If you suffer from back pain because of a work-related injury, it is important to understand how this could affect your life and your future. Back injuries are the most common work-related injury suffered by workers and one of the main reasons they seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation laws in Las Vegas are there to help pay for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages after an on-the-job accident. While it should be easy to collect workers’ compensation after a work-related back injury in Las Vegas, it rarely is. Injured Las Vegas workers are often surprised to realize how difficult it can be to collect the benefits they are entitled to.
If you suffered a back injury at work, you may wonder what the average workers’ compensation settlement is for back injuries?
Our Las Vegas workers’ compensation lawyers can help answer this question. We understand the challenges of back injuries sustained at work and we know exactly how much you might expect to receive for them through the Las Vegas workers’ compensation system.
On the Job Back Injuries
Did Work Cause Your Back Injury?
Your back is the foundation structure of your musculoskeletal system, and a focal point of just about all motility your body can experience. Your flexibility and range of motion depend on the strength of your back, the condition of your tendons and ligaments, and on the bony structures of your spinal column that protect your spinal cord, the communication conduit for your nervous system.
A back injury is seldom minor. Something as simple as a pinched nerve or a pulled muscle can cause months or more of chronic pain and limited range of motion. More serious back injuries, like herniated disks, or vertebral fractures, or spinal cord damage, can leave you incapacitated for days, weeks, or even an entire lifetime.
There are numerous types of back injuries suffered on the job. These injuries are often caused by manual labor, heavy lifting, and repetitive motions. They occur frequently and sometimes without warning. As such, insurance companies are often suspicious of injured workers that claim back injuries, especially when those injuries involve soft tissue damage that can be difficult to diagnose.
Back Injuries Impair Your Ability to Work
Anyone who has suffered a back injury knows just how difficult it can make an average workday. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 97,990 hours were lost to injuries caused by overexertion at work.
Back injuries cause:
- Limited range of motion: This includes twisting, lifting your arms over your head, sitting fully upright, etc. The things you do in everyday life.
- Limited ability to do repetitive tasks or lift objects over 10lbs: If your livelihood depends on your ability to move or carry objects, this injury could mean you are no longer fit to work in this profession. That is pretty much every profession to some degree.
- Pinched or damaged nerve symptoms: This might result in a continual tingling sensation, nerve pain, or reduced sensation in extremities. It may become difficult to sit or stand for long periods of time, grasp objects reliably or comfortably, or move without pain or discomfort.
- Chronic shooting pain: This may result in a permanent disability or reduction in one’s ability to work or even care for oneself. In some cases, chronic pain could result in a dependence on opioids or other pain killers. Anti-inflammatory drugs used long-term can lead to kidney and/or liver failure as well, just for pain management.
- Paralysis: Partial or full, paralysis is a serious condition with life-changing consequences. Some forms of paralysis can affect your mobility temporarily, with a back injury that is treatable and recoverable. Other forms of paralysis may result in a permanent loss of function and sensation in your body.
Any of these symptoms can make working difficult, if not impossible.
How Does the Las Vegas Workers’ Compensation Settlement Process Work?
When injured workers reach maximum medical improvement, they will need to reach a settlement with the insurance company regarding their back injury. This is the most common reason injured workers seek settlements. Other injured workers may seek a settlement because the insurance company refuses to pay a workers’ compensation claim after a back injury. No matter your reason, an experienced Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorney can help you through the process.
Your attorney will begin by contacting the insurance company representative in charge of handling your back injury claim. They will then start the process of negotiating a settlement. This settlement should include all the money you will need to pay for lost time at work, loss of future earnings, and any medical expenses you may incur in the future. The negotiation process for reaching a workers’ compensation settlement for a back injury is long and often arduous. For this reason alone it is important to have an attorney on your side from the start.
Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement For a Back Injury
How Much Should I Receive From Workers’ Comp for My Back Injury?
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to that question. Every back injury is different, and the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive depends on several factors, including:
- The cost of medical care necessary to treat your injury
- The “percentage” of disability your injury causes
- The amount of time you can expect to be unable to work because of your injury
- Your age, life expectancy, and other personal information
- Unpaid temporary disability benefits
- Permanent impairments
As you can imagine, these factors vary widely from person-to-person.
There is data is available about the “average” workers’ compensation settlements for back injuries on a national scale. The National Safety Council (NSC), a non-profit organization, collects extensive data about workplace injuries, including workers’ compensation costs.
Average Settlement for Workers’ Compensation Upper Back Injury
According to the NSC, the nationwide average workers’ compensation cost associated with an upper back injury—which is a combination of medical costs and “indemnity” (i.e., disability) benefits—was just over $32,000 (split more-or-less evenly between medical costs and disability payments).
Average Settlement for Workers’ Compensation Lower Back Injury
The nationwide average workers’ comp payout for a lower back injury was $36,608 (again, split more or less evenly between paying for medical care and paying disability benefits to the worker).
We caution, however, that you should not put too much stock in these numbers. The NSC’s data represents an average of all claims across the United States. The amount of money you should expect to receive as workers’ compensation benefits for your particular back injury may vary widely from that average. Speaking with an experienced Las Vegas workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way to figure out the scope and type of benefits you should get for your workplace back injury.
Can I Collect Other Benefits and Compensation After a Work-related Back Injury?
Be aware, also, that workers’ compensation insurance benefits may not represent the only source of money available to help you pay for the costs and losses associated with your Las Vegas back injury. Your employer’s legal liability to you is, by and large, covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, third parties (someone other than your employer or coworkers) may have a legal liability to you for causing your workplace back injury.
For example, if you sustained your back injury in a motor vehicle accident that happened while you were driving a delivery van for your employer, then if the other driver was “at fault” for the accident, that driver may have a legal liability to you.
Disadvantages of Reaching a Las Vegas Workers’ Compensation Settlement
If you suffered a back injury at work, you may need money to help support you during your recovery. This is understandable. However, reaching a settlement with the insurance company after an on-the-job back injury can have some disadvantages.
After you reach a settlement, you agree to release all current and future workers’ compensation claims. This means that any future expenses will be your responsibility to bear financially. If you are not careful and do not negotiate your settlement aggressively, you may find that you do not have enough money to pay for all the treatment your injury requires. If you are unable to return to work, you may run out of income that you and your family desperately need.
To avoid accepting too low of a settlement after a work-related back injury, it is important to have an experienced Las Vegas workers’ compensation lawyer on your case.
How a Las Vegas Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help
Many workers find that the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits seems difficult and full of opportunities for making a mistake. One way to help ensure you receive the maximum benefits you deserve for your back injury is to work with an experienced Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorney who can help you prepare, pursue, and (if necessary) appeal a claim.
A knowledgeable Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorney can also spot situations where you may have the right to take legal action against a third party for your back injury. If that is the case, then the attorney can investigate the case, prepare it, and file it in court.
You can wait too long to protect your legal rights to compensation. The clock is already ticking on your deadline to seek workers’ comp benefits and to take legal action (if that option is available). To learn about your right to receive payments for your work-related back injury, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney without delay.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101