According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries at work are extremely common. In fact, musculoskeletal disorders involving the back accounted for 38.5 percent of all work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Even a small amount of trauma to the back can lead to paralysis, nerve damage, chronic pain, and other painful symptoms that could require years of medical treatment and therapy. Whether your back injury develops over time or is the result of one incident, back injuries may be covered under workers compensation benefits in New Jersey.
Your Back Injury Must Have Occured at Work or Be Related to Your Job
One of the most important elements of your workers compensation claim for back injuries will be proving that the injury is related to the workplace. If you were injured in a workplace accident, it may be slightly more straightforward to prove that your injury is related to your job. In some cases, back injuries can be chronic and exacerbated in certain situations and may be harder to prove that they are work-related.
Certain occupations are known to have risks for back injuries, which may help your claim if that’s your case. For instance, healthcare workers often have to do a lot of bending, stretching and even lifting patients which can cause back injury.
Your medical records will be an important part of your claim and proving the back injury is work-related. Because back injury workers compensation claims can be challenging to prove and may be disputed, it’s critical to discuss your case with an attorney. Experienced New Jersey workers compensation lawyers, like the attorney team of Brandon J. Broderick, can build evidence to prove your case. If your employer or its insurance company attempts to deny your claim, they can fight the denial on your behalf.
Workers Comp Benefits for Back Injury
Workers compensation provides many types of benefits to injured workers, regardless of fault. These benefits include medical benefits, which pay for hospital and healthcare bills as a result of the injury or illness, as well as a portion of lost income for the period in which the employee cannot work. In New Jersey, workers compensation benefits are 70% of the workers’ weekly pay, up to the state maximum. For 2021, the maximum is $969/week.
Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, workers compensation benefits can be temporary or permanent and may include the full benefit amount or a partial amount. For hearing loss injuries, the benefit payments will also depend on the extent of the hearing damage in each ear. Potential benefit types include:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation services and devices.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability. Permanent disability may be partial or full, depending on the extent of the injuries.
- Temporary Disability: You may be able to receive 70 percent of the wages of your average weekly amount if your temporary disability claim is approved.
What to Do if Your Workers Comp Claim is Denied
Your employer or it’s workers compensation insurance provider may deny or devalue your claim for a back injury. Because back injuries can be harder to prove, the insurance company may try to claim you had a pre-existing condition, the injury isn’t as severe as you claim or that the injury isn’t work-related.
If your claim is fully or partially denied, you should contact a workers compensation lawyer to review your case. New Jersey has an informal and formal appeals process for situations where employers and employees are in a dispute about workers comp benefits. Having a skilled, experienced lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Get Help for your Back Injury Workers Compensation Claim
If you have a back injury due to an accident or chronic injury on the job or if your claim has been denied, it's in your best interest to discuss your case with an experienced workers comp lawyer. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, our team offers expertise in workers compensation and employment law. Our compassionate client care and tenacious negotiation can get you the compensation you are entitled to.
Contact us immediately for a free consultation to understand your options.