WHAT ABOUT BACK INJURIES?
Back injuries without a clear accidental cause, many specific occupational diseases, and other work-related conditions can also be covered under workers’ compensation. Each of these conditions has special rules that determine whether the employer or insurance company will have to pay for medical treatment, time out of work, and permanent injury.
Back injuries happen all too often. When an employee engages in heavy lifting as a regular part of his or her job and has an injury, there may not have been an unusual event that caused the injury. Fortunately injured workers only have to show “a specific traumatic incident” to the neck and back to prove that the injury was work-related. In other words, there has to be a trauma at a point in time that caused the injury, but no unusual event.
What are the causes and symptoms of a back injury?
Some back conditions can be “traumatic” or clearly brought on by one particular injury. More often than not however, back conditions are degenerative in nature, meaning they have been occurring gradually over time. With degenerative back conditions many people do not know they even have a degenerative condition because they do not have symptoms. It is only after an injury or work-related injury aggravates their pre-existing back condition that it then becomes a problem. It is as though the work related injury becomes the match that gets the fire going and the person starts to have symptoms. At that point, a person might feel pain extending into their legs or arms, numbness, tingling, or even have their legs give out on their own causing them to fall.
What treatment and resources are available to individuals who have suffered a back injury at work and their families?
Going to a primary care provider is a good place to start in addressing back pain. A person’s primary care doctor can make referrals for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine, to a spine specialist, physical therapist, or pain management specialist. If a person has undergone physical therapy and medication for a period of time and back pain persists a primary care provider can provide a referral to a spine specialist, oftentimes either an orthopaedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon. A spine specialist can help determine if surgery is a good option and provide suggestions for other options.
The financial impact on individuals who have suffered a back injury at work
Like all unexpected illnesses or injuries, a back injury at work can have devastating consequences for a person. The pain may make getting out of bed, let alone work, sometimes too much to handle on any given day. Without the ability to work pain-free, a person’s pay will suffer and they may get behind on their bills. The pain and lost wages comes at the worst possible time since a chronic back injury requires additional medical treatment and expense.
Please contact our back injury attorneys immediately if you or your family member has experienced a back injury at work. If you or your family member has suffered a back injury at work, it is important to seek help right away. Obtaining a prompt and thorough medical evaluation is essential to getting quality medical care and documenting symptoms in the event a lawsuit is filed. An investigation of the cause of the injury should be done as close to the occurrence of the incident as possible. Getting the facts is critical to holding negligent individuals responsible for causing a back injury. It is also important to act quickly because there are legal deadlines that may prevent you from filing a lawsuit if you wait too long. If you or a loved one has experienced a back injury at work, please contact us. We will help you and your loved one who has suffered a back injury at work recover and rebuild your lives.
Ralph’s Workers’ Compensation Case
For 14 years Ralph worked five or six days a week in a distribution warehouse, mostly driving a forklift. One day he got down from his forklift and shifted a wooden pallet. Immediately he felt a searing pain in his back. Not one to complain or make a scene, Ralph got back onto the forklift and kept working. The pain didn’t go away, and now and then it shot down his leg. But since he had just an hour left to work, Ralph figured he would get some ice or some pain reliever when he got home. He would get better after a couple of days. Ralph was no stranger to soreness after a long day at work.
Ralph didn’t tell anyone about his back pain. When it was time to leave, Ralph walked right by the bulletin board where a sign was posted: “REPORT ALL ACCIDENTS IMMEDIATELY,” along with others listing the number of days without an injury at his workplace and some notices that the company had posted about NC workers’ comp. Ralph passed the nurse’s office as he was leaving but he figured that he’d better get over to his son’s baseball game. When his supervisor yelled out, “Have a good weekend, Ralph!” in the parking lot, he just waved and slowly eased himself into his truck. READ MORE ABOUT RALPH’S WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE AND GET OUR TOP 10 TIPS FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS IN NORTH CAROLINA BY DOWNLOADING A FREE COPY OF WORKERS COMP 101 HERE.