Many different industries and types of jobs pose threats to the wellbeing of those who work in them, resulting in millions of workers’ compensation claims annually. The Social Security Administration reported $61.9 billion in payouts from workers’ compensation claims in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. Although many of those claims resulted from injuries on job times with inherent risk, others come from more surprising careers. In Utah this year alone, millions of dollars’ worth of workers’ comp claims have been filed by teachers.
Attorneys with Strom & Associates remind that while many claims result from job sites like construction or manufacturing environments, “even an office can be a risky place for employees.” Like many other types of work, simple job site accidents in educational settings can result in teachers experiencing serious injuries. In other cases, however, those injuries have less to do with working in a school where the occasional accident can happen and more to do with employee shortages and expectations that far exceed a teacher’s everyday job requirements.
Jamie Moffit began work as a substitute teacher at Rose Springs Elementary in Tooele County, Utah. She’d long dreamt of becoming a teacher and helping students attain the best possible education. On her first day of work at Rose Springs, the principal was so impressed with her ability to connect with students that he offered her a permanent job on the spot. She was assigned to a special education classroom as a paraprofessional, assisting the primary teacher as a special needs assistant.
What came next turned this job from an instant success to an ongoing nightmare. Paid only $600 per month, Moffit was assigned to a particular student whose behavior became an enormous threat to her health and well-being. The first six months of her work with this high needs student resulted in three hospital trips, three concussions, and hundreds of biting and hair-pulling incidents.
School officials acknowledged that she’s self-reported claims of injuries but also said they didn’t have the proper proof to back up those claims. And an enormous shortage of special education professionals meant that Moffit was continually sent back to the same classroom to face the same issues. Meanwhile, a full 70 percent of workers’ comp claims originating in school districts in Utah stemmed from special education teachers and paraprofessionals. As teachers shortages increase instead of abate, those numbers may become even more dire in the future.Date Of Update: 28 June 2020, 13:58