How To Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement for Your Back Injury
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries made up 38.5% of all musculoskeletal injuries sustained on the job in 2016. Nurses, industrial laborers, retail workers and repair workers showed the greatest risk of developing such an injury. However, any worker may suffer back injuries after an accident or repetitive heavy lifting. If you sustain an injury by these or other means, an experienced attorney can help you complete a workers’ comp settlement back injury claim. If successful, you may then receive compensation for your injuries.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
Workers’ compensation settlements refer to the money injured workers receive from the insurance company or other liable party. There are several different ways that successful workers’ comp settlement cases may pan out. The insurance company may offer a settlement, which you can accept or refuse. You may also negotiate a settlement outside of court or pursue a trial. You may then receive compensation as one lump-sum payment or as structured payments.
How Do Attorneys Estimate the Workers’ Comp Settlement Amount?
When your attorney advises you to reject the offer from the insurance company, it is because the figure does not take into consideration all that your injuries may cost you in the long run. This may include pain and suffering and the economic effects of long-term disability. These are some of the factors attorneys use when deciding what your workers’ compensation back injury settlement should look like:
- Applicable workers’ compensation rules and regulations
- Local average workers’ comp settlement for back injury
- Current and likely future costs of your medical injuries
- Ongoing disability payments
- Strength of your case
- Legal fees
What Work-Related Factors Contribute To Back Injuries?
Some back injuries occur immediately, such as when someone falls from the second story of a construction site. However, other back injuries may take time to develop. When back injuries result from repetitive motions or non-accident incidents, the worker may face additional pressure to prove the injury occurred at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration identifies the following potential work-related causes:
- Repetitive lifting of heavy or awkward items, such as patients or equipment
- Maintaining an unnatural or bent posture for sustained periods
- Standing or remaining in a position for too long
- Exposure to vibrations from large vehicles or machinery
- Lack of ergonomic work areas
- Slippery floors
How Do Injured Parties Get Workers’ Compensation for Back Injuries?
Every case is different, so before giving recommendations, a good attorney reviews all the details of your case. Because of this, only your attorney can advise you on how to most effectively pursue a workers’ compensation case for your injuries. Here are general steps you may take.
1. Seek Medical Treatment
If you suffered an accident at work, seek medical attention as soon as possible. For cases where the injury developed over time, go to a doctor as soon as you begin to recognize symptoms. Your doctor may ask you questions about your job. Ensure that you explain the physical demands of your employment.
Many people turn down an offer to call an ambulance or decide to wait a few days to see how the injuries pan out. Avoid doing this. You may only jeopardize your case. The insurance company may use a refusal or delay to argue you did not receive your injury at work.
2. Provide a Thorough Report
If you suffered serious injuries, you may not have the opportunity to report the accident at the time it happens. This is especially likely if you lost consciousness or you were immediately transported to a medical facility. However, as soon as you are able to do so, report your injury to your employer or the immediate supervisor. Never just assume your manager filed a report because he or she was present at the scene. Follow up to ensure the person completed the report and ask for a copy.
An experienced attorney can advise you on how best to describe your injuries. This is important because some states do not cover back injuries that result from repetitive motions. In these states, how you phrase your injuries may be the difference between a high compensation and a case dismissal.
3. Re-Explain Your Case for Medical Examinations
If you have pre-existing conditions or you are an older person, doctors may assume that your back injures did not occur at work. To counteract this, always explain that your injuries are work-related. Mention this at every appointment even if you are seeing the same doctor regularly. Doctors see several patients every day and may not remember the details of each. They may also not have the time to review your full file beyond current injuries and treatments.
How the doctor phrases remarks in your file can affect your case. Your doctor may also make assumptions that the injuries relate from age-related deterioration when treating you, which could also make its way into your file and damage your case.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
If you decide that you prefer a settlement, you need to speak with an attorney to determine what the final figure should look like. You may have a friend who suffered a similar accident and received a certain amount of money, but no two cases are alike.
If negotiations fail, you may need to proceed with a trial. However, this depends on your work contract and the laws in your state. Your attorney will review these laws with you to determine what your options are.
When Should Injured Workers Work With an Experienced, Local Lawyer?
When insurance companies go to court, they have the resources necessary to hire a team of investigators and lawyers. As an injured worker, you may not have the resources to do the same. Hiring an attorney helps you level the playing field so that you can exhaust every legal option available to you. Without legal representation, insurance companies may use the upper hand to take advantage of you in the name of preserving profits.
Would you like us to match you with an experienced workers’ comp attorney? Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced attorney in your area!