Worker with back pain in the office

If your job requires you to regularly lift heavy objects, perform repetitive movements, or sit in a sedentary position all day, your back can be negatively affected. Back pain and back injuries can make it difficult, if not impossible, to carry out your work-related duties. In addition, back injuries can cause long-term pain.

If you suffered a back injury in the workplace in North Myrtle Beach or elsewhere in South Carolina, you could be entitled to compensation that could provide treatment and replace a portion of your lost income. In South Carolina, any business that employs at least four people must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Although you don’t have to prove fault to secure workers’ compensation benefits, the claims process can still be daunting. Your claim could get delayed, or the insurance company may try to avoid paying. In certain situations, injured workers may also have grounds to pursue lawsuits, either instead of or in addition to a worker’s compensation claim. To have the best chance of recovering the benefits you deserve, we recommend hiring a North Myrtle Beach work injury attorney from Jebaily Law Firm. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Most Common Back Injuries After an Accident at Work

Some of the most common back injuries sustained in the workplace include:

  • Thoracic spine injuries – Thoracic spine injuries occur due to trauma along the main part of the spinal cord, affecting the upper chest, mid-back, and abdomen. Thoracic spine injuries tend to be severe, and the damage caused by trauma can be permanent.
  • Lumbar spine injuries – Lumbar spine injuries occur in the lower back area and affect the legs and hips. Individuals with severe lumbar spine injuries might need a wheelchair, a walker, or leg braces. Even less severe lumbar injuries like sprains and strains can cause chronic pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
  • Herniated disc – Herniated discs occur when the soft, jelly-like center of a spinal disc is forced out of the disc’s outer protective shell, resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Spinal cord injuries – Damage to the spinal cord can cause permanent paralysis. Depending on the location of the injury and the severity of the trauma, paralysis can occur in the lower limbs and pelvis (paraplegia) or all four limbs (quadriplegia). The most severe type of spinal cord injury is known as a cervical spinal cord injury. Cervical spinal cord injuries occur in the upper spine or neck area and can lead to permanent loss of motor function.
  • Strains and sprains – Back strains occur when tendons or muscles in the back are stretched or torn, while sprains involve stretched or torn ligaments. Back sprains and strains can cause chronic pain, muscle spasms, and decreased range of motion.

Some of the most common causes of back injuries include:

  • Repeated heavy lifting and carrying
  • Spending long hours standing, walking, or hunched over a workspace
  • Being struck by a heavy object
  • Using heavy machinery

Symptoms of Back Injuries

Some of the most common symptoms of a back injury include:

  • Pain that stays the same or pulses
  • Tingling or loss of sensation
  • Shooting pain
  • Weakness
  • Burning pain
  • Stabbing pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Throbbing pain
  • Numbness
  • Dull aches
  • Pain that worsens with bending, twisting, lifting, or walking
  • Difficulty standing or sitting for long periods

If you sustain a back injury on the job, you will most likely need to seek medical attention. Back injuries can be expensive to treat, especially if your doctor recommends surgery or physical therapy. You should not be responsible for those costs if your injury occurred while you were doing your job. You have a legal right to claim workers’ compensation for any injury you suffer in the workplace.

Getting Medical Care After a Workplace Back Injury in North Myrtle Beach

If you suffered a workplace back injury in North Myrtle Beach, you should seek prompt medical attention. Report the injury to your employer as soon as it has occurred or as soon as you begin to experience symptoms.

In South Carolina, your employer can require you to see a specific doctor or select a physician from a list of providers. If you visit your own doctor, workers’ compensation most likely won’t cover the cost of the visit or any treatment you receive.

However, if you need to go to the emergency room immediately after being injured, you can choose the ER. As long as you tell the treating physician at the ER that you were injured in the workplace, workers’ compensation should cover the ER visit.

If your employer requires you to see a specific doctor for ongoing treatment, it is important to remember that your employer and their insurance provider have selected them. Their priority will be minimizing costs and treating your injuries as quickly as possible to get you back on the job.

You can help yourself by making detailed notes about your symptoms before your doctor’s visit. That way, all of your complaints are included in your medical record. You also have a right to receive a copy of your medical record. If you disagree with the doctor’s views, you can get a second opinion, though that expense will likely come out of your pocket.

What to Expect When Filing for Workers’ Compensation After a Back Injury in North Myrtle Beach

Insurance companies will look for any excuse to reduce or minimize your claim. If you make any errors on your paperwork, miss any deadlines, or provide conflicting information, they could use it as an excuse to reduce your compensation or deny coverage. The insurance company’s chief goal is to save money and protect its bottom line.

If you suffer an on-the-job back injury, you must alert your employer. Even if you believe it’s only minor, you should report it. Many back injuries take days or weeks to fully manifest. If you fail to report the injury promptly, you might not be able to get the benefits you need and deserve.

The workers’ compensation claims process can be long and burdensome. That’s why it is critical to get an attorney involved from the outset.

Work Injury Lawsuits and Third-Party Claims

In certain situations, injured workers may also have grounds to pursue lawsuits, either instead of or in addition to a worker’s compensation claim. While South Carolina workers’ compensation laws generally prevent employees from suing their employers, even if the employer is at fault for their injuries, these protections do not extend to parties outside the employment arrangement. 

If someone other than a worker’s employer or a co-worker injures them, the worker could have grounds to file a third-party personal injury claim against them. Examples of third parties who might be liable for a worker’s injuries include:

  • Contractors and subcontractors who do not exercise sufficient care while working nearby
  • Property owners who fail to keep safe premises
  • Motorists, in the event of a work-related traffic accident
  • Manufacturers of faulty or defective equipment

A third-party claim allows an injured worker to recover additional types of compensation not available through workers’ comp, including:

  • The total value of their lost wages beyond the two-thirds cap under the workers’ compensation system
  • Diminished earning potential if the injury affects the worker’s career
  • Physical pain and mental suffering caused by the injury
  • Reduced quality of life if the injury leads to long-term impairment
  • Damaged personal property when relevant

If you suspect someone other than your employer or a co-worker was to blame for your work-related injuries, contact Jebaily Law Firm immediately. We can investigate the accident, recover evidence to establish a third party’s fault and determine if you have grounds to pursue additional compensation from them.

What Can a North Myrtle Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do for Me After a Back Injury at Work?

The experienced North Myrtle Beach work injury attorneys at Jebaily Law Firm want to help you. We can fill out your paperwork, obtain medical evidence to prove your claim, represent you at any hearings, negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and help you file an appeal if your initial claim is denied.

If the insurance company fails to process your claim on time, our attorneys may be able to help expedite the process and will fight tirelessly for your right to seek financial relief.

Contact us today for a free case review.