Back injuries are some of the most common types of injuries we see when it comes to injuries on the job. A back injury at work can be painful and, in some cases, can take months or years to heal, or it may never resolve leaving you permanently disabled. Back injuries, under the proper circumstances as set forth by the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, can be covered by workers comp benefits.
What Kinds of Back Injuries Can be Covered by a Comp Claim?
There are several different kinds of back injuries that can be covered ranging from a muscle strain to the more serious injuries like a herniated disc, fractured vertebrae, bulging disc or ruptured or torn disc. These conditions can affect all different areas of the back including, the lower back or Lumbar Spine, the middle back or Thoracic Spine, or the upper back and neck areas known as the Cervical Spine. Some back injuries can be so severe that can lead to Spinal Cord Damage or Paralysis.
For more information on back injuries and conditions related to the spine click here.
Virginia Has Specific Rules for Compensation after a Back Injury
Workers’ compensation insurance companies regularly deny back injury claims. In order to be covered, your injury must arise out of the course and scope of your employment (meaning by fulfilling your work duties when your injury happened).
In some states, like here in Virginia, the rules for an injury to be covered take it a step further and only cover back injuries from a specific immediate event. This means that you must be able to identify the moment of injury or physical change. For Example:
If you carried boxes all day, and can’t straighten up the next morning, you won’t be covered.
However, if you lifted a box and felt a pop or pull in your back and you reported your injury this way to your doctors and the insurance company, then you could be eligible to receive Virginia workers comp benefits, even if you continued working.
What Compensation Can I Get After a Back Injury at Work?
There are several different types of benefits that you may qualify for if you suffered a back injury on the job. These could include:
- Medical Care
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
- Permanent Partial Disability (when the back injury is affecting one of your limbs)
- Lump Sum Settlement
- Structured Settlement
Can I Get a Back Injury Compensation Payout?
Sometimes after a back injury on the job, you may be able get a payout. For Virginia Workers Comp Claims, the proper term for a payout would be a Lump Sum Settlement. Taking a Lump Sum Settlement after a work related back injury would mean taking all of your benefits, future lost wages and medical care, in one large sum and then closing your case. This would mean ending any weekly checks you are receiving, and the workers comp insurance company would no longer be approving your medical care.
What is the Average Payout for a Back Injury at Work?
This is a complicated question. Each claim is different and the payout, or Lump Sum Settlement, is based on several factors so there really is no average number. The value of your case is going to be based on several factors:
- How much you were earning at the time of your injury
- How much medical treatment you will need
- Your ability to work at your pre-injury job or in another capacity
- Permanent disabilities or limitations
- Other benefits such as Social Security and Medicare
For more information on how these factors can affect your settlement amount, click here.
What are the Benefits of Settling My Claim After a Back Injury on the Job?
There can be several benefits to settling your back injury claim, especially if you are no longer able to do your pre-injury job. A few of these benefits would be:
- No longer waiting on a weekly check
- The freedom to find a job of your own liking
- No more waiting on the insurance company to authorize treatment
- The freedom to see a doctor of your choosing
- The opportunity to use a lump sum of money to invest, pay debt, start a business or go to school
For more information on the pro’s and con’s of settlement, click here.
What is the Process for Settling My Back Injury Case?
Generally speaking, your lawyer will investigate your claim based on the factors previously mentioned (the severity of your injury, your ability to return to work, long term limitations, medical needs and entitlement to lost wages). Depending on your specific needs, your lawyer can then advise you on what an acceptable settlement figure would be, if this might benefit you and if you would be best suited for a payout, or Lump Sum Settlement, or a Structured Settlement.
If all parties (meaning you, your lawyer, and the workers compensation insurance company) can reach an agreement on the settlement amount, then the settlement documents have to be circulated and signed by all parties and submitted to the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission for final approval. Once the Commission approves your settlement, the workers comp insurance company has 45 days to issue your lump sum payment check.
What Should I Do if I Injured My Back at Work?
Speak With A Qualified Virginia Workers’ Comp Lawyer!
At Injured Workers Law Firm, we know that each injury, and each individual situation is different. Our dedicated staff will take the time to get all of the details about your specific situation so we can provide you with top notch legal service. Our lawyers handle ONLY Virginia Workers Compensation Claims so we can focus on the needs of injured workers across the state of Virginia. Our team has extensive experience fighting for the rights of people injured on the job.
If you injured your back on the job, call us NOW.
You can count on us to be behind you every step of the way, working hard to make sure you get everything that you’re entitled to.
Consultations are free and confidential. You can contact us online anytime or call (804) 755-7755 to speak to our intake team. We’d be happy to go over the details of your case and discuss what we can do to help you with your workers’ comp claim.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.