Annually, over a million people suffer work-related back injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Fortunately, in most instances, these injured workers are eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
In New York, most employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance, which serves to cover scenarios precisely like this one – situations where an employee is incapacitated due to a work-related injury and requires financial assistance for medical expenses, lost income, and other financial losses.
Common work-related back injuries
Back injuries sustained on the job can cover a wide range, including:
Strained or sprained back muscles
These injuries occur when the muscles in the back are overexerted, leading to strain or sprain. Common causes include heavy lifting, sudden movements, or prolonged physical activity. The muscles may become stretched, torn, or damaged, causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Recovery often involves rest, physical therapy, and pain management.
Soft tissue back injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the back. These injuries can result from sudden twists, impacts, or repetitive strain. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and sometimes medication to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Herniated disc injuries
A herniated disc occurs when the soft, rubbery discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine bulge or rupture, causing pressure on nearby nerves. This can result in pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area. Treatment may involve rest, physical therapy, pain medication, and, in severe cases, surgery to alleviate pressure on the nerves.
Bone fractures in the vertebrae
Fractures in the bones of the spine (vertebrae) can result from high-impact accidents, falls, or significant force. These fractures can lead to severe pain, limited mobility, and even nerve damage. Treatment options range from conservative approaches such as rest and bracing to surgical interventions, depending on the severity of the fracture.
Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the delicate bundle of nerves within the spinal column. Partial or complete severing of these nerves can result in partial or total paralysis, affecting motor and sensory functions below the injury site. These injuries can have life-altering consequences and require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care to improve the quality of life for those affected.
Can you get a workers' comp settlement for a back injury?
In the event of a work-related back injury, the employer's workers' compensation insurance typically covers injury-related costs through a workers' compensation settlement. As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)), the average settlement for a back injury in workers' compensation ranges from $40,000 to $80,000.
However, it's critical to note that the average settlement doesn't universally apply to all cases. The amount individuals receive can vary significantly, influenced by various factors. Some workers might receive significantly more or less than the average sum, and this variation can be attributed to a multitude of considerations. That's why having an attorney by your side who can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve is essential.
Factors that can influence a workers' compensation settlement
Factors that can affect your workers' compensation back injury settlement include:
- The seriousness of your back injury: The severity of your back injury plays a significant role in determining your settlement. More severe injuries that cause significant impairment or disability often lead to larger settlements.
- Required medical treatments: The extent and nature of medical treatments necessary for your back injury influence the settlement. Extensive medical interventions may lead to a higher compensation amount.
- Hospitalization requirement: If hospitalization is required for your injury, it can impact the settlement. Hospital stays often involve higher medical costs, which are factored into the compensation.
- The need for back surgery: The necessity of back surgery can significantly affect the settlement. Surgical procedures often entail greater medical expenses and longer recovery periods.
- Follow-up medical treatments: The number of follow-up treatments required for your back injury influences the settlement amount. Ongoing medical care can result in higher compensation to cover long-term expenses.
- Time missed from work: If you need time off from work due to your injury, your compensation may cover lost wages during this period. The duration of time off can impact the settlement.
- Future ability to work: Your ability to work in the future, particularly if your back injury leads to permanent disability, is a crucial factor. If your injury hinders your capacity to work, especially in the long term, the settlement might be adjusted accordingly.
How a workers' compensation lawyer can help
When you sustain a work-related back injury in New York, even seemingly straightforward workers' compensation cases can become complex. This is where the knowledge and experience of a workers' compensation attorney become crucial.
At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, our attorneys have a proven track record of helping injured workers navigate the workers' compensation process. We understand the intricacies of New York's laws and regulations, and we're dedicated to ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Our team is committed to guiding you through the legal process, advocating for your rights, and helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Get the law firm that gets results in New York. Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.