless individual floating in the water or quietly disappearing below the surface.
Drownings is a category that is found under traumatic injuries and disorders. Seeing a co-worker drown is certainly a traumatic experience that can leave lifetime emotional and psychological scars.
Types of Occupations With a High Risk for Drownings
There are occupations that involve a high risk for drownings. These include:
- Workers in industry and construction
- Commercial fishermen
- Workers in fish hatcheries
- Dock workers, longshoremen
Possible Injuries Resulting from Drownings
While death is usually the result of drownings, there are other injuries that are possible for those who survive a drowning. Surviving a drowning usually results in disability. At least a third of drowning survivors have moderate to severe neurologic sequelae, which is structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Loss of sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Poor coordination
Can I Get Workers Comp for Drownings?
If you lost a loved one to drowning in a job-related event or accident, or your loved one is disabled from a job-related drowning event or accident; you may want to know if you can get workers’ compensation death benefits, or, if your loved one survived, can they get workers compensation for their injuries from drowning.
The answer to both of these questions is, "Yes." If you are having difficulty getting death benefits or your disabled loved one is having problems getting workers compensation, you need to call a workers’ compensation attorney.