Workers' Compensation for Those Suffering from Lower Back Pain Caused by the Job
Lower back pain is serious business, and oftentimes the workplace can be the cause. In fact, back injuries are among the most common workplace injuries, and are a leading cause of missing work.
Back injuries can be "specific"--caused by a certain incident, or "cumulative"--trauma that occurs over time. Workers' Compensation for lower back injuries can be achieved with the help of an experienced attorney who can help ensure the employee receives the full range of benefits available.
Types of Back Injuries Related to Work
Your back is crucial to your overall functioning, so when it is injured in any way, the impact can be substantial. Some of the most common back injuries caused by work include the following:
- Sciatica—pain that affects the back, hip and outer side of the leg, which is caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back.
- Spinal Stenosis—a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the nerves throughout the spine.
- Lumbar strains and sprains—these are among the most common causes of lower back pain, injuring the tendons and/or muscles of the lower back.
- Compressed, bulging, or herniated discs—the body's discs cushion the vertebrae from trauma. When they are injured in any of these three ways, they can press into a nerve, causing irritation, which increases pain and often leads to sciatica.
Employees whose jobs require physical labor, such as factory and construction workers and those in the healthcare industry, are at risk for accidents as well as injuries caused by repetitive motion. But those whose jobs are mainly sedentary can also be injured on the job. Take long-haul truckers, for instance, who spend hours on end sitting, and not using their back muscles, only to have to unload heavy cargo once they arrive at their destination. Even office workers can hurt their backs from sitting for hours with pour posture.
Common Ways to Injure Your Back On the Job
There are myriad ways workers can hurt their backs on the job, the most common being among the following:
- Slip and falls
- Falling from a height
- Pushing or pulling
- Vehicle accidents
- Prolonged sitting in a non-ergonomically correct chair
Proving Your Back Pain Is Work-RelatedIn order to recover Workers' Compensation benefits, you must prove that your pain is work-related. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an average payout for a back injury at work; each case is different. An injury is usually considered as such if you were doing something to benefit your employer when the incident occurred. The injury doesn't have to had occurred at your worksite, but it must have taken place during the course of employment. There are ways to prove that your back injury is work-related, including the following:
- Signed doctors' notes outlining your diagnosis and that your back injury is related to your job.
- Statements from co-workers who saw the accident occur or are knowledgeable about the repetitive nature of your job.
- Security footage of the accident occurring, thus proving it was work-related.
- Prescriptions and treatment plans provided by your doctor.
There are various types of back injuries; those that are caused by a specific work-related event are relatively cut and dry in terms of Workers' Compensation benefits. But those injuries caused by repetitive motions causing stress and strain are more difficult to prove as being caused by work since they appear over time, making it difficult to connect the dots in terms of the cause. Examples include numbness or tingling, aching muscles or pain radiating down the leg.
Keep in mind, there is no such thing as an average Workers' Compensation settlement for a back injury, as each case is different and dealt with on its own merits.
Professional Help Can Make a Huge Difference
An experienced Workers' Compensation attorney can help injured workers suffering from back pain receive the full range of benefits to which they are entitled. The attorneys at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP have spent decades representing injured workers, including many suffering from back pain requiring herniated disc surgery and spinal fusion, and lumbar strain relief. A knowledgeable and thoughtful legal strategy can go a long way toward a successful outcome.