Those who are injured as a result of performing their work duties are often eligible to receive worker’s compensation benefits. Because there are certain requirements that must be met, it can be advisable for those suffering from such an injury to obtain the services of an attorney who has knowledge and experience in worker’s compensation, especially when it comes to injury of the neck or the back. There are many causes of pain and injury in the workplace related to the neck and the back. Additionally, compensation should take into account not only the current needs of the injured worker, but future concerns related to the injury.
How Neck and Back Injuries Happen in the Workplace
Just as there are dozens of occupations that put one at a greater risk for developing a neck or back injury while on the job, there are many different ways in which one may become injured in the first place. Injuries may happen quickly, or they may occur from repetitive stress on joints, muscles, tendons, or other structures that comprise the back and neck region. An acute injury may heal promptly, with a minimum amount of lost time from work. Chronic injuries are those that last and can cause limitations on future employment.
One may become injured on the job due to an accident. This could be due to a fall or from a mishap with machinery or a falling object. Additionally, if one must travel for work, a collision may also result in a back or neck injury that could be eligible for worker’s compensation.
Many injuries that occur while on the job are due to overuse of the neck or back. This category includes injuries that happen from repetitive movements. Sprains and strains can occur from overuse or strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting. Repetitive motions, such as bending or twisting of the spine may also put too much stress on bones, joints, and ligaments, resulting in injury. There is an increased risk of the neck or back becoming injured on the job if one does not know how to use proper movements to get the job done safely and effectively. For example, bending and lifting at the same time continues to be a factor in many of these types of injuries. Continued stress on ligaments in the spine may also lead to degeneration of the discs.
Common Types of Back and Neck Injuries
The University of Maryland’s Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability & Risk notes that more than 1 million people every year experience a back or neck injury during the scope of their employment. This accounts for about one in five of every worker’s compensation claim in the United States. Upon further investigation, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined that nursing and laborer occupations account for more than 15% of those cases. Some of the common neck and back injuries sustained by those who work include, but are not limited to, disc injuries, whiplash, strains, and sprains. In fact, these types of injuries appear to be more common than broken bones.
What to Do When Injured on the Job
Those who are injured on the job should obtain the necessary first aid or medical treatment first. While further care may be necessary, getting the condition stabilized should be the first order of business for anyone who is hurt. Injured individuals must notify their employers of the injury. Some employers require the completion of an incident form or other paperwork prior to filing a worker’s compensation claim. In most cases, the injured employee will have 30 days to notify the employer in writing of the incident.
Injured personnel may be required to complete and submit the appropriate forms for worker’s compensation. One might be required to see a specific physician or care network while receiving treatment. It is important to follow the physician’s orders precisely to be eligible for benefits should it be necessary. The injured party may be required to attend worker’s compensation hearings regarding the injury and potential benefits.
When to Contact an Attorney
While most minor worker’s compensation claims can be handled directly without problems, it might be necessary to obtain the assistance of a qualified lawyer to help one to obtain rightful benefits under the law. While it is difficult to determine every single scenario in which one might need legal help, there are a couple of general situations in which it could be necessary to hire an attorney.
The Approved Claim Is Not Sufficient
If the approved compensation does not cover the costs of the injury, including future concerns, a lawyer might be necessary. This is especially true if one is unable to return to work.
Many insurance companies will try to give the least amount of money for a worker’s compensation claim. They know that a claimant without an attorney is easier to settle at a lower amount than one that retains a worker’s compensation attorney.
The Claim Is Denied
If an individual’s claim is denied, an appeals process is available for workers who feel they were denied unjustly. An attorney can help the injured worker to navigate through this complicated process.
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