For a workers compensation attorney in Greenville, one of the most challenging cases is winning workers comp for a back injury. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common types of injuries in various industries, as we will show below. This is why insurance companies that over workers compensation coverage are fighting this type of claim as hard as they can.
North Carolina legislators have made specific stipulations concerning the situations when an injured worker is eligible for benefits. However, an experienced workers compensation attorney in Greenville can help you file your claim successfully and obtain compensation for medical care costs and replacement wages until you are fit to return to work.
Back Injuries and Back Pain Are Common Health Complaints
Statistical data shows that nearly 80% of the population will experience back pain at one point in their lives. Back injury and pain can affect anyone – from teenagers to the elderly.
Also, back pain is the number three reason for visits to the doctor’s office, after skin and joint disorders. When it comes to the workforce, back injury is the leading cause of work-loss days, accounting for nearly 265 million lost work days each year in the US.
Finally, healthcare costs for back injuries and back pain amount to $50 billion each year, while lost wages and decreased productivity add another $50 billion to the annual losses in the US.
North Carolina Workers Comp for Back Injury: What the Law Says
As specified above, North Carolina Workers Compensation Act has a specific definition for workplace injuries to the back. North Carolina legislators call it “injury by accident” and it is defined as “any disabling physical injury to the back arising out of and causally related to such incident”.
Needless to say, as any workers compensation attorney in Greenville knows, this injury by accident must occur out of and in the course of the employment. And this is exactly where insurance companies try to manipulate the facts in order to deny your claim.
Why Is It Difficult to Win Workers Comp for a a Back Injury?
The main issue with back injuries is that they can occur as a result of intense strain over time or as a result of one traumatic incident. Moreover, given the proximity to the spinal cord, back injuries can result in symptoms of pain, numbness, and weakness in various other parts of the body.
Moreover, as any workers compensation attorney in Greenville knows, people are active outside their job – doing various chores, carrying heavy grocery bags, or engaging in sports activities. All these represent a perfect opportunity for an insurance adjuster to claim that the back injury is not work-related.
Proving Your Back Injury Is Work-Related
An experienced attorney can be able to prove your back injury is work-related, especially if you follow the rules for getting medical care and reporting the accident. Here is what you should know.
1. See a Doctor as Soon as You Experience Pain
You should not wait until the end of your shift to seek medical care. If you feel a dull or sharp pain in your back or neck, report it verbally to your employer and see a doctor. You will likely have to do some tests, such as an MRI scan or an X-ray to identify the problem.
Back injury in the workplace usually leads to:
- Muscle strain
- Herniated disc (the cushion between the vertebrae in the spine moves out of alignment)
- Bulging disc (due to inflammation)
- Misaligned vertebrae in the spine.
2. Do Not Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement on Your Own
After you file your workplace injury report, your employer’s insurance company will start working to deny your workers’ comp for a back injury. One of the ways of doing it is by asking you to give a recorded statement. They will ask confusing and misleading questions, attempting to catch you contradicting yourself.
You should not give this statement before consulting with a workers compensation attorney in Greenville. The attorney will coach you so that you avoid making self-incriminatory statements. It is important to note that it will do you no good if you exaggerate the circumstances of the accident or the symptoms you experience. It will only cement the insurance adjuster’s belief that you are looking for a vacation paid by the worker’s comp system.
3. Collect Available Evidence
Workers’ comp for back injury is easier to win if you can provide your lawyer with helpful evidence, such as:
- CCTV footage from the workplace area where you were injured (the attorney will obtain it if you tell them that the area is under video surveillance)
- Prior reports to HR for any sick days you had to take for back pain
- Statements from work colleagues who witnessed your accident
- Any medical records proving your condition or injury to the back.
4. Go to the Doctor Appointed by the Insurance Company
Your employer’s insurance company will direct you to an approved healthcare provider for medical evaluation and treatments. You will be assigned a case manager who will report to the insurer whether you show up for check-ups and follow the treatment course.
It is important to understand that you cannot go to any doctor you choose, with the exception of specific conditions set by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. According to these conditions, you must show that changing doctors is “reasonably necessary to effect a cure, provide relief, or lessen the period of disability.”
Let an Experienced Lawyer Handle Your Workers’ Comp for Back Injury
Filing a worker’s comp claim for back injury is difficult because in most cases you cannot pinpoint a single incident that caused your pain and disability. However, a seasoned Greenville workers’ compensation attorney will analyze your case carefully and, if it has merits, will offer you the best legal representation.
We will collect evidence, talk to your doctor and present your case to the insurance adjuster in a manner that leaves no room for doubt that you were injured as a result of your job activities. Do not start a claim on your own, because you can hurt your chances to win benefits. Instead, schedule a free case review with us as soon as you were diagnosed with a back injury by a doctor!