Back Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
If you’ve been hurt while at work, you are legally owed workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and other costs. However, insurance companies and some employers can be hesitant to provide workers’ compensation benefits, even when they’re deserved. Receiving compensation for certain injuries can be particularly difficult.
Many workers’ compensation insurance companies deny claims for back and spine injuries on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Many say that a back injury was the result of a pre-existing condition, such as a spinal disc injury, and was not caused by accidental injury on the job.
If you’ve been hurt at work and suffered a spinal or back injury, a Louisiana workers’ comp attorney can help with your neck and spine injury case. Insurers often work to deny claims and prevent workers from receiving comp benefits, especially for back injuries. So, let an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, join your side and fight for your benefits.
A Closer Look at Back Injuries and Pre-Existing Conditions
Workers’ comp insurance companies often claim that an existing back condition, and not an accident at work, caused the injury pertaining to a workers’ comp case. In cases where a worker is disabled following an injury, companies often purport that a pre-existing back or spinal condition led to the disability — not an injury.
In cases like these, proving causation can be difficult. Additionally, the symptoms of a traumatic accident are often not all that different from degenerative or long-standing back conditions and similar ailments.
Therefore, the outcomes of these types of cases depend largely on a workers’ compensation judge deciding whether a disability stemmed from injury or from a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, employees benefit from the presumption that if an otherwise healthy employee experiences an accident resulting in disability, it is presumed that the accident caused the injury, so long as the medical testimony from doctors and health care professionals establishes a reasonable possibility of such a connection.
Importance of Medical Records and Expert Testimony
In injury cases involving the back and spine, medical expert opinion testimony (the sworn testimony or certified written records of an employee’s physician) is used to determine whether the related accident caused an employee’s injury and disability.
In some cases, testimony as to how soon after the accident an employee complained to coworkers or reported the injury to the employer can be helpful. Most workers’ compensation judges in Louisiana focus on the medical records and testimony from physicians, however.
Preventing Common Back Injuries at Work
Even though back injuries in the workplace are common, you can reduce your chances of experiencing a back injury by following certain steps and taking precautions.
1. Lift with Your Legs
Avoid using your back muscles and bending over. Instead, squat down. Keep your back straight and lift an object by straightening your legs. While lifting, holding, or carrying a heavy object, avoid twisting your back.
2. Carry Smaller Loads
Everyone’s tempted to grab as much stuff as possible to save time and reduce trips when carrying things. However, taking an extra trip or two is worth reducing the likelihood of injuring your back or body. Avoid carrying stacks of heavy boxes, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
3. Use a Back-Support Belt
Many back injuries occur in the lower back. A back-support belt helps to give your lower back strong support while lifting objects. A back support belt will make lifting boxes and heavy objects more comfortable and can reduce the likelihood of back injury.
We Fight for Your Workers’ Compensation
Insurance companies don’t like awarding workers’ compensation benefits, even when they’re justly deserved. For back injuries, it can be even more difficult to secure benefits. If you’ve experienced a legitimate back injury at work that’s made you unable to work, the Louisiana workers’ comp attorneys at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, want to help. We can help you to secure your fair benefits and can assist if an insurance company or your employer denies your claim.
Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation. Call today at 504-302-4131.