Back injuries are some of the most problematic and common injuries in the U.S. From pulled muscles that are more of a nuisance than anything else to a serious and life-changing spinal cord injury; back injuries can take on many forms.
Employers are typically responsible for covering the necessary medical treatment if this injury occurs at work.
Workers’ compensation attorneys work to provide injured workers with benefits to cover their medical costs and any lost wages that they incur due to their injury. If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder what type of settlement you can receive for a back injury.
While knowing what to expect would be nice, giving a general or average amount for work-caused back injury compensation is hard. One reason for this is that all injuries are different. Additionally, people heal at different rates; some respond to treatment while others do not.
Even though valuing a back injury can be challenging without knowing the details, there is some information that can better help you understand your rights after this type of injury occurs and what factors are considered when valuing your claim.
If you have more questions about your workers’ compensation claim, contact us at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A.
Common On-the-Job Back Injuries
Even if you have not experienced a back injury, you may have dealt with some type of back pain in the past.
One reason for this is that the back is a delicate and complex structure made up of bones, muscles, and ligaments. Back pain is often the result of how these different components interact with one another.
Your back is made up of 24 bones that are interspersed with shock-absorbing discs that work to cushion the bones and allow the spine to bend. There are also tendons, ligaments, nerves, and muscles throughout your spine. The spinal cord is what transmits the nerve signals from your brain to the remainder of your body.
Not only is your back delicate, but it is also a huge part of your day-to-day functioning. Some of the most common work-related back injuries that occur include the following:
This type of widespread back injury causes pain along the sciatic nerve, which follows down one or both of your legs from your lower back. Usually, this occurs when a bone spur or herniated disc presses into a nerve.
This injury occurs when the spinal canal or passage narrows. It puts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves, usually in the low back and around the lumbar region. It is typically caused by age-related wear and tear.
Sprains, Strains, and Lumbar Fractures
These are some of the most common back injuries that occur today. If you experience a work-related accident or a fall at work, it can cause an injury or damage to your lower back. The extent of the injury determines the amount of financial compensation you can recover.
In some situations, a workers’ compensation claim for a strain or sprain can also lead to a claim to receive temporary total disability. This may occur if the injury or pain caused by the accident makes it impossible for you to return to work or move easily.
Herniated, Degenerative, or Bulging Discs
These are common causes of all types of back injuries. The discs present in your spine serve as shock absorbers and help to cushion your vertebrae from potential trauma. If a disc is squeezed with enough force or at the wrong angle, it may squeeze through and bulge out from the protective covering. This is called a herniated disc.
A bulging, herniated, or compressed disk may start to press into a nerve, which causes irritation, pain, and sometimes, sciatica.
Common Causes of Work-Related Back Injuries
Many work-related back injuries are caused by some type of overexertion while lifting or lowering items. These actions cause serious back problems or impairment in many cases.
Some of the other types of workplace accidents that can lead to back injuries include the following:
- Operating heavy equipment
- Manual labor
- Driving long distances
- Repetitive tasks
What Is Considered When Determining the Value of Your Back Injury Settlement?
The value of your work-related back injury settlement is determined by considering a few factors. These factors include the following:
Severity and Type of Back Injury
The severity and nature of your back injury greatly impact the amount of compensation you can receive. Usually, injuries to the spinal cord are more severe than other types of back injuries, like soft tissue damage or sprains. Because of this, they usually come with more compensation. Additionally, the more severe your injuries are, the more time off work you will likely need, and you may have to be on disability for longer amounts of time.
Ability to Return to Work
Another factor considered is if you can return to work or not. If the injury makes it impossible for you to return to work and earn an income, then this will be factored into the injury settlement you receive. Usually, the more time you must spend away from work, the higher your settlement will be.
Any bills or ongoing medical costs related to an on-the-job injury will be factored into the settlement payout you receive. Costs that are often added to this include medications, rehabilitation, in-home care, physical therapy, time in the hospital, surgeries, and more.
If your back injury caused a disability, you might receive a higher settlement. If the injury left you with some type of permanent disability, then you would get more workers’ comp benefits.
These are just a few examples of the factors that can impact the value of your settlement. Each one is something you can talk to your workers compensation attorney about, and that will be considered when negotiating a settlement amount.
Types of Settlements Offered for At-Work Back Injuries
You can receive a few types of settlements for your back injury. These include:
Lump Sum Settlements
With this option, you get a one-time payment. It is usually the option if there is no dispute regarding if your claim is valid.
This is more common than the lump sum settlement. With this, the compromise settles a dispute between the insurance company and the employee regarding what amount of compensation is owed.
Let Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Help You Get the Benefits You Deserve
If you were injured on the job and have experienced a back injury, understanding what determines the value of your settlement can be helpful. Be sure to keep the information here in mind.
You can also contact our legal team at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. with any questions you have. We will work to help you receive the full benefits you are entitled to.
Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.