According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 600,000 American workers suffer back injuries at work every year. These injuries cost more than $50 billion annually in lost wages, medical expenses, and disabilities. Back injuries are some of the most common workplace injuries. Yet, it can be difficult to get a workers’ comp benefits after a back injury.
That is because insurance companies are often skeptical of back injuries and the disabilities they cause. They may claim you had a pre-existing back injury. They may claim your back injury is not severe enough to prevent you from working. No matter what they claim, back injuries can cause significant disability and pain. As such, you deserve to be compensated for your back injury at work.
What Are the Most Common Types of Back Injuries?
Your back contains many different muscles, ligaments, and nerves. They are used to push, pull, lift, and support your body through various daily activities. Nearly every movement you make relies on the back in some way. An injury to the back can cause significant pain, loss of mobility, and disability.
Some of the most common types of back injuries include:
- Lower back strain
- Upper back strain
- Muscle tears
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Fractured vertebrae
- Pinched nerves
- Spinal cord damage
Common Causes of Back Injuries at Work
The majority of back injuries at work are caused by heavy lifting or pulling. Lifting boxes, equipment, or office furniture can take its toll on employees. Unfortunately, even with proper lifting techniques, workers can injure their backs. These injuries can occur suddenly or as a result of a repetitive strain on their back over time.
In addition, sitting for long periods of time at a desk can also cause back injury. Other common causes of back injury at work include falls from high places, slip and fall accidents, and car crashes.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Louisiana
In Louisiana, injured workers are able to seek workers’ compensation benefits after they suffer an injury at work from their employer’s insurer. After a work injury, you can collect workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
To get the benefits you need after a back injury at work, it is important to take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical treatment
- Report the incident to your supervisor or manager immediately. Under Louisiana law, you have 30 days to report your workplace accident or injury to your employer.
- Make sure the treating physician knows you suffered a workplace accident
- Be truthful about pre-existing conditions
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan
- Do not return to work unless directed to by your doctor
Filing for workers’ compensation might seem easy, but it is not. Insurance companies only make money when they pay as little as possible. As such, they may deny your workers’ compensation claim or pressure you into returning to work too soon. Never return to work unless your doctor recommends it.
If your doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement and you are still suffering, you may have a permanent disability. When this occurs, you must undergo an Independent Medical Exam to determine the extent of your disability.
Workers’ compensation benefits cover differing types of disability, including:
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Permanent partial disability
Questions About Filing for Workers’ Comp? Contact Our Work Injury Attorney in New Orleans
At Mitchell & Associates, APLC, our New Orleans work injury attorneys can help you get benefits you deserve. We know that a work injury can cost you money. Being unable to work can cost you even more. That’s why we work hard for our injured clients. If you suffered a back injury at work, we can help. Call us at (504) 226-6530 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free initial consultation. With offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, we are here when you need us most.