When someone mentions workplace injuries, one of the first examples many people will think of is an employee with an injured back. Since back injuries are some of the most common experiences at work, this association makes sense. Back injuries are both common and varied and a frequent cause of Workers’ Compensation claims.
Several factors determine how much you will be paid in a Workers’ Compensation settlement for a back injury. The severity of the injury, the amount of time you are not able to work, and whether you are completely or partially disabled all contribute to the amount of compensation you may receive. Generally, medical expenses and any lost wages will be covered by Workers’ Compensation.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates have experience handling Workers’ Compensation claims for back injuries and can evaluate your circumstance to estimate a settlement amount. Call us today at (215) 355-6400 for a free case review.
What Kind of Back Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania?
77 Pa.C.S. § 411(1) defines injuries covered by Workers’ Compensation as those that arise during employment. This is a very wide definition that applies to a majority of workplace injuries. There are a few exclusions that apply, like injuries that you purposefully cause to claim Workers’ Compensation, car accidents that occur while commuting, or injuries that happen when you are not performing your job duties. A wide variety of back injuries would fit into this definition.
First of all, there are numerous types of back injuries. A person’s back is comprised of bones, muscles, ligaments, vertebrae, disks, and connective tissue. Any of these components can become hurt while working. Examples of common back injuries include the following:
- Muscle sprain
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Fractured (broken) vertebrae
- Spinal nerve damage, like sciatica
- Posture dysfunction
Some back injuries are accidental and result from a fall or unexpected strain on the back, like when lifting an unexpectedly heavy box. Other back injuries are not accidental but the result of routine, repetitive actions that wear down the back over time. Poor posture when sitting at a desk for long periods of time or repeatedly lifting heavy loads can cause this latter type of injury. Both accidental and non-accidental injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation if they occur in the course of performing your job duties.
What Workers’ Compensation Am I Entitled to for a Back Injury in Pennsylvania?
There are several categories of compensation that are available following a workplace back injury in Pennsylvania. When an employee suffers from a back injury, they will most likely receive a settlement offer that covers medical expenses and lost wages. Figuring out if a settlement offer is fair can be tricky if you do not know what you are entitled to under Pennsylvania law. Two categories of compensation that are generally available for a back injury are discussed below. Our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers can work with you to evaluate the fairness of any settlement offers.
Medical expenses are any bills incurred due to the injury. These types of expenses can be as varied as back injuries themselves. Fees associated with identifying an injury, like performing x-rays or seeing a specialist physician, would count as a medical expense. Also included are costs of treatment ranging from simple interventions like pain medication to invasive, major surgeries. Other recovery costs like physical therapy would also be considered a type of medical expense.
The amount of compensation you could receive for medical expenses depends on the actual cost of the expenses incurred. This is a factor in the severity of your injury, the amount of medical intervention needed, and how long the injury lasts.
Workers’ Compensation settlements may also include lost wages if you are completely unable to work due to your injury. Additionally, if you can only complete a portion of your job duties or can only perform a job that pays less than you were capable of earning prior to the injury, you could receive partial disability payments.
Lost wages are typically about two thirds of your average weekly wages, and they are capped at a weekly maximum of $1,273.00 for 2023. The exact amount of compensation you may receive weekly is highly specific to your job and current salary. The best way to estimate the amount of compensation you could expect is to speak to our Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers.
Will I Receive Ongoing Payments or a Lump-Sum for My Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law allows you to receive weekly ongoing benefits, but insurance companies may try to settle for a lump sum payment. Whether to accept a lump sum payment is your decision. If you have recovered from your injury and do not expect to incur additional medical expenses and the payment will financial support your time out of work, then a one-time payment could benefit you. However, if you expect to continue to receive ongoing medical treatment and you are unsure how long you will not be able to work, then a single payment could provide less compensation than you would receive via ongoing weekly payments. Ultimately, you should discuss your situation with your doctor and our Montgomery Workers’ Compensation lawyers to determine which type of payment is best in your situation.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for My Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Back Injury?
A lawyer is not needed for you to file a Workers’ Compensation claim or negotiate a settlement from your employer’s insurance company. However, the value of your claim heavily depends on the specific facts surrounding your injury and the associated medical treatment. The valuation methods can become complex, and dealing with an insurance company when you are trying to recover from a painful injury can be overwhelming.
Our attorneys have handled many different Workers’ Compensation claims and are familiar with the value of similar injuries. We can determine the estimated value of your claim and fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Call Our Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorneys to Discuss Your Back Injury Claim
The Chester County Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates can review the facts of your case and negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf. Call us today for a free discussion at (215) 355-6400.