Workers Comp Settlements for Neck Injuries
In order to be eligible for workers compensation benefits, there are two basic criteria you need to meet in most states: (1) you must be an employee, and (2) you must have suffered your neck injury on the job.
Neck pain can result from a variety of different causes. While neck pain can be a symptom of a minor specific injury in some cases, it can potentially be symptomatic of a more-serious injury or continuous trauma. Injured workers need to seek a workers compensation settlement for possible neck fusion surgery in order to avoid unnecessary long-term consequences.
Five of the leading causes work-related neck pain include degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis, sprains/strains, and whiplash.
Most Common Causes of Work-Related Neck Injuries?
Degenerative Disc Disease
In many cases, neck pain is the result of an injury to the spine. This includes the condition known as degenerative disc disease. While some people will experience degenerative disc disease simply as a result of aging, repetitive stress (or “wear and tear”) at work can speed up the degenerative process.
A herniated disc is another type of spine injury that can cause neck pain. These injuries can result from all types of work-related accidents—from slips and fall to vehicle collisions. In many cases, workers who suffer herniated discs will suffer other neck injuries as well, and obtaining full workers’ comp benefits will require a thorough diagnosis and experienced legal representation.
Osteoarthritis, also simply known as arthritis, is another common type of work-related “wear and tear” injury. Many workers suffer from osteoarthritis as the result of repetitive stress—such as working with hand tools, assembling products, operating heavy machinery, driving, and typing.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. While these work-related neck injuries most often result from trauma (i.e. a vehicle collision or fall), they can also result from maintaining a bent or awkward neck position for an extended period of time.
Despite common misconceptions, whiplash is a serious neck injury that can put individuals out of work for an extended period of time. After a worker suffers whiplash, rest is critical, and it is extremely important that the worker not resume his or her job duties too soon.
What Qualifies as a Neck Injury?
In order to be qualify for a neck workers compensation claim or injury, there are two basic criteria you need to meet in most states:
(1) you must be an employee, and
(2) you must have suffered your neck injury on the job.
How Much a Neck Injury in the Workplace Can Cost You
The total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion. The total also includes damage to motor vehicles in work-related injuries of $5.0 billion and fire losses of $3.7 billion.
The cost per worker in 2019 was $1,100. This includes the value of goods or services each worker must produce to offset the cost of work injuries. It is not the average cost of a work-related injury.
Injured workers may need extensive trauma care or emergency transportation after a neck injury. Injured workers could spend several days in the hospital and may need specialized equipment during your recovery. California Work Injury Law Center will assist you in seeking reimbursement by the insurance carrier and/or obtaining future medical care.
In reference to medical bills or care, there may be physical therapy expenses to help you regain full function, especially if you suffered some kind of nerve damage. Workers’ compensation can help you by covering 100% of those potentially significant medical costs.
Time off work
When you sustain a work-related neck injury, you may be eligible for paid time off of work. Once you know you will need to miss a week or more of work, you may qualify for short-term disability benefits while you undergo treatment. If you have a denied neck claim, you can apply for State Disability Insurance. If you have an accepted neck work injury and your primary treating physician has deemed your temporary total disabled, you are eligible for benefits from the workers’ compensation carrier.
Workers who will never be able to go back to work may qualify for permanent total disability benefits. Many times, neck injuries will result in job limitations. A worker may be able to go back to work but not to the same profession. Permanent partial disability benefits can help workers with long-term symptoms from a neck injury continue meeting their financial obligations.
The most common types of mild to moderate neck pain usually respond well to self-care within two or three weeks. If neck pain persists, your doctor might recommend other treatments.
Your doctor might prescribe stronger pain medicine than what you can get over-the-counter, as well as muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants for pain relief.
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you correct posture, alignment and neck-strengthening exercises, and can use heat, ice, electrical stimulation and other measures to help ease your pain and prevent a recurrence.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Electrodes placed on your skin near the painful areas deliver tiny electrical impulses that may relieve pain.
- Traction. Traction uses weights, pulleys or an air bladder to gently stretch your neck. This therapy, under supervision of a medical professional and physical therapist, may provide relief of some neck pain, especially pain related to nerve root irritation.
- Short-term immobilization. A soft collar that supports your neck may help relieve pain by taking pressure off the structures in your neck. However, if used for more than three hours at a time or for more than one to two weeks, a collar might do more harm than good.
Surgical and other procedures
- Steroid injections. Your doctor might inject corticosteroid medications near the nerve roots, into the small facet joints in the bones of the cervical spine or into the muscles in your neck to help with pain. Numbing medications, such as lidocaine, also can be injected to relieve your neck pain.
Surgery. Rarely needed for neck pain, surgery might be an option for relieving nerve root or spinal cord compression.
Hire an Injury Lawyer to Handle Your Neck Injury Workers’ Comp Claim
Although most workers with neck injuries eventually receive compensation, many initially have their claims denied and need to litigate the claim. It is important to hire California Work Injury Law Center to help you through the process so you can receive more compensation than employees who don’t hire a lawyer.
California Work Injury Law Center charges what’s known as a “contingency fee,” which is a 15% of your overall settlement or award. This means that you do not have to pay anything up front, and if you do not recover a settlement you do not pay anything. Injured workers who have a lawyer to guide them through the workers’ comp process still generally take home more in compensation than those who do not hire a lawyer.
When Can A Neck Injury Lawyer Pursue Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers deny most claims and claim that your neck pain is not work-related, but is instead the result of a pre-existing condition. For example, they may point to a car accident that happened while you were off duty, an old sports injury, or simply the effects of aging on the cervical spine or neck.
It is imperative that you call California Work Injury Law Center to advocate on your behalf. Even if you have a prior injury, your new injury may still be covered by workers’ compensation if it is aggravated by the old one (but you might not receive as much compensation). In the case of other claimed pre-existing conditions, such as the effects of aging, you may be able to demonstrate that it was performing your job duties—not getting older—that actually caused your neck pain.
To increase your odds of recovering workers’ compensation benefits, make sure to contact California Work Injury Law Center so that we can navigate on how to discuss your injury with medical providers and whether it is an aggravation or exacerbation of your prior injury.