Florida Workers’ Comp Settlements for a Back Injury
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Workers’ Compensation
Back injuries are a common type of workplace injury. Unfortunately, a back injury can have devastating physical, emotional, and financial consequences. On-the-job back injuries include spinal cord injury, herniated or bulging discs, pinched nerves, fractured vertebrae, sprains, and strains.
You should receive workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain a back injury at work. You could also receive a workers’ compensation settlement if you sustained a permanent impairment.
Back Injuries Can Cause Significant Damage
The back contains the spinal column, which protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord transmits messages to and from the brain to all other areas of the body. A spinal cord injury is any damage to the nerves and cells that comprise the spinal cord.
A workplace accident could cause a direct injury to the spinal cord. Injuries to the vertebrae (i.e., fractures and breaks) of the spinal column can also cause indirect damage to the spinal cord. Strains, sprains, and other injuries can cause swelling and inflammation, which could press on the spinal cord and vertebrae, causing secondary damage to the spinal cord.
Damage to the spinal column can result in a variety of symptoms, including:
- Loss of movement
- Difficulty breathing
- Weakness in one or more areas of the body
- Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation
- Pressure or pain in the neck, head, or back
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Changes in sexual function
- Problems walking
An incomplete spinal cord injury means that some messages can pass through the spinal cord resulting in some degree of muscle control and sensory function. A complete spinal cord injury results in losing all function below the injury site.
Common Causes of Back Injuries at Work
Understanding how back injuries occur can help employees avoid situations that cause back injuries at work. Back injuries at work can happen because of the following:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Improper lifting of materials and other items
- Auto accidents
- Pulling, pushing, and dragging heavy objects
- Crouching, bending, and stooping
- Carrying things in an awkward position
- Reaching, twisting, and stretching
- Repetitive tasks
- Working in one position for long periods
- Blunt force trauma
Employees and employers can often prevent back injuries by using safety measures and protocols. Unfortunately, employees may push themselves to meet unreasonable deadlines and work beyond their ability to comply with employer demands.
Treatment Options for a Back Injury That Occurs at Work
There are numerous treatment options for back injuries on the job. The treatment used depends on the type of back injury and the severity of the injury.
A doctor might prescribe medication to treat a back injury. Medications could include but are not limited to:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Prescription pain relievers
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Neuromodulatory agents
- Muscle relaxers
- Epidural steroid injections
Doctors often use medication with other treatments, such as rest, cold packs, hot packs, and activity restrictions.
A doctor might recommend physical therapy. A physical therapist might use a variety of exercises to improve mobility and flexibility, including strengthening exercises.
Therapeutic massage might also be used to increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension. Physical therapy could last a few weeks or a few months, depending on the severity of the back injury.
Focused, gentle adjustments to the spine can help reduce or eliminate pain. However, some workers’ compensation insurance does not cover chiropractic care. Therefore, it is best to check with an employer or insurance provider before receiving chiropractic care for a back injury caused by a workplace accident.
Surgery is usually the last option to treat back pain. The only option to treat some back injuries caused at work is surgery. Recovery from back surgery can be lengthy and very painful.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Back Injury
Most employers in Florida must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. If a worker is injured on the job, they can receive workers’ comp benefits such as:
The injured worker receives medical care and treatment at no cost. Medical benefits include mileage reimbursement to and from authorized medical appointments and the pharmacy.
However, your employer or the insurance provider must authorize the medical provider. If you seek treatment from an unauthorized doctor or medical provider, you could be responsible for paying the medical bills.
Workers’ compensation does not compensate you for all loss of income. The amount and duration of lost wage benefits depend on the type of disability you sustained because of your work injury.
If you cannot work at all during your recovery, you can receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits equal about 2/3 of your average weekly wages before the injury. The amount is subject to maximum reimbursement amounts.
Specific severe injuries could entitle you to up to 80% of your regular wages for six months following the injury. TTD benefits are paid up to 104 weeks.
If the doctor releases you to work on restricted duty, you might receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. These benefits apply if you cannot earn at least 80% of your wages before the injury. TPD benefits are also paid for up to 104 weeks.
Florida Workers’ Comp Settlements for a Back Injury
If you sustained a permanent impairment or disability, you could be entitled to additional compensation. Impairment Income Benefits (IIB) compensate you for a partial disability.
Your doctor assigns you an impairment rating. The IIB amount depends on the exact impairment and the impairment rating. Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are paid if you cannot perform any work after you reach maximum medical improvement.
The workers’ insurance company might offer a lump sum settlement payment in both situations. Whether you should accept the workers’ compensation back injury settlement depends on many factors.
For example, the settlement amount might be far below the amount you should receive for permanent disability benefits. Another problem could be the disability rating for permanent partial disability. The workers’ comp doctor might have given you a lower rating than your injury deserves.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Legal Help
Your employer nor the workers’ insurance company will tell you if the settlement amount is unfair. The best way to protect your right to the workers’ comp settlement you deserve is to talk with a St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyer before accepting the settlement. A workers’ comp attorney in St. Petersburg can tell you how much your workers’ comp claim is worth during a free consultation.
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg workers’ compensation law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,