Back injuries suffered while at work can be devastating. They may cause you to be out of work for a considerable amount of time, require surgery, and prevent you from returning to your prior profession at all.
Understandably, many prospective clients want to know what they can get for a worker-related back injury.
As every claim is different, you need to speak with an experienced North Carolina workplace injury lawyer at Mehta & McConnell to find out what your case is potentially worth.
What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement for a Back Injury Claim?
There is no average amount for workers’ compensation settlements involving back injuries. Each person’s injuries are different, as is their job.
Various factors influence the benefit amount you can receive, such as the extent of injuries and the amount of treatment required.
While we can’t give you a specific range that workers’ compensation back injury cases will settle for, we can give you some general information on presenting your back injury claim.
Proving a Work-Related Back Injury
The first step in a North Carolina workers’ compensation back injury claim is to prove that your injuries occurred at work. Back injuries at work include those caused by an “accident” as well as those caused only by a specific traumatic event at work.
Unless your injury is a repetitive stress injury, you need to show the particular moment at work you suffered the injury. For example, maybe you were lifting boxes on a shelf at a specific time and date when you felt a pop in your back followed by the immediate onset of pain.
This would qualify as an accident caused by a specific traumatic incident under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
Being specific is more likely to be well-received and carry more weight than if you say you think you injured your back sometime last week while possibly working in the stock room.
There is a greater likelihood that the workers’ compensation adjuster will deny your claim with only vague details.
The most critical element is to establish your injury happened while in the course and scope of your employment.
What Types of Compensation Are You Eligible for in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The amount of your settlement is based on numerous factors, including the type and severity of your injury. A claim involving a severe disc herniation with spinal nerve compression is worth more than a claim involving a back strain.
Serious injuries may involve temporary or permanent disability. If you are unable to work temporarily, you might receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, which will pay up to 66% of your regular salary while you are unable to work.
If you suffered permanent injuries, you might receive a permanent partial disability (PPD) rating from your doctor. For example, if you receive a rating of 25%, it means you only recovered 75% of your pre-injury condition.
You are entitled to seek a second opinion, which most people do. You may find that the second doctor gives you a higher rating. If this happens, the workers’ compensation adjuster may take the average of the two ratings.
Your PPD rating is important. Your rating means you’re entitled to benefits for a certain number of weeks. Your salary amount and corresponding TTD rate are also significant.
Someone who earns a higher salary for their PPD rating than someone else may receive greater benefits, even if their injuries and ratings were the same.
That is one reason why it’s impossible to provide an average settlement amount for back injury claims.
Should You Accept a PPD Rating?
If you are thinking about accepting a PPD rating, you should speak with an attorney first. If you are still unable to work, continuing with TTD benefits may provide more assistance.
For example, you can ask for additional benefits allowable under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, such as retraining or reeducation.
What Is a Clincher Agreement?
Some people try to settle their workers’ compensation claims. This is sometimes known as a clincher agreement.
This type of agreement means the insurance company essentially buys your claim. If you can reach an agreement with the workers’ compensation carrier, you can settle for what you both agree it is worth. There is no set schedule or rating as there is with TTD or PPD.
Insurance companies like these agreements because they don’t have to worry about future medical treatment should you need to treat again one or two years later.
Clincher agreements are typically worth significantly more than a PPD because you are giving up your rights, including future medical care payments.
But you need to be careful in calculating a fair settlement because you won’t be able to go back and change it if you find you need additional treatment in the future.
You need a skilled lawyer to negotiate a settlement on your behalf and draw up the agreement language.
Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you suffered a back injury at work, you could have the right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. However, work-related back injury claims are complicated.
It’s best to speak with a skilled North Carolina workplace injury lawyer who can protect your rights.
The legal team at Mehta & McConnell has years of experience with protecting injured workers in North Carolina. We understand how these cases work and the typical problems you can encounter when dealing with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Don’t attempt to handle your claim alone; let us help. Contact Mehta & McConnell today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.