Herniated Discs and Workers' Comp

A herniated disc is a common workplace injury. If you were left unable to work because of a herniated disc in your back, would you be able to financially take care of your family? Do you know that workers’ compensation can help cover your medical and financial needs while you recover?

Workers’ Compensation and You

Many of the benefits that workers’ compensation offers are available to employees injured while working. If eligible, they can receive assistance with medical expenses, medical care, therapy, and vocational rehabilitation. Your state has laws in place that most employers provide a workers’ compensation insurance policy.

These policies are available at no cost to employees. It’s a special type of insurance that protects people who are hurt on the job. However, for you to be eligible for any workers’ compensation benefits for your herniated disc, you must make the decision to file a claim through your employer.

The benefits that you may receive will depend upon the severity of your injury.

Herniated Discs Can Happen on the Job

Discs in your back act as shock absorbers for bony vertebrae in your spine. A herniated disc slips from its place in your spine and presses on nerves in the spinal cord. It causes pain in your back and legs.

This can happen from sudden and jarring shock to the spine from lifting heavy items, falls or slips, repetitive motion, or a motor vehicle accident. Herniated discs often occur in the lumbar and cervical areas of the spine. Both areas bend and flex when you move – turn, lift, and bend – during daily work activities.

Warehouse workers, construction workers, and anyone who lifts heavy products, products, tools, or equipment are at risk for herniating a disc in their back. Delivery drivers who are in car accidents can end up with more than just whiplash. Discs can be herniated and may even require surgery to correct.

workers' comp herniated disc lawyer

Symptoms of Herniated Discs

Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary and they can be extremely painful. You may notice:

  • Back or shoulder pain
  • Chest, pelvic, abdominal, or buttock pain
  • Headaches regardless of whether you are sitting, standing, or lying down
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in legs (This is a sign of a nerve being pinched by your herniated disc)
  • Trouble moving or walking
  • Weakness in your arms or legs

If you have a work-related herniated disc injury, seek immediate medical care. If your injuries are severe, contact 911. Do not continue to work. This can make your back worse.

Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation

You should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim if you are a hurt while working and suspect that you have herniated a disc. Filing a claim can help you get the medical care you need.You can obtain a list, from your supervisor, of doctors who can treat your injury for free.

Help with medical costs. A herniated disc may require you to wear a customized brace for your back – which can be quite costly. You may need surgery to repair any damages and therapy to recover any loss of motion, strength, and function. It can cover other medical care costs associated with your injury.

Workers’ compensation may be able to help you with other medical costs associated with the injury. Job training. You may not be able to return to your job due to your herniated disc. Workers’ compensation may provide you with occupational training so that you can enter a different field.

Lost pay. If you are left unable to work because of a work-related herniated disc, you may qualify to receive a portion of your lost wages. There are certain guidelines in place for partial or temporary disability payments.

How to File Workers’ Compensation With a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs are painful back injuries that can result in debilitating pain. These injuries are often the result of workplace accidents. If you have suffered a herniated disc while you were on the job, you will want to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

While workers’ compensation laws vary from one state to another, the benefits provided are rather consistent. These benefits include medical coverage, which covers the cost of any medical care needed for the herniated disc and pays about two-thirds of your lost wages while you are recovering.

To ensure your claim is on track in a timely manner, you will need to notify your employer of your accident right away. Depending on state laws, you would usually have anywhere from 3 days to 1 year to make the proper notification. Some states allow verbal notification while others require you notify your employer in writing.

You need to establish medical care right away. Usually, there is a network of physicians and clinics that are considered in-network for your employer’s workers’ comp insurer. If you don’t see this posted list, you will need to ask your supervisor for a copy of the list so you can choose a doctor that is network. Failure to see an approved physician could result in you having to pay your medical bills yourself.

Delaying medical care can be detrimental to your workers’ compensation claim for your herniated disc. You need to seek immediate care and maintain documentation that shows the severity of your injuries and your restrictions. Be sure to adhere to doctor’s orders, keep copies of medical excuses, and maintain documentation to show your lost wages and missed work.

Because workers’ compensation claims can be complex, you will want to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer who is licensed in your state. Your chances of a successful workers’ comp claim increase greatly when you have a lawyer representing you.

Evidence To Support Your Herniated Disc Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you have been injured on the job and suffered a herniated disc you will need to gather supporting documentation for your claim. This will include the accident report, the medical bills and medical records, and proof of missed work and lost wages. Also, statements from any witnesses can be helpful during the claims process.

Establishing medical care right away is imperative to your claim’s success. That can tie in your herniated disc with the workplace accident. Be sure to tell the physician exactly what happened, so you can have proof that your injury was a result of the workplace accident.

Maintain thorough records, so you can explain what happened and how it happened. If your employer or their insurer allege that the injury was pre-existing, you will need to provide medical records from your care prior to the injury, so you can show that the injury didn’t exist before that time.

A herniated disc can lead to more than back pain, as it can cause pain that radiates into your hips and legs. The pain could be so debilitating that you are unable to walk, lift, bend, squat, or perform basic activities – as well as leave you unable to work. You will need to provide medical documentation that shows your restrictions and limitations and that details how long you will be affected and if your employment will be impacted on a long-term basis.

Potential Settlement Amounts For a Herniated Disc

No two settlements are the same because cases and claims can vary significantly. There are several things that will come into play and that will affect the outcome of your claim and determine the value of your settlement.

As an example, if your back injury requires surgery, your claim will most likely be worth more than an injury that requires a couple of weeks of physical therapy before you are allowed to return to work. If you can return to the same job at full capacity with no permanent damage, your settlement will be less than if you had to take a different job that pays less.

Your medical bills will be added up, and of course, the more your medical bills cost the more you will receive in a settlement because you will need to cover those costs. Also, the longer you are off work, the more you will need to recover through your settlement for your lost wages.

Your workers’ comp lawyer will review all the details of your case, determining the extent of your injuries and the future impact you will encounter as well as the past impact that you have from the herniated disc from your workplace injury.

The settlement will include medical bills, lost wages, and any future loss of earnings and medical expenses, as well as any long-term disabilities or limitations that could result from the injury you suffered while on the job.

What Can Impact How Long It Takes To Settle Your Herniated Disc Workers’ Comp Claim

After you reach a settlement for your herniated disc claim, it could take a couple of weeks for the agreement to be written up and for the paperwork to be signed by all parties. After that, the settlement must be approved by a judge.

Depending on the judge’s caseload and schedule, it could take two weeks or so for the judge to get the chance to review it and then approve it. After the judge has signed off, most states allow the insurance company up to 30 days to cut the check and send it out to the parties.

Your lawyer will then cash the check, pay any outstanding medical bills, pay any court-related expenses, and then take their pre-agreed contingency amount. You will then receive the remaining amount for your related expenses and to use as you choose. If you have suffered a herniated disc while in a workplace accident, consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer in your area, so you can improve your odds of a fair settlement and ensure your claim is handled in a timely manner.

Speak With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Before you sign anything from your employer or their insurance company, you should take it to a workers’ compensation attorney. This will help protect your rights. Otherwise, you could sign away your right to sue or to receive other compensation for your herniated disc.

A workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the benefits that you deserve and can answer any questions you have about your rights.

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