Back Injury at Work: Obtaining Workers’ Compensation for a Back Injury

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Suffering a back injury at work can be a painful and overwhelming experience, leaving you with discomfort, stress, and financial burdens due to medical expenses and lost wages. While workers’ compensation benefits can help alleviate these hardships, securing benefits for back injuries can be challenging. Since these injuries are often internal and not visible to the naked eye, your employer may suggest that your injury is not work-related. 

Our team of compassionate and accomplished attorneys have spent decades fighting for injured workers across Northwest Ohio. We will put our years of experience to work, providing you with top-notch legal guidance and sound representation during your fight for workers’ comp for a back injury. With offices in Toledo and Findlay, we have the resources needed to ensure a successful outcome for your case. To begin your free initial consultation with our team, consider contacting our office at (419) 350-8277 today. 

How Do Back Injuries at Work Happen?

Back injuries are incredibly common in the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than one million workers suffer from back injuries every year. Moreover, one-fourth of all compensation claims involve back injuries. Workers in a diverse range of industries are at risk of experiencing a back injury at work, with nursing assistants, laborers, and hand material movers making up the greatest percentage of back-related cases.

Work-related back injuries often occur due to falls, repetitive lifting, or direct blunt force to the back. Some of the most common causes of back injuries in the workplace include: 

  • Operating motor vehicles
  • Lifting heavy materials
  • Overhead work that requires reaching up with both arms, such as drilling or finishing drywall
  • Activities that cause vibration in the body, like driving a heavy-duty vehicle over rough terrain
  • Prolonged work in one position 

Back injuries can either be incidental—caused by a specific event—or cumulative, meaning they result from trauma that occurs over a long period of time. At first glance, it may seem that workplace back injuries only occur among workers whose jobs require physical labor. This is not the case, however, as workers whose jobs are mostly sedentary are also at risk for back injuries. For example, long-haul truck drivers or office workers may also experience back injuries due to long hours sitting. 

What Types of Back Injuries Can Happen at Work?

The back is made up of bones, muscles, vertebrae, tissue, and discs that support your spine—the structure that protects the essential bundle of nerves linking your brain to your body’s movements. While your spine is strong and flexible, it is not indestructible. When it is injured in any way, the impact can be major. The following are the most common types of back injuries that can happen at work: 

  • Sciatica: Pain, numbness, or weakness in the leg caused by pressure to the sciatic nerve. Individuals may experience sharp pain in one part of the hip or leg and numbness in other areas. 
  • Strains and sprains: These common injuries of the back happen when a muscle or tendon is twisted, pulled, or torn.
  • Compressed or herniated discs: The bones that make up your spine are cushioned by discs, which act as shock absorbers. When these discs are compressed or herniated in an injury, pain, weakness, and numbness may occur. 
  • Fractures: Severe trauma to the back, potentially from a fall or a motor vehicle accident, may cause vertebrae to fracture. In some situations, fractures can result in a limited range of motion or paralysis. 

What to Do if You Have a Back Injury From Work?

If you have been injured on the job, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Refusing treatment can have long-term impacts on your health and can also affect your ability to obtain workers’ comp for a back injury. Early documentation is key to identifying the extent of an injury and establishing a legal basis for your workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide financial relief for individuals who have sustained an injury on the job. If your back injury happened while you were performing work activities, then you may have a valid claim. 

The Ohio workers’ compensation system is unique in that there is both a state funded system alongside self insured claims. In either scenario, a first report of injury needs to be filed with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. This form can be submitted by you, your attorney, or your employer. 

How to Prove if You Have a Back Injury From Work?

It is the worker’s responsibility to prove that their back injury occurred as a result of their work activities. Gathering relevant evidence to build a strong case is essential to successfully obtaining workers’ comp for a back injury. Medical records are one of the most important pieces of evidence required to prove that you have a back injury from work. A medical professional should provide detailed documentation of your back injury, its cause, and the steps taken to treat the injury. 

Additional forms of evidence may be helpful for your case, including security footage of the incident or accident, if applicable. Collecting witness statements from coworkers and/or supervisors may also be beneficial to supporting your case. At Schaffer & Associates LPA, we take a strategic and comprehensive approach to proving the connection between our clients’ back injuries and a workplace activity. We will review the unique circumstances of your case and develop an approach that improves your chances of obtaining compensation for a back injury at work.

What Is a Typical Settlement Amount for a Back Injury at Work?

If your claim is approved, you can receive compensation for medical bills associated with your back injury as well as lost income from missed work. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may also receive Temporary or Permanent Total Disability Benefits, or Permanent Partial Disability Benefits. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may also be eligible for other types of benefits such as vocational rehabilitation or a scheduled loss award.

It is difficult to estimate the typical settlement amount for a back injury, as compensation varies depending on the unique factors of your claim. Generally, the settlement amount will increase depending on the severity, extent, and duration of your injury. Likewise, if you cannot return to work for a long period of time—or ever again—this lost income can be reflected in your settlement. It’s wise to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you determine if a settlement is in your best interest and if so, negotiate the highest dollar amount possible for your settlement.

How Can a Workplace Back Injury Lawyer Help You With Your Claim?

Although back injuries can be a common and debilitating work-related injury, securing the benefits you need and deserve can prove difficult. At Schaffer & Associates LPA, we zealously represent Ohio workers who have experienced a back injury at work. Our team of experienced attorneys are well-versed in workers’ compensation law and will stand with you to protect your rights during the process of obtaining workers’ comp for a back injury. We will fight to ensure that you receive the compensation and care you deserve. To discuss your next steps, consider scheduling a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys at (419) 350-8277 today.