Whether a job requires constant lifting, walking, standing, or even sitting, these daily routines can lead to substantial back injuries. Although industries such as nursing and construction are known for causing these problems, they can occur in practically any work environment. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that close to 20 percent of all workplace illnesses and injuries are related to back injuries.
A main cause of back injuries is improper lifting techniques. When a heavy object is picked up or carried incorrectly, the force can cause a painful pulled muscle, a sprain, pinched nerves, or herniated discs. Employees that spend time rotating or twisting their spines are also at risk. Even inactive jobs can lead to injuries; workers that sit at desks or drive for extended periods without proper back support or poor posture can also end up with back pain. Other reasons for job-related back injuries include constant repetitive motions, such as pushing, pulling and loading; employees that are older, overweight, or in poor physical shape may be at a higher risk.
Workers’ Compensation for Back Injuries
Employees with work-related back injuries may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits to cover medical bills, treatment, and lost wages. Understanding what to do when a back injury occurs at work can help with the claims process. If the injury happens suddenly, it is essential to seek medical attention right away. A supervisor should be informed immediately, and a medical professional or ambulance should be contacted, if needed. Any delays in seeking treatment can worsen the injury and could also be used against the employee later. The incident should be reported to the employer, with specific details such as the date and time, where it occurred, and when the pain was felt.
The Claims Process
Back injury claims can be hard to prove, and employers and insurance carriers often dispute them. Once it is reported, the employee will likely receive a list that shows who the Workers’ Compensation insurance representative is, along with a list with employer-approved physicians. Employees should also seek second opinions from their own physicians. In some cases, the insurance carrier will ask the employee to have an Independent Medical Exam.
The benefits do not cover full wages, and employees will not receive compensation for their pain and suffering. If the injury causes permanent disability, the worker may be able to receive a settlement that would provide for future lost wages. Once a claim is made, the employee cannot file a lawsuit against their employer.
There are cases where employees institute third-party injury claims, and these can provide larger compensation. It must be proven that the third party exhibited a wanton disregard for the worker’s safety or gross negligence. Basic negligence is usually not sufficient for a third-party lawsuit. Employers and employees should take care to ensure that safety rules are always adhered to prevent back injuries. Companies are responsible to protect all employees from workplace injuries wherever employees must perform their jobs.
Vineland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Injured Workers Obtain the Compensation They Deserve
If you have a work-related back injury and need trusted legal guidance with a claim, contact the Vineland Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law. We will fight to obtain the benefits you deserve for your injuries. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Vineland, Mt. Holly, and Camden County. Call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online form for a free case evaluation today.