How Much Does Workmans’ Comp Pay for a Back Injury?
Back injuries can lead to significant pain and the need for ongoing medical treatment. Moreover, a permanent back injury may cause an accident victim to experience debilitating pain for the rest of their life. As a result, medical bills can pile up quickly, leaving the accident victim unable to work for a significant amount of time following their work accident.
If you suffered a back injury in a recent workplace occurrence, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance company. In some circumstances, you may also file a third-party personal injury claim directly against a negligent individual or entity (through their insurance company) who negligently caused your workplace accident and brought about your back injury.
The amount of monetary benefits and damages you may recover through a workman’s compensation or third-party claim will likely depend on the severity of your back injury, the types of medical treatment you had to undergo, and the cost of that medical treatment. Therefore, the benefits and damages injured workers recover for their back injuries will likely vary significantly from case to case, depending on the circumstances.
One of the most important steps you can take to set you on the path to recovering favorable monetary compensation is to retain skilled legal counsel to represent you throughout your case. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer can thoroughly investigate your accident circumstances and determine your eligibility for filing a claim for benefits. If you can move forward, your attorney can assist you with all the necessary legal steps and help you recover the total benefits you deserve.
Your lawyer can also determine if you can file a third-party personal injury claim from your work accident. If you are, your attorney can file the necessary claim or lawsuit and pursue additional damages for your back injury.
At every stage of the proceedings, your lawyer can answer all of your legal questions, address your concerns, and help you make intelligent and informed decisions about your case. Your attorney can then help you execute those decisions to achieve the best possible result in your back-injury case.
Common Back Injuries that Workers May Suffer in a Serious Accident
Individuals who work in the building and construction industries are especially susceptible to back injuries while they are on the job. This is because these individuals have no choice but to work around heavy equipment and dangerous machinery on a daily basis.
Workers may also have to work from large and tall ladders and scaffolding, increasing their risk of falling and injuring their back. Office workers and other individuals who work indoors may also suffer a back injury in a slip and fall accident that occurs on the premises.
When a worker takes a fall and lands on their back, they may suffer several different types of injuries.
Some of the most common back injuries that workers may suffer while they are on the job include:
- Vertebrae fractures
- One or more pinched nerves
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severed spinal column
- Full or partial paralysis
- Bruises and open lacerations
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
If you suffered any of these back injuries in a recent workplace occurrence, you should get the medical treatment you need right away. Otherwise, your back injury is likely to become significantly worse over time. Moreover, if you significantly delay your medical treatment or fail to treat continuously for your workplace injuries, insurance company adjusters may become skeptical and refuse to offer you significant monetary compensation for your back injury.
For your best chance of completely recovering, you should follow your medical provider’s treatment recommendations and refrain from discharging yourself from a medical facility. You must also speak with a workers’ compensation attorney in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can explore all of your legal options and file a successful claim in your case.
Can I File a Comp Claim for My Workplace Back Injury?
Unlike third-party personal injury claims, workers’ compensation claims are no-fault-based claims. Therefore, if an individual suffers a back injury in a workplace occurrence, they may recover benefits without regard to how the incident occurred and who caused it. Instead, the injured worker need only establish that they suffered their back injury while on the job and while performing a job function or duty.
In addition, workers’ compensation benefits are only available to employees – or individuals who receive a W-2 form at the end of the tax year. They are not ordinarily available to individuals who work for others as independent contractors.
Moreover, if a worker suffers a back injury while traveling to or from work, such as in a motor vehicle crash, they ordinarily cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries they suffer in that accident.
A workers’ compensation attorney in your area can determine your eligibility for filing a claim. If you can move forward, your attorney can assist you with every step of the process and work efficiently to obtain favorable results in your back-injury case.
Potential Benefits You May Recover for a Back Injury
The types and amounts of monetary benefits you can recover in a workers’ compensation back injury case will depend upon various factors.
Those factors typically include:
- The nature and extent of the back injury you suffered
- Whether or not your back injury is permanent and unlikely to get better over time
- The total cost of your medical treatment
- The amount of time that you needed to miss from work to recover from your back injury
- Whether or not you can continue with your current job following your back injury
First, an injured worker may be eligible to recover compensation for all of their related medical expenses. Those expenses may include the costs associated with primary care doctor visits, medical consultations, medical procedures, and ongoing physical therapy sessions, including sessions with a chiropractor. In addition, if the injured worker had to miss time from work, they can recover a portion of their lost income as part of their workers’ compensation claim.
Next, if the injured worker cannot continue with their current job or occupation, they can bring a claim for vocational rehabilitation benefits. The purpose of these benefits is to help injured workers get back on their feet and obtain gainful employment.
Finally, if the worker suffered a permanent back injury, according to a qualified medical provider’s report, they may recover permanency benefits.
One type of permanency award is called a PPD award or permanent partial disability benefit. To recover this type of benefit, a medical provider will first need to state, based upon a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the worker suffered a permanent back injury in their workplace accident.
The provider will then establish a permanency rating in the case. For example, they may believe that the worker suffered a 10 percent permanent impairment to their back as a direct result of their workplace accident. This percentage will then translate into a certain number of weeks of monetary benefits for the accident victim.
The types and amounts of workers’ compensation benefits an injured worker may recover will vary from case to case. To increase your chances of maximizing the benefits you recover, you should retain qualified legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible in your case. Your attorney can file a claim for benefits as soon as possible and aggressively fight for your legal interests throughout your case.
Potential Third-party Personal Injury Claims in Back Injury Cases
In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits following a back injury, an injured worker may also have a basis for a third-party personal injury claim. A worker can bring a third-party claim against a negligent individual or entity who caused the accident. However, to recover these monetary damages, the injured worker must first establish their legal burden of proof.
First, they must demonstrate that the other party violated their legal duty of care by acting unreasonably under the circumstances. The injured worker must also show that as a direct result of this negligence, both the accident and their back injury subsequently resulted.
As part of a third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit, an injured worker can recover additional damages over and above the workers’ compensation benefits they already recovered. Those damages may include monetary compensation for their related inconvenience, pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, loss of spousal companionship, permanent loss of use of a body part, permanent disability or disfigurement, mental distress, and emotional anguish.
Your attorney can help you file a third-party claim arising from your workplace accident if you are eligible. Your lawyer can also aggressively fight for your legal interests by negotiating with the third-party insurance carrier in your case to maximize the settlement compensation you ultimately recover.
If the insurance company does not increase its offer significantly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and successfully pursue your case through the court system.
Litigating a work injury case in civil court may include any of the following:
- Completing the oral and written portions of the discovery process, including answering written Interrogatories, exchanging various documents, and testifying at a discovery deposition
- Attending all pretrial and settlement conferences that the court schedules
- Taking the case to a litigation proceeding, such as a civil jury trial, mediation session, or binding arbitration proceeding
If you fail to consult with a work injury attorney, you might never know your rights to file a third-party claim, reducing your overall financial recovery. Put yourself and your family in the best possible position by seeking a legal consultation immediately.
Call an Experienced Workmans’ Comp Attorney Today
If you recently sustained a back injury in a workplace accident, you should have a strong workmans’ comp attorney on board in your case right away. In general, the sooner you retain experienced legal counsel to assist you with the various steps of your workers’ compensation case, the higher your chances of recovering the full benefits (and potentially third-party damages) that you deserve to recover in your case.
Your lawyer can first file a timely claim on your behalf, pursue a settlement agreement, or take your case to a workers’ compensation hearing. In addition, your lawyer can determine if you can pursue a third-party claim and, if so, file the necessary claim/lawsuit and achieve a successful result promptly and efficiently.
Most importantly, your personal injury attorney in Orange County can do all this for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries, all the while giving you peace of mind that you have given yourself the best possible chance to make your life whole again.