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When Medical Conditions Intersect With Workplace Injuries Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to a recent study, people with untreated sleep apnea—a serious sleep disorder that involves pausing while breathing or taking shallow breaths during sleep—are twice as likely to suffer from a workplace injury compared to those who do not suffer from the condition. Given that up to 25 percent of all adults between ages 30 and 70 are supposedly affected by sleep apnea, this essentially means that the chronic sleep disorder could be involved in a significant number of workplace injuries each year. Understandably, those who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to experience injuries that are potentially related to being fatigued.

The effect this could have on the field of workplace injuries—and motor vehicle accidents—could be dramatic; specifically, because those who suffer from sleep apnea have decreased cognitive and motor function, when it’s left untreated, they are at an increased risk of getting in auto accidents as well. The impact that this could have on others—especially those who work in particular jobs where they rely on other employees to take safety precautions—as well as everyday drivers on the road—could also end up affecting personal injury litigation, and possibly even workers’ compensation. For example, if an employee does not get their sleep apnea treated—either because their employer doesn’t provide health insurance or for some other reason—and, out of fatigue, they drop a heavy object from a scaffold above someone else, hitting this other person, then you have a medical condition potentially having a ripple effect on other members of the public.

Implications for Employers & Doctors?

Interestingly, the study only looked at injury claims that resulted in at least one day of absence from work, making the study’s findings particularly relevant to such issues as lost wages. In addition, these findings may also have implications for whether employers need to screen for sleep apnea in the workplace. Without a requirement to specifically screen for this in the workplace, the duty appears to fall on your individual doctor; thus, could this also have implications for medical malpractice with regards to a delayed or missed diagnosis that ends up causing injuries to you and/or others? In other words, could medical providers be held vicariously liable for workplace injuries after failing to diagnose and treat sleep apnea?

Personal/Workplace Injury & Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured while at work or in an accident, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to find out what your rights and options are. Over the last 50 years, the attorneys at Curcio Law Offices have established a reputation as a leading personal injury firm representing Chicago and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free consultation and we can get started helping you. Call our office at 312.321.1111.