The back is often the part of the body that is most likely to be injured by physical labor because of the strain involved. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million employees suffer work-related back injuries each year. In fact, one in every five workplace injuries is to the back.
Back injuries can be painful and debilitating. They could even require multiple surgeries to correct if they can even be fixed at all. In the meantime, the injured worker incurs medical bills and cannot earn a living because they are missing time from work. When their injury is job-related, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits.
Why Back Injuries Occur
Back injuries on the job can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Physical activity that puts a strain on the back
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Inactivity from remaining in one place for too long
A majority of work-related back injuries come from lifting, and they happen to the lower back. Many of these injuries are more than just temporary. They could cause pain and require medical treatment. Even though employers are supposed to take steps to protect worker safety, especially when they are lifting, it does not always happen.
Types of Back Injuries That Could Allow Workers’ Compensation Claims
Back injuries can range from mild to more severe. Some common work-related back injuries include:
- Back sprains and strains
- Pinched nerves
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
Your workers’ compensation benefits will do two things:
- They will pay the medical costs associated with treating your injury (including surgery, medication, and the cost of therapy)
- They will pay for a portion of the wages that you would have earned had you been able to work
If you are unable to work again, you may be eligible for an upfront settlement, although that takes some effort to negotiate with the insurance company. It is crucial to settle your claim for the right amount because you will need this money to take care of you and your family in the future.
How Insurance Companies Make Back Injury Workers’ Compensation Claims Hard
One way that insurance companies can make these claims difficult is by disputing that your injury actually happened on the job. This is a common reason for denial. They will commonly claim that your injury was suffered elsewhere and not at work. They say that you have a pre-existing condition that has nothing to do with your job. Even if your job aggravated a prior injury, you may still be entitled to compensation. However, you will need evidence to tie your injury to work.
If that happens, you have the right to appeal. First, you should hire an experienced Orange County workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with the appeals process. They can speak with the insurance company to see if the dispute can be resolved. If not, your attorney can file an appeal with the Department of Workers’ Compensation. The insurance company does not have the last word on your claim.