Every year, back strains rank among the most common injuries that people suffer at work in Georgia. Some people suffer sudden back injuries, while other people develop work-related back problems over a period of months or years. In fact, repetitive bending or lifting is a common cause of work-related back injuries.
IMPORTANT: Whether your injury happened suddenly or as a result of work duties over time, be sure to tell your employer and your medical provider as soon as you think your injury might be work-related. When you go to the doctor, be as specific as you can about how the injury occurred at work and whether the injury was the result of repetitive stress or a sudden event. Reporting a back injury as work-related is a crucial step in the process of claiming your workers’ compensation benefits.
Back injuries and workers’ comp claims: Don’t let the insurance company deny your injury
Across the United States, back injuries account for over 20% of workplace injuries. In fact, workers’ compensation insurance companies pay out tens of millions of dollars each year to injured employees. But it’s important to keep in mind that workers’ comp benefits will not come to you automatically. Insurance companies and employers will do what they can to avoid paying out benefits, and it’s common for injured workers to have their claims partially or even wholly denied. That is why injured workers need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on their side.
Another important thing to understand is that some workers’ comp doctors will try to say that a work-related back injury was actually pre-existing. This is especially common when the injured person is 40 years of age or older — because that is commonly when people start to experience degeneration of the spine. And even though there may not have been any problems previously, the doctor may say the problem is preexisting, and the workers’ compensation insurance company may try to use that to deny medical treatment or, in some instances, the entire claim. In short, if you have injured your back at work (be it a specific incident or from repetitive stress) it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer from the outset. That way, you have someone on your side from the very start to protect your right to workers’ comp benefits.
A back injury can have a major impact on your life
If your injury is work-related, it’s important to identify it as such — and to take the workers’ comp claims process seriously. Even if your injury isn’t completely disabling, you may still have to take time off from work, and that can greatly reduce your income. You’ll also have to figure out how to pay your medical bills. Georgia workers’ comp covers wage replacement, as well as medical treatment and other costs.
To learn more about the Georgia workers’ compensation system, please see our Georgia Workers’ Comp Dos and Don’ts. The Law Office of Perry Dean Ellis represents injured workers throughout the Atlanta area.