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What Happens When a Work Injury Causes Your Aching Back
The fact that you’re huddled over in pain equates to more than an understatement. No doubt your aching back is entirely related to a work injury. It could have been one specific incident that put you in your current state. Or, it might be that a series of events – or occupational exposure – is the root cause of your problems.
Take this scenario for example. Your job as a warehouse associate requires you to lift and move heavy merchandise. You adhere to all safety requirements while handling packages and devices. As far as that goes, you wear the lumbar brace provided by your employer. You also use dollies to move bulky items.
In the meantime, there’s no denying the physical requirements of your position. You are constantly on your feet and your job involves frequent lifting, bending, reaching, and carrying all size items. The inevitable happens.
One day, you are unloading a very heavy box from the delivery truck when you experience a sharp and intense pain in your lower back and down your leg. You instantly realize you might have hurt yourself. You have trouble moving. It turns out that you have a herniated disc.
What is a Back Injury?
Back injuries at work are not uncommon. All it takes is the wrong move. According to the Occupational and Safety Administration (OSHA), back injuries are the leading cause of disability found among people hurt at work. Many jobs require movements and duties that can result in serious workplace back injuries. A work-related back injury can be traumatic and keep you off the job for weeks or months.
Workplace back injuries can be complex and varied. Workplace back injuries may arise from routines such as handling heavy objects or sitting at an office computer too long. Any repetitive motion can lead to back strain, such as typing without a break or working long hours at a supermarket checkout. Workplace back injuries can also arise from accidents or negligence on the part of someone else.
The results can be shoulder and neck injury, spinal cord injury, a slipped or herniated disc, torn ligaments, a strain or sprain, or fractured vertebrae. These injuries are painful and often debilitating and will interrupt you daily living and potentially change your life.
Making a Claim
If you injure your back at work, you will undoubtedly have lots of questions. What do you do next? Is anyone at fault? Did your employer take steps to ensure safe working conditions and procedures with reasonable deadlines? Will you lose work? Can you make a compensation claim? How much compensation is available for a back injury?
New Jersey’s workers’ compensation can help people with all types of injuries. You can make a claim for either partial or total permanent disability. Keep in mind that it is possible to receive an award for partial permanent disability and still return to work. However, filing for workers’ compensation and dealing with insurance companies will be a challenging process. You might meet with some resistance. No matter the severity of the injury, it is critical that you seek legal counsel who can prove your back injury is related to your employment and provide advice and guidance.