Back injuries are common across all types of jobs in the United States. About half of all workers suffer from some level of back pain. The cause of this pain varies depending on the type of job you have, but generally speaking, more workers today sit work, which puts extra stress on the back.
Back injuries have a direct impact on the economy, costing around $15 billion in medical care and lost productivity each year. That is a significant economic impact traceable directly to the back injuries that you and others like you suffer at work every day.
What part of that $15 billion in costs is attributable to your injury? And what portion of that money should you expect to receive in the form of workers’ compensation benefits? A skilled and experienced Nevada workers’ compensation attorney can help you find out.
Common Back Injuries
Back injuries vary greatly and are caused by many different types of activities. Common back injuries include:
- Back strains – Back strains are the most common cause of back pain in the United States. This injury happens when you stretch your muscles too far. In extreme cases, this could cause a tear in your muscle fibers. While back strains are minor injuries requiring only rest and some pain medication, they do cause significant pain to the victim.
- Herniated disc – A herniated disc is when the inner cartilage of a spinal disc pushes through the disc’s outer layer, putting pressure on nerves in your spine. This can result in numbing pain or excruciating pain.
- Fractured vertebrae – A fractured vertebrae usually results from some type of impact to the body, such as a fall on a hard surface. This type of injury can lead to severe secondary complications, including spinal cord injuries (see below).
- Spinal cord injuries – Damage to the spinal cord interrupts the transmission of signals from the brain to the body, frequently leading to long-lasting or permanent weakness, numbness, or paralysis (not to mention huge, unexpected expenses).
If you or a loved one has suffered any type of back injury at work, you must seek appropriate medical attention right away. Not only does seeking immediate care protect your health, it also protects your legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
Back Injury Symptoms and Causes
Knowing the symptoms and causes of a back injury helps to tell you when to seek medical attention. Common symptoms of a back injury include:
- Pain in any part of the back.
- Inability to sit, stand, turn at the waist, or walk without pain or discomfort.
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the back, legs, or arms.
If you experience any of these symptoms after an incident or accident at work, notify your employer and seek immediate medical attention from a doctor approved by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance administrator. Numbness, weakness, or tingling, especially, could constitute signs of a significant and potentially life-altering injury.
How Much Is My Workers’ Comp Back Injury Claim Worth?
To start, your at-work back injury claim is worth nothing if you do not take the necessary steps to protect your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In Nevada, you must seek appropriate medical care immediately and notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible (within no more than seven days) by filling out, signing, and giving to your employer a Form C-1, Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease—Incident Report. Your workers’ comp lawyer can help you complete that form.
Assuming you follow those initial steps, you will have a potential workers’ compensation claim. How much that claim is worth depends upon the nature of your injury and how long it may keep you out of work.
Generally, Nevada workers’ compensation benefits can include:
- The cost of medical treatment;
- Lost time compensation – Temporary Total Disability/Temporary Partial Disability (TTD/TPD); Permanent Partial Disability (PPD);
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD);
- Vocational Rehabilitation;
- Dependent’s payments in the event of death; and
- Other claims-related benefits or expenses (i.e., mileage reimbursement).
Filing a Claim and Receiving Your Benefits
To receive your benefits, you must file a workers’ compensation claim. You do this by filling out, signing, and filing a Form C-4, Employee’s Claim for Compensation/Report of Initial Treatment. A medical provider gives you this form when you receive treatment for your back injury.
You must make sure this claim form has been filed within 90 days.
Keep in mind that how you describe your injury in the claim form will affect your legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits, including payments for medical care, reimbursement for missed pay, and access to disability payments.
Frequently, injured Nevada workers fail to include important information in a workers’ compensation claim that could strengthen their case for maximum benefits. That is why, when possible, we encourage workers who suffer a severe back injury at work to seek the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before filing a claim, especially when the injury has left them incapacitated.
A lawyer can help an injured work file a claim that ensures the workers’ compensation carrier receives all pertinent information supporting a claim for maximum benefits.
Of course, some workers who sustain back injuries, for completely understandable reasons, go ahead and file a workers’ compensation claim on their own. Hopefully, the workers’ compensation insurer will approve the claim and grant maximum benefits. If the carrier denies the claim partially or totally, however, then we encourage the injured worker to seek our help.
Even after an initial claim has been denied, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help a worker file a strong appeal for the reversal of the initial decision. In our experience, an injured worker should never try to navigate the appeals process alone.
No one can predict what a workers’ compensation back injury is “worth.” However, we can tell you, from years of representing clients who sustain serious back injuries on the job, that having a lawyer help you file a claim and/or pursue an appeal is the best way to improve your chances of receiving the maximum workers’ compensation benefits allowable for your injury.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101