Some back injuries happen suddenly and others occur because of repeated activities over time. Whether you suffer an acute or a chronic back injury, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove that your injury was work-related.
How Work-Related Back Injuries Happen
Back injuries occur in a variety of different ways depending on the type of industry a worker is in and that worker’s unique job responsibilities. Any time a back injury occurs because of work-related activities, the worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation. A work-related injury is an injury that occurs because of your job duties or because of something in your work environment.
Some of the common ways workers suffer work-related back injuries include:
- Repetitive motion
- Heavy lifting
- Motor vehicle accidents
These injuries can occur in any industry or field including, but not limited to:
- Health care
- Office work
Some of the specific types of back injuries that can result from work-related injuries include:
- Sprains and strains
- Muscle tears
- Herniated, bulging, or slipped disks
- Spinal cord injuries
The impact from these injuries can vary from a few days of mild discomfort to a permanent and paralyzing injury.
What to Do If You Suffer a Work-Related Back Injury
As soon as you are involved in a work-related accident or your back begins to hurt, it is important to:
- Get medical attention. If it is an emergency, then you may go to the hospital emergency’s room. Otherwise, you may make an appointment with your regular doctor.
- Report the injury to your employer. It is important to do this as soon as possible. You may notify your supervisor. Be sure to keep a written copy of the notification or note the date and time when you informed your employer of your injury.
- Learn more about workers’ compensation so that you can protect your rights. You can browse our website or contact us directly to learn more.
These three steps may allow you to receive the benefits that you deserve.
Potential Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The workers’ compensation benefits that you are able to receive will depend on the unique injuries that you have suffered. If you are able to prove that your injuries were work-related then your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is responsible for paying for your reasonable medical costs for as long as you are benefiting from medical treatment.
Additionally, you may be able to receive compensation for some of your lost income. The amount of workers’ compensation that you can receive depends on the seriousness of your injury and the amount of money that you were earning prior to your injury. More specifically, in Massachusetts, you may be able to receive compensation for your:
- Temporary total incapacity. If you can’t work for six or more days because of your work-related injury, then you may qualify for up to 60 percent of your gross weekly wage for up to 156 weeks.
- Temporary partial incapacity. If you are able to work but you are unable to earn the same wage as you did prior to your injury then you may qualify for benefits of up to 75 percent of what you could have received if you were temporary and totally incapacitated. These benefits may continue for up to 260 weeks.
- Permanent total incapacity. If you are completely and permanently unable to work because of your work-related back injury, then you may receive up to 66 percent of your gross weekly wage, adjusted for the cost of living, for as long as you are disabled.
In some cases, you may also receive other benefits, such as vocational benefits, to help you after a serious injury.
How to Protect Your Workers’ Compensation Rights
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should fairly compensate you for the injury that you have suffered. The terms of fair compensation are established by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island workers’ compensation law and the terms of the workers’ compensation insurance contract. However, workers’ compensation insurers, like other insurers, may try to get you to accept as little as possible in insurance benefits because insurance companies profit by paying out as little as possible in claims.
For this reason, you may benefit from having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer make sure that your rights are protected. Call our attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and to make sure that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to receive as a worker who was hurt on the job or because of work-related activities.