Your back is the foundation structure of your musculoskeletal system, and a focal point of just about all motility your body can experience. Your flexibility and range of motion depend on the strength of your back, the condition of your tendons and ligaments, and on the bony structures of your spinal column that protect your spinal cord, the communication conduit for your nervous system.
A back injury is seldom minor. Something as simple as a pinched nerve or a pulled muscle can cause months or more of chronic pain and limited range of motion. More serious back injuries, like herniated disks, or vertebral fractures, or spinal cord damage, can leave you incapacitated for days, weeks, or even an entire lifetime.
In this blog post, we discuss the challenges of back injuries sustained at work, and how much you might expect to receive for them through the workers’ compensation system.
Back Injuries Impair Your Ability to Work
Anyone who has suffered a back injury knows just how difficult it can make an average workday. Back injuries cause:
- Limited range of motion: This includes twisting, lifting your arms over your head, sitting fully upright, etc. The things you do in everyday life.
- Limited ability to do repetitive tasks or lift objects over 10lbs: If your livelihood depends on your ability to move or carry objects, this injury could mean you are no longer fit to work in this profession. That is pretty much every profession to some degree.
- Pinched or damaged nerve symptoms: This might result in a continual tingling sensation, nerve pain, or reduced sensation in extremities. If may become difficult to sit or stand for long periods of time, grasp objects reliably or comfortably, or move without pain or discomfort.
- Chronic shooting pain: This may result in a permanent disability or reduction in one’s ability to work or even care for oneself. In some cases, chronic pain could result in a dependence on opioids or other pain killers. Anti-inflammatory drugs used long-term can lead to kidney and/or liver failure as well, just for pain management.
- Paralysis: Partial or full, paralysis is a serious condition with life-changing consequences. Some forms of paralysis can affect your mobility temporarily, with a back injury that is treatable and recoverable. Other forms of paralysis may result in a permanent loss of function and sensation in your body.
Any of these symptoms can make working difficult, if not impossible.
How Much Should I Receive From Workers’ Comp for My Back Injury?
There is no single answer to that question. Every back injury is different, and the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive depends on the cost of medical care necessary to treat your injury, the “percentage” of disability your injury causes, and the amount of time you can expect to be unable to work because of your injury. As you can imagine, these factors vary widely from person-to-person.
Data is available, however, about the “average” workers’ compensation costs associated with back injuries, at least on a national scale. The National Safety Council (NSC), a non-profit organization, collects extensive data about workplace injuries, including workers’ compensation costs.
According to the NSC, the nationwide average workers’ compensation cost associated with an upper back injury—which is a combination of medical costs and “indemnity” (i.e., disability) benefits—was just over $32,000 (split more-or-less evenly between medical costs and disability payments). The nationwide average workers’ comp payout for a lower back injury was $36,608 (again, split more or less evenly between paying for medical care and paying disability benefits to the worker).
We caution, however, that you should not put too much stock in these numbers. The NSC’s data represents an average of all claims across the United States. The amount of money you should expect to receive as workers’ compensation benefits for your particular back injury may vary widely from that average. Speaking with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way to figure out the scope and type of benefits you should get for your workplace back injury.
Other Sources of Payment
Be aware, also, that workers’ compensation insurance benefits may not represent the only source of money available to help you pay for the costs and losses associated with your Las Vegas back injury. Your employer’s legal liability to you is, by and large, covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, third parties (someone other than your employer or coworkers) may have a legal liability to you for causing your workplace back injury. For example, if you sustained your back injury in a motor vehicle accident that happened while you were driving a delivery van for your employer, then if the other driver was “at fault” for the accident, that driver may have a legal liability to you.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Many workers find that the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits seems difficult and full of opportunities for making a mistake. One way to help ensure you receive the maximum benefits you deserve for your back injury is to work with an experienced Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorney who can help you prepare, pursue, and (if necessary) appeal a claim.
A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can also spot situations where you may have the right to take legal action against a third party for your back injury. If that is the case, then the attorney can investigate the case, prepare it, and file it in court.
You can wait too long to protect your legal rights to compensation. The clock is already ticking on your deadline to seek workers’ comp benefits, and to take legal action (if that option is available). To learn about your right to receive payments for your work-related back injury, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney without delay.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101