Workplace back injuries are more common than any other type of on-the-job injury. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 38.5 percent of the musculoskeletal workplace injuries impact the back.
This is a significant threat, so you should understand how to protect yourself if you suffer a back injury at work.
What Steps Should You Take after a Workplace Back Injury?
If you suffer a back injury while you are on the job, you should immediately file a report with your supervisor. If you are seriously injured, you should seek medical attention before you concern yourself with the administrative details.
Even if you are not certain if you are hurt, you should make sure that a report has been filed because symptoms may develop later. Plus, if the incident has been reported, your employer may be able to take steps to address a safety hazard.
You should definitely get checked out by doctor if you suffer a workplace back injury. Your employer may agree to pay for a visit to a particular doctor, and you should go to another doctor to get a second opinion if you believe that it is necessary.
When you speak with your doctor, you should be upfront about any preexisting condition you may have because this is relevant information.
After getting the treatment you need, you have the right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. At this point, you should schedule a consultation with a lawyer who handles these cases. Legal counsel can be invaluable when you are trying to navigate the claims process.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
Workers’ Compensation insurance will cover the cost of the medical care that you are receiving as a result of your work-related injury. In most states, you can receive a replacement of lost wages benefit for temporary total disability for the period during which you cannot work. The benefit is about 66 percent of your actual salary up to a certain maximum dollar amount.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Disability
There are essentially four different categories to which your case can be assigned if you suffer a back injury on the job and you lose time at work. There is temporary total disability, which is self-explanatory. This is when you cannot go to work at all, but you will be able to return eventually.
Temporary partial disability is another category. If you are in this position, you can complete some of the tasks that are part of your job description, but not all of them.
There is also permanent total disability that renders you unable to work for your former employer or any other employer. The final category is permanent partial disability.
When your doctor determines that you have reached the maximum medical improvement point, a determination will be made about your disability status.
Can You File a Personal Injury Suit Against Your Employer?
You cannot sue your employer for general compensatory damages if you are injured on the job because of an act of their negligence. These are non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.
As stated, the Workers’ Compensation insurance will cover lost wages and medical bills, and these would fall under the category of special compensatory damages in a civil matter.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and this applies to injuries that have been sustained on the job. You can potentially file a third-party lawsuit if you are injured in a products liability situation.
If you simply assume that you do not have a case because employers cannot be sued in workplace injury situations, you may be mistaken. You should discuss the matter with a lawyer before you make any final decisions.
There is something you should understand about third-party lawsuits in workplace situations. You may file a Workers’ Compensation claim initially before you decide that you want to file a civil action against a third party.
Under these circumstances, the Workers’ Compensation insurance company would pay for your medical expenses, and they will provide compensation for lost wages. When you accept the Workers’ Compensation benefits, you are essentially forgoing the right initiate a civil action.
The insurance carrier would have a subrogation interest in your settlement or judgment if you file a lawsuit. They would put a lien on the recovery to receive reimbursement.
This does not mean that filing a civil lawsuit is never going to be the right approach, but it will depend on the extent of the damages that you can expect to collect.
What Is the Monetary Impact of Workplace Injuries?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that there are more than a million back injuries suffered in American workplaces on an annual basis. On a physical level, the impact is self-evident, and there are some very significant monetary losses.
According to the National Safety Council website, workplace injuries cost $171 billion in 2019, and almost 40 percent of the incidents were back injuries. A total of 70 million days of work were lost as a result of on-the-job injuries during that year.
How Do You Prevent Back Injuries?
There are some steps that you can take to limit your exposure to back problems on and off the job. When you try to keep yourself healthy, you become less vulnerable to injuries of all kinds.
Exercise is key, and there are specific exercises that you can do to strengthen your core, which will support your back. The practice of yoga is very effective on a number of different levels, and it helps you strengthen the muscles that stabilize the vertebrae.
Physical activity will help you maintain a healthy weight, and this is another important component if you want to avoid back injuries. In addition to its other dangers, smoking is a significant risk factor for back pain because it contributes to disk degeneration.
Lower back pain is common among employees who work at desks, and there are specific exercises that you can do to loosen up your back when it feels tight. You should try to maintain the correct posture, and your chair should provide sufficient support.
If your job involves lifting heavy objects, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. You should take a moment to decide on the best way to position yourself before you act.
Your feet should be squared up with your shoulders so you are well-balanced, and you should always bend your knees to take pressure off your back. Use your leg muscles to do most of the work, and always ask for help if you need it.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims Recover from Back Injuries
Your back is the foundation of your body, and an injury can have a sweeping negative impact on your quality of life. If you or a loved one has injured their back in a work-related accident, the experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC are available to assist. We will explain your rights, as well as help you receive the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients in Dover, Newark, and Middletown.