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What To Do If You Suffer A Back Injury At Work

Depending on your occupation, work can really do a number on your back. In fact, back injuries are the second most common type of work injury, with hand injuries being the most prevalent. A few common workplace back injuries include:

  • Pinched nerves
  • Lower back strain
  • Bulging, herniated, and slipped discs
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Spinal cord damage

The majority of workplace back injuries are a result of overextension or twisting of the spine from heavy lifting, pushing, pulling or poor posture while sitting for long periods of time. Back injuries can be quite painful in nature and often require extended treatment and recovery period.

What To Do If You Suffer A Back Injury At Work?

If you have sustained a back injury at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are put in place to help pay for your medical and therapy bills, the cost of transportation to and from treatment, and about two-thirds of your lost wages.

The process begins when you first report your injury to your employer or manager. Typically, the first report is filed onto a DWC-1 form. You will need to record the specific time, date, and cause of your back injury within this form. If you are too injured to complete this form and need to be hospitalized, you will need to wait until you are stable to do so.

After you have reported your injury, you will need to obtain a list of company-approved physicians from your employer and choose one to be your primary physician. Your primary physician will be responsible for evaluating your back injury and making referrals to any specialists or other healthcare providers you may need to see during your treatment and care.

Once your primary physician has determined that you are at the level of MMI, also known as Maximum Medical Improvement, they will provide you with a return to work form. This form will state whether you can return to your former job or not.

If your back injury has been diagnosed as:

  • Temporary partial disability – You may be able to return to work after a recovery period.
  • Permanent partial disability – You may be able to return to work, but you will no longer be able to return to your former job duties. If possible, your employer might be able to assign you to another position within the company that can better accommodate your disability. However, if such a position is not available, you may have to look for employment elsewhere.
  • Permanent total disability – You will not be able to return to your former job, but your company might be able to reassign you if a more accommodating position exists.

What Kind Of Treatment Can You Expect For Your Back Injury?

Treatment for back injuries can vary a bit from needing hot and cold compresses to needing extensive surgery. It will all depend on the severity of your injuries and how much pain management you will require.

Your primary physician may suggest that you use drugs to reduce the pain and inflammation such as ibuprofen or aspirin. If the pain is severe enough, your physician may even prescribe narcotic painkillers such as Vicodin or Percodan.

Other forms of treatment you can expect include: chiropractic care, massage, and even ultrasound therapy.

While most injured employees will want to get back to work immediately, especially after trying to survive on partial wages, it is vital that you follow your prescribed treatment and only return to work after making a full recovery. Back injuries are serious and failing to allow your injuries to heal properly will increase your risk of getting re-injured before long.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

What To Do If You Suffer A Back Injury At Work

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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