Your workers’ compensation benefits are there to ensure you have the financial support you need when you suffer a back injury at work, regardless of your profession. Especially if your career is physically laborious in nature, there is a real possibility that you might need to seek compensation for a back injury on the job.
Attorney Bert Louthian of the Louthian Law Firm understands that back injuries are common and can occur due to either sudden accidents or repetitive strain over a long period of time. Call our experienced Columbia workers’ compensation attorneys today and learn more about how much compensation you can get after a work-related back injury in South Carolina.
What Benefits Can You Receive for a Back Injury on the Job?
When seeking a settlement for a back injury at work, your most important point of reference is your workers’ compensation benefits policy. Your lawyer can help you interpret your policy to fully grasp what your employer’s insurance provider owes you, and that knowledge can also serve you in settlement discussions.
A standard workers’ compensation package covers medical costs including those incurred for hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy or long-term medication. You can also receive benefits for lost wages up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage during the time you are unable to work due to your back injury.
Once you reach maximum medical improvement as determined by your authorized treating physician, the physician will assign an impairment rating to your injury. This rating will dictate how many additional weeks of benefits you can receive as compensation for a back injury at work.
How Do You Prove Your Back Injury Occurred at Work?
One major concern that might weigh on your mind after an incident is how to prove a back injury at work. You may understandably worry about not receiving benefits for medical costs or lost wages if you cannot demonstrate to your employer that the injury happened on the clock.
You can have a stronger case for proving that your back injury is work-related by following these steps after a workplace accident:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Report the injury to your supervisor or employer as soon as possible.
- File a claim with your workers’ compensation policy.
- Involve a personal injury attorney early in the claims process.
It is vitally important to seek medical care after a workplace injury and report the incident no matter how minor you might think it is at the moment. Doing so creates records that prove your injury, the nature of the injury and your compliance with the terms of your benefits policy.
Is There a Risk of Permanent Impairments After a Back Injury?
Back injuries can have lasting effects on your body. Those effects can impact your overall compensation for a back injury at work as well as your ability to work in the future. Injuries resulting from direct impact or trauma to the spinal cord may lead to more severe disabilities, though repetitive strain injuries can also cause lasting impairments.
Permanent impairments that can arise after a back injury include:
- Limited range of motion
- Herniated discs
- Spinal fractures
- Chronic pain
Seeking immediate treatment from a trusted physician after an injury can minimize the risk or severity of permanent impairments. Following the doctor’s orders closely throughout the process helps ensure a smooth recovery while also strengthening your workers’ compensation case.
What Challenges Might You Face When Seeking Compensation?
The first and most pressing obstacle when pursuing compensation for a back injury at work is the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, you have two years from the date of your workplace injury to file a claim. While this provides plenty of time to submit a claim, putting it off can result in missing out on the compensation you deserve.
Another challenge might be the requirement to perform “light duty.” If your authorized treating physician clears you to perform light duty, which covers physically less demanding tasks compared to your typical workload, then your employer can require you to perform those tasks even if your workers’ compensation case is still underway.
Certain actions you might take during your claims process can create further challenges for your case:
- Choosing to not complete your medical treatment
- Neglecting to maintain thorough medical records
- Accepting an initial settlement offer from the insurance company
Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can mitigate these challenges. Your lawyer can provide guidance and advice at every step to bring you closer to a favorable outcome.
How Can a Lawyer Help You Get Workers’ Compensation for a Back Injury?
In an ideal scenario, your workers’ compensation benefits would kick in immediately after your back injury and you would have the opportunity to focus on recovery without any extra hassle.
When circumstances are less than ideal, contacting an attorney early on ensures that you have an experienced ally in your corner. Your lawyer’s role starts with helping you access and understand your workers’ compensation policy.
Other invaluable services that your attorney can provide include:
- Ensuring your employer takes the necessary steps and does not ignore your injury after your report it
- Helping maintain thorough medical records throughout your recovery
- Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf
- Investigating who is at fault for your workplace injury
Even if you have reason to believe that you share in the liability for the accident, you can still recover compensation for a back injury at work. South Carolina is a “no-fault” state in regard to workplace injuries, meaning that you and your legal team do not need to prove that your employer is to blame, only that the injury occurred at work.
Call Today for a Free Workers’ Compensation Consultation
If you need compensation for a back injury at work, then you have enough to worry about on the road to recovery. The Louthian Law Firm can handle the burden of building your workers’ compensation case and advocating for your right for your right to full benefits. Call us today at 803-592-6231 for a free consultation and discuss how much compensation we can secure for you after your work-related back injury.