What is the Average Workers’ Comp Back Injury Settlement?
Workers who suffer back injuries while on the job may experience significant symptoms, pain, and suffering that may last for many weeks or months. Moreover, permanent back injuries may result in a complete lack of functioning, such as from a debilitating spinal cord or paralysis injury.
If you sustained a back injury while performing a job duty, you may be eligible to bring a claim against your employer’s insurance company for various workers’ compensation benefits. In some circumstances, you can also file a third-party claim against a negligent individual or entity who caused the work accident that led to your back injury.
Both workers’ compensation claims and third-party injury claims may settle at some point along the line. One of the best ways to ensure that you recover favorable monetary compensation for your back injury is to retain a skilled attorney to represent you as quickly as possible in your case.
Your workers’ compensation lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and work to pursue the favorable benefits and monetary damages that you deserve to recover.
Possible Job Site Accidents that Can Lead to Back Injuries
When workers become involved in an accident at their job site, they may ultimately sustain a back injury that leaves them incapacitated for a significant amount of time. While individuals in the building and construction industries are especially prone to back injuries, people who work in an office setting can also suffer a back injury, such as in a slip and fall accident.
Some of the most common occurrences that happen on job sites and which may lead to a debilitating back injury include:
- Falls from high ladders and scaffolding
- Pushing and lifting heavy objects daily
- Operating and maneuvering heavy equipment
- Slip and falls and other premises accidents
If you suffered a back injury at work in one of these occurrences, you should speak to a workers’ compensation attorney in your area right away about your eligibility for filing a claim. Your lawyer can then file a claim with your employer’s insurance company and forward the necessary documents to the insurance company adjuster for their review.
Types of Back Injuries that Workers Suffer While on the Job
The nature of a worker’s back injuries depend on what happened to cause the injury, the amount of force involved, and the part of the back that sustains the injury.
Some of the most common types of back injuries that individuals may suffer in a workplace accident include:
- Vertebrae fractures
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
- Muscular contusions, sprains, and strains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Full or partial paralysis injuries
- Lacerations and bruising
If you suffered one or more of these back injuries in a recent work accident, you should receive all the medical treatment you need. A treating medical provider may also recommend that you follow up with additional providers, including orthopedists and other medical specialists.
By following through with all of this related treatment, you help your chances of obtaining a total monetary recovery and show the insurance company that your back injury is serious. Consequently, the insurance company may be more willing to offer you favorable monetary damages in your workers’ compensation or third-party personal injury cases.
On the other hand, failing to undergo continuous medical treatment for your injuries or skipping medical appointments can harm your claim. If an insurance company adjuster notices significant treatment gaps, they may dispute your workplace occurrence caused it.
Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits You May Recover for a Back Injury
Individuals who suffer a back injury while on the job and within the scope of their employment may be eligible to receive various types of benefits. These benefits are available through the State Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Some of the most common benefits that an injured worker may be eligible to recover for a back injury include:
- Compensation for related medical expenses to treat the back injury, including doctor bills, physical therapy expenses, and medical procedures, such as surgeries
- A portion of any income lost in the event the worker had to miss time from work due to their injuries – or to attend ongoing medical or physical therapy appointments
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits, if the accident victim suffers a debilitating back injury that prevents them from continuing with their current job or occupation
- Permanency benefits, if a medical provider determines, based on a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the injured worker suffered a back injury in their accident that is unlikely to get better with time
One of the most common types of permanency benefits that an injured worker may obtain is permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. These benefits are available for a certain number of weeks, depending upon the extent of the worker’s impairment.
In a workers’ compensation case, the extent of an injured worker’s impairment is subject to a medical provider’s determination. For example, a medical provider may determine that a worker suffered a 10 percent permanent impairment to their back due to their workplace occurrence. This percentage then translates into several weeks of monetary compensation.
When obtaining and maximizing the benefits you deserve, you should have a skilled workers’ compensation attorney on board at every stage of your case. Your lawyer can help you maximize your benefits and ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve due to your workplace back injury.
Types of Workers’ Comp Settlements in a Back-injury Case
In a workers’ compensation claim, there is no such thing as an average settlement. In fact, the settlement compensation that an injured worker receives will depend upon various factors, including the type of back injury that they suffered, the extent of their injury (and whether or not it is permanent), and the effects that the back injury has had on the individual’s ability to work in the future.
Several types of settlements may be available in a workers’ compensation claim. In one type of settlement, the injured worker and the employer’s insurance company might agree on a certain percentage of impairment.
This agreed-on percentage then translates into a certain number of weeks of compensation, which subsequently turns into monetary benefits after factoring in the worker’s average weekly income. These benefits are called the injured worker’s permanency award. If the parties cannot agree to settle their case in this way, they can take their case to a hearing for a determination on the matter.
A lump sum settlement is another type of workers’ compensation settlement in a back-injury case. In this scenario, the employer’s insurance company offers the injured worker a lump sum amount to fully and finally resolve their workers’ compensation claim.
However, with these types of settlements, the injured worker usually cannot reopen their claim at a later date, even if their back condition becomes worse. Therefore, before you accept a lump sum settlement offer from the insurance company, you want to make sure that the offer is a fair and reasonable amount to resolve your case. You also want to make sure that it is unlikely that you will need to undergo medical treatment for your back injury in the future.
A workers’ compensation attorney can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives to secure a full and fair settlement on your behalf. Your lawyer can also counsel you on whether to accept a lump sum settlement offer or continue pursuing your claim through the Workers’ Compensation System, given your circumstances.
Third-party Claims and Monetary Damages Stemming from Job Site Accidents
Because of the current workers’ compensation system in most states, injured workers usually cannot legally file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against their employer or their insurance company. This is true even if a negligent employer caused the injuries.
The Workers’ Compensation System exists to both benefit workers and protect employers from constant legal action for injuries. One rare exception is when an employer intentionally takes steps to cause an injury.
However, the workers’ compensation system does not prevent injured workers from suing anyone else responsible for their injuries. In some situations, a worker may file a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent person or entity other than their employer.
For example, if the injured worker suffered their back injury in a job-site accident that resulted from another driver’s negligence, they can often pursue monetary damages from the third party’s insurance company, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim with their employer’s insurer.
As part of a third-party claim, the injured worker must satisfy several legal elements to recover monetary damages. First, they must show that the third party owed them a legal duty of care they subsequently violated.
The injured worker must also demonstrate that as a direct result of this violation, the subject accident occurred and led to their back injury or other medical complication. These are the standard elements of a personal injury claim.
Through a third-party claim, an injured worker can recover monetary damages in addition to their compensation benefits. Those damages can include compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of use of a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability or disfigurement, and loss of spousal companionship. A third-party claim can also seek all of the workers’ lost income – not just the percentage that workers’ comp covers.
A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine if you can file a companion third-party personal injury case in addition to your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are eligible to move forward with a third-party claim, your lawyer can first resolve your workers’ compensation claim at a hearing – or via settlement. Your lawyer can then turn their attention to your third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Call a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Your Area Right Away
Extremely debilitating back injuries may lead to ongoing medical expenses and lost earnings. Therefore, if you suffered a back injury in a workplace accident, consult experienced legal counsel right away.
A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney near you can go over your legal options with you and pursue favorable settlement compensation in your case.
If your employer’s insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly, your personal injury attorney in Orange County can represent you at a workers’ compensation hearing. Finally, your lawyer can determine your eligibility for filing a third-party personal injury claim and obtain a favorable monetary settlement or litigation result in that portion of your case. Your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on the most important thing, recovering from your injuries.