Articles Tagged with United Airlines Injury Claims

What do I do when I am injured at work?

You know your job and you know what to do when things are running smoothly and when things go wrong. However, when you get injured you may be unsure about what to do and what to say. Here are some helpful hints for figuring out what to do when you get injured at work.

1. Report everything. If you get hurt at work you should report the accident to your superiors as soon as possible. Let them know exactly what happened and when it happened. It is easy when you have a specific injury, “I picked up a box and felt a sharp pain in my low back.” It is harder when the injury is due to the repetitive and forceful activities that you do at work. If you have pain and think it is work related let somebody know about it and see a doctor. You will need to report the claim to your employer as soon as a doctor tells you that your pain may be work related. Reporting every injury does not mean you are going to a doctor or hiring a lawyer every time. You are documenting that something happened. If you get hurt on Thursday but do not report it until the following Monday your employer may question your claim. Report the accident as soon as possible.

Injuries are a fairly common occurrence among airline ground workers. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, approximately 27,000 accidents and incidents – one per 1,000 departures – occur every year worldwide, and about 243,000 people are injured in these accidents and incidents annually. Human error is the primary cause of these incidents, with approximately 92 percent of accidents traced to failure to follow procedures, inadequate training and airfield congestion. These numbers will come as no surprise to United Airlines ground workers, such as baggage handlers, mechanics and ground crew employees, who work in the intense atmosphere of busy Washington D.C., New York, Denver or Los Angeles airports.


Every time an aircraft lands, airport ground workers are under pressure to get that plane turned around and back in service as quickly as possible. Ground workers, equipment and vehicles are in constant motion around the aircraft, working to manage cargo and baggage, perform aircraft inspections and maintenance, and get the plane refueled, cleaned and restocked for its next flight. Adding to that pressure is the fact that, over the past decade, ground workers have had to adjust to completing these tasks with fewer workers, as cash-strapped airlines have reduced staffing levels. Additionally, in many cases, experienced workers have been replaced by less experienced and lower paid employees. At the same time, regulations passed in 2010 impose fines on airlines when passengers are kept waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours, increasing pressure on ground workers for fast aircraft turnarounds.


These factors create an atmosphere in which employees serving in support positions, like mechanics, baggage handlers, and ground crew team members, may feel pressured by supervisors to let safety procedures slip a little in the interest of speed. A hard-pressed baggage handler may not wait for a spotter or a mechanic may take a short cut, worried not just about the airline schedule, but also about satisfying demanding supervisors and keeping their jobs. Of course, these decisions, made under pressure in a split second, are ones that can lead to those human error accidents.

It is not an uncommon experience for an injury that seems minor to gradually worsen over the course of a couple of hours or even a few days. However, in the case of a San Francisco pilot or flight attendant, this fairly common occurrence can be problematic if it involves a work related injury. According to United Airlines regulations, an injury that is not reported within their very specific time frame may not be eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits. As any airline worker injury lawyer knows, reporting of all, even minor, injuries is important.


It is quite natural not to want to make a claim for every little bump or bruise, or to feel like a minor injury doesn’t need to be reported. Nobody wants to be seen as a complainer. However, that light ankle sprain can actually be a minor fracture that grows worse as weight continues to be put on it. A small scratch can turn into a serious infection. A slightly painful pulled muscle can turn into a debilitating event. Burns are notorious for worsening over time. A San Francisco flight attendant that gets what seems to be a minor injury in New York can be in serious pain by the time that United Airlines flight attendant returns to San Francisco.


The United Airlines flight attendant manual has very specific guidelines for when and how injuries must be reported. A supervisor must be notified immediately. Within 24 hours, a detailed, written injury report must be filed. That report must explain each element of the circumstances surrounding the injury, including the plane type and number. That report must also include a list of witnesses to the injury, as well as their contact information. This information is required in the event that there is eventually a workers’ compensation claim, as it will have to be thoroughly investigated before any monies are paid out.

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