A workers’ comp back injury is one of the most common work-related injuries in North Carolina.
Back injuries happen so often in the workplace because they can happen in most jobs. If you have to lift heavy objects constantly at work, you are always at risk for a back injury.
Also, your job may not require you to lift heavy things, but if you have to twist, turn, and bend over constantly throughout your shift you are still at risk of suffering a back injury.
This type of work puts you at risk of a repetitive-use back injury and you need to understand what you should do if you suffer from a workers’ comp back injury in North Carolina.
Back Injury Statistics
Workplace back injury studies have concluded that, as compared to all other types of body part injuries, back injuries consistently cause the most days off work.
In 2016 alone, nursing assistants experienced 10,330 back-related musculoskeletal injuries related to work activities.
Laborers and employees engaged in hard physical labor experienced another 10,660 work-related back injury cases.
Obviously, nursing assistants and laborers have to perform a lot of heavy lifting, twisting, and bending, which can often cause back injuries.
The back, or more specifically the spine, is where people also commonly suffer from pre-existing injuries or conditions that are aggravated by working conditions and work incidents and accidents.
Even though the original injury was not related to work, if the evidence is clear that the back symptoms or condition worsened after a work-related incident, the injured claimant could win their workers’ comp back injury claim.
Types of Common Back Injuries at Work
There are several common types of work-related back injuries that we see in our North Carolina workers’ compensation cases.
Some of them are not so serious, but they could keep an employee out of work for several months until the worker gets better.
And some back injuries are very serious and may require multiple surgeries and potentially cause a permanent disability from work:
- Torn, sprained, or damaged muscles;
- Torn, sprained, or injured ligaments and tendons;
- Bulging discs;
- Herniated discs;
- Fractured vertebrae;
- Severed spinal cord; and
- Bruised or damaged spinal cord.
For problems such as bulging and herniated discs—depending on what level of the spine the damaged disc is located—numbness, weakness, and pain down the legs or down the arms may result.
In many cases, after attempting to cure the symptoms through physical therapy, if the injury cannot be resolved, then surgery is necessary.
Also, with some work-related spinal cord injuries, surgery is absolutely necessary.
But when there is a fully severed spinal cord, generally there is no way to repair that injury through surgery, and the worker is usually partially or totally paralyzed.
If the worker suffers from quadriplegia or paraplegia, then the worker will usually be totally disabled from work.
Things You Should Do—and Not Do—with a Workers Comp Spine Injury
You may be asking yourself, “I hurt my back at work. What should I do?” Many North Carolina employees have never had a work injury, so it’s not unusual to wonder where to turn.
Here are some things to focus on when you have suffered from an upper back or lower back injury.
- Tell your supervisor about the work incident that caused your back pain immediately after it happened. If you wait a few days to tell your supervisor, your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company may deny your claim for a back injury.
- Contact an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible so they can begin to fight for your rights to receive the full compensation you deserve.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If possible, get to the doctor the day of the work injury or the day after at the latest. You can’t win your workers’ comp claim without having the support and expert medical opinion from a treating doctor. Also, the longer you wait to seek treatment, the insurance adjuster may not think your injury is all that serious and may deny the claim.
- Don’t give the workers’ comp insurance adjuster a recorded statement, especially if you haven’t yet hired an attorney. The problem with providing a recorded statement is that it could potentially be used against you later. You may make a mistake and say something incorrectly or misunderstand the question. Don’t believe that the insurance adjuster is your friend and on your side, no matter how nice they are.
Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
Not every law firm can successfully handle a complex North Carolina workers’ comp case.
You want to hire a law firm with over 30 years of experience in successfully handling and winning benefits for seriously injured workers.
Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.