What You Should Know About Job-Related Back Injuries
These wounds are one of the worst work-related injuries in Louisiana, in terms of frequency and severity. Roughly a fifth of job-related injuries are either acute or overuse back injuries. Furthermore, since the back is a critical part of the central nervous system, back injuries usually cause either partial or total paralysis. Additionally, since back pain often initially presents in other areas of the body, these injuries are difficult to diagnose.
Because of these facts, a New Orleans workers’ compensation attorney must intervene early and often. Attorneys quickly connect job injury victims with top doctors. So, these individuals get the care they need, and not the care an insurance company is willing to pay for. Moreover, due to the nature of these injuries, an attorney can obtain substantial compensation for victims and families.
Types of Back Wounds
Acute injuries usually cause almost instant severe pain. Serious swelling and bruising usually follows shortly thereafter. Some different kinds of acute back injuries include:
- Ligament Strains and Sprains: Frequently, first aid and rest are the best treatments for muscle sprains and strains. Workers’ compensation benefits allow workers to get the rest, and the peace of mind, they need to get better.
- Spinal Dislocation or Fracture: Unusual motions usually cause muscle strains, and falls from a height usually cause spinal fractures. Even a minor fracture could mean permanent paralysis.
- Ruptured Disc: When spinal discs crack, the jelly-like material inside them oozes out and compresses nerves. Treating the resulting pain is only part of the equation. Doctors must also treat the source of the discomfort, and in this case, that’s difficult to do.
With proper treatment, acute back injuries, except for spinal fractures and dislocations, often improve significantly after about six weeks. Direct spine injuries take much longer to manage and often cost millions of dollars.
Excessive standing, kneeling, or bending usually causes overuse injuries. The resulting pain, muscle spasms, and stiffness might be almost unnoticeable at first, but these things quickly intensify. A combination of rest, injections, and perhaps surgery usually corrects the problem in about four weeks. However, many victims might need work accommodations to maintain their recoveries.
Back Injuries and Pre-Existing Conditions
Scoliosis, arthritis, and other conditions make people more susceptible to back injuries. These conditions also significantly increase the required recovery time.
Generally, workers’ compensation insurance companies cannot use these conditions as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation. An attorney must simply prove that the work-related injury aggravated the pre-existing condition, as opposed to the other way around.
On a related note, overuse injury victims often do not report their injuries straightaway. Even if the claims deadline passes, the discovery rule might preserve these victims’ rights for compensation.
Injury Compensation Available
Workers’ compensation usually pays medical bills and replaces lost wages. An attorney helps ensure victims receive fair compensation in both these areas.
As mentioned, the medical bills following a serious back injury could be millions of dollars. Most families do not have the resources to pay these bills, and most health insurance companies refuse to cover these expenses. Workers’ compensation usually pays these bills either on an ongoing basis or at the conclusion of the case. Either way, victims can worry about getting better instead of worrying about these expenses.
Medical bill payment only goes so far. To help families pay monthly expenses, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability. If the victim is permanently disabled, a lump sum might be available.
Count on a Diligent Attorney
Work-related back injuries cause permanent, but treatable, injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in New Orleans, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.