Did You Injure Your Neck or Back at Work?
Get an attorney who can help you navigate the system
Among the most common injuries sustained in the workplace are injuries to the neck and back. Some are minor sprains and strains, but many have significant, even life-altering consequences for the injured worker. A permanent neck or back injury can cause chronic pain and limit your ability to do your job.
The workers’ compensation system protects California workers who sustain these injuries, but getting the treatment and compensation you need is often an uphill battle. A workers’ compensation lawyer at Robert A. McLaughlin, APC knows how to stand up for hardworking people who sustain neck and back injuries at work.
How neck and back injuries happen at work
Injuries to the neck and back are most common in jobs that involve physical labor, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and the trades, but they can happen in any workplace. Among the causes of back and neck injuries are:
- Slip and falls or falls from heights – the force of impact usually affects the skeletal system, and the back and spine often absorb the brunt of that force.
- Lifting heavy objects can cause muscles in the back to be sprained or strained.
- Sudden movements can cause strains or herniated discs.
- Work-related vehicle accidents can cause whiplash and other neck injuries or damage the back due to the force of the seat pressing on the torso.
Many neck and back injuries are caused by a single incident, but others are caused by cumulative muscular trauma – that is, the long-term damage of doing the same repetitive motions over and over again. Either way, the consequences of a back or neck injury can be significant. Many workers have chronic pain or weakness in the affected area, which can affect your ability to do your job as well as your quality of life. If the spinal cord is damaged, permanent paralysis can result.
Workers’ compensation should pay for the full cost of a back injury
If you sustain a back or neck injury on the job, workers’ compensation should pay for the full cost of medical treatment for the injury. That includes medication (such as pain medication), medical procedures (including surgery), physical therapy and any other reasonable and necessary treatment. It also includes medical devices and assistive technologies you may need because of a permanent disability.
In addition, if the injury affects your ability to do your job, you can qualify for temporary and permanent disability benefits to replace a portion of your lost income. For instance, pinched nerves or neck fracture can force you to stay home and rest. If you have to change careers due to a back injury, you may qualify for supplemental job displacement benefits (SJDB) to help pay for education, training and career services.
Compensation for your neck or back injury at work will depend on the specific details of your injury. An experienced attorney can review your claim and calculate an estimated sum.
Of course, when the cost of a back or neck injury is high, the insurance company has every reason to downplay your injuries or even deny your claim, especially if the injured happened over time instead of in a single incident. That’s why you need an advocate who knows the system.
How to prove your injury
It’s important to get checked by a doctor to diagnose your neck or back injury. After knowing the full extent of injuries, you can seek the proper treatment. This is very important to protect your health, but it also helps prove your injury for your workers’ compensation case.
The medical records from your doctor visits and treatments are pieces of evidence that show the date and extent of your injury. You need evidence like medical records to get a fair settlement for a neck injury at work.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help
Workers’ compensation insurance companies are notorious for their “nickel and dime” treatment of workers with neck and back injuries. They may dispute whether a particular medication is necessary or make you provide onerous levels of paperwork before they’ll approve your claim. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can be your guide and your advocate throughout the process. We will thoroughly investigate and document your accident, represent you throughout the claims process, and make sure you are prepared for hearings, appeals and any other steps necessary to get your benefits.
The key is to act fast. There are strict deadlines that apply to workers’ compensation claims, and we need time to investigate your injury and thoroughly document your claim. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better. If you’ve sustained a neck or back injury on the job, schedule your free case review with a San Diego workers’ compensation attorney.