How to Handle a Back Injury at the Workplace
Back injuries are common in the workplace. The human spine is complex, and even a minor injury can cause pain and limited mobility. Most reported back injuries occur in the manufacturing and construction industries but they're also common in other industries where physical activity takes place.
Lifting, pushing, pulling, falling or twisting can cause back injuries. The most common back injuries typically involve the cervical and lumbar spine, and often result in bulging or herniated discs.
Types of Back Injuries
Back injuries can vary widely. They typically cause pain and discomfort, with injury to the soft tissue in the spine. These injuries can be short-term or permanent. The level of pain depends on the nature and severity of the injury. Acute pain is typically temporary and can last up to six weeks before diminishing. Chronic pain however can last longer than six weeks and can sometimes be permanent.
What To Do If You Hurt Your Back at Work
Your first course of action should be to seek medical attention for your injuries. In a medical emergency, you should go to the emergency room. If you sustain an injury that is not an emergency, you should report it to your employer, file an injury report and ask about a workers' compensation claim, since medical treatment is generally directed by the workers' compensation insurance carrier.
Indeed, when a back injury occurs within the scope of your employment, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is insurance required for businesses who have regular employees. This insurance protects both the employer and employees in the event of injury. It provides a number of benefits, including payment for medical treatment and lost wages.
Be sure you keep records at all stages of the process, from your initial report to your employer, to your final medical discharge paperwork. Your course of treatment will be determined by the doctors who the workers' compensation insurance carrier sends you to. If you are deemed temporarily disabled by these doctors, you may be able to stay home and collect temporary disability payments in lieu of your normal wages.
Work With a Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Insurance companies are looking out for their bottom line, and not necessarily your best interests. You should speak to a lawyer as soon as an injury occurs to learn more about your options. The workers' compensation process is complicated, and a lawyer can help walk you through the process and ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries.