The types of injuries that can happen on the job are numerous. It depends on the type of industry in which the employee is working, but many of them can be debilitating and even lead to permanent disability.
One of these serious injuries is a herniated disc. This injury presents unique circumstances that need to be accounted for when applying for workers’ compensation. Is an attorney needed to help support the injured employee’s claim?
We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is a serious back injury that involves the small discs that cushion the vertebrae in the human back. These discs work to act as shock absorbers and help keep the spine flexible and healthy.
However, if one of these discs is damaged, resulting in the disc bulging or breaking open, a herniated disc occurs. Symptoms of a herniated disc include severe pain and/or numbness down the legs and arms, as well as weakness in the area where the disc was injured.
This injury can happen in many different ways, including slipping and falling, overexertion from heavy lifting in the workplace and car accidents. Herniated discs in the workplace commonly happen in the following industries:
- Hospital workers;
- Construction workers
The effects of a herniated disc can stay with an individual forever and can end up being quite debilitating. Because the costs can be high and the workers’ compensation process lengthy and confusing, it is almost always recommended that a workers’ compensation attorney be consulted.
Common Treatment for Herniated Discs
The main way doctors properly diagnose a herniated disc is by MRIS, X-rays, x-rays via myelograms of the spinal cord, and discograms. These tests can be costly. After it is diagnosed, the initial treatment will be bed rest, including over-the-counter prescriptions for the pain.
Physical therapy is also a common treatment for herniated discs. If the pain is severe, doctors can also give epidural steroid injections to help. If the injury is quite serious, surgery may be needed including spinal fusion, micro-disectomy, laminectomy and even artificial disc replacement.
Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Herniated Disc
Because the injury for a herniated disc can essentially put a person on bed rest for a long period of time, other benefits that can be received on top of medical expenses are disability payments for lost wages.
Depending on the type of disability, whether it is permanent or temporary, partial or complete, the amount of money received through workers’ compensation can help the injured employee during that period of time when he or she is no longer able to perform his or her job duties.
Complications with Herniated Discs and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Ideally, the injured employee would report his or her injury and be compensated for damages, but situations do not always work themselves out so easily. Insurance providers will routinely deny herniated disc claims for a number of reasons, and having an attorney assist the injured employee can help prevent this.
One reason insurers deny these claims is the fact that the back or neck condition could be from a preexisting condition. Medical evidence will need to back the employee’s claim up that it was an injury sustained at work, but this may be something that an attorney will need to help the employee do in lining up expert testimony and obtaining medical records.
Another reason for denials is the insurer may claim the treatment being recommended by the physician is not necessary and not covered under their policy. Again, the attorney will need to step in at this point to provide evidence to support this treatment plan.
Also, if the insurance company believes the costs are too much, they may low ball the offer or deny the claim. An attorney will be able to help the client who is likely not a legal expert and is also likely in a lot of pain, navigate his way through this process and provide the proof needed to support the medical treatment that is necessary for this injured individual.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are in the process of pursuing workers’ compensation and have questions whether you need help with your claim for a herniated disc, a workers’ compensation attorney can help review your case and discuss your options.
An attorney can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed. Contact an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation law to schedule a consultation today.