back injury at work

Almost every movement you make involves your back. If your job requires you to lift heavy objects or make repetitive movements, you run the risk of suffering a painful back injury. But even office workers who sit all day can develop chronic back pain and limited mobility. Treating these conditions may require extensive and expensive medical treatment. Fortunately, South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system provides financial relief to most injured employees while they recover.

Most South Carolina employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers in case of a job injury. Workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment, partial wage replacement, and other disability benefits for qualifying employees. However, the claims process can be overwhelming and fraught with red tape. Getting assistance from an experienced attorney can help things run smoothly.

The Florence workplace back injury lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm have over 50 years of experience helping hardworking South Carolinians recover maximum compensation after workplace injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Common Back Injuries That Occur at Work in Florence

Back injuries can range from mild strains to severe and permanent damage. Some of the most common workplace back injuries in Florence include:

  • Lumbar strain – Overstretching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower back
  • Herniated disc – Damage to the rubbery cushions between the vertebrae that allow for spinal flexibility
  • Sciatica – Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the leg
  • Spinal stenosis – Narrowing of the spinal canal that houses the spinal cord, causing weakness, numbness, and pain in the back, legs, neck, or arms
  • Fractured vertebrae – Breaks in the vertebrae, often caused by traumatic events
  • Spinal cord injury – Trauma to the spinal cord, potentially leading to temporary or permanent paralysis

Common Causes of Work-Related Back Injuries

Back injuries frequently result from the physical demands of the workplace. Common causes include: 

  • Lifting or moving heavy objects improperly, especially when bending and twisting
  • Repetitive motions
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Prolonged sitting or standing without changing posture
  • Operating vibrating machinery, like forklifts or jackhammers
  • Car accidents
  • Workplace violence

Recognizing Symptoms of Back Injuries

Some common symptoms that may indicate a back injury include:

  • Persistent or sudden onset of pain in the back, especially in the lower back or neck
  • Radiating pain down the arms or legs
  • Limited range of motion or stiffness
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Muscle spasms
  • Shooting pain down the legs when standing up, walking, coughing, or sneezing
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Pain that prevents you from sleeping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain that doesn’t go away with standard medications like Tylenol or ibuprofen

Getting a medical diagnosis and starting treatment promptly is crucial for preventing long-term damage from a back injury.

Seeking Medical Care Following a Workplace Back Injury in Florence, SC

Seek immediate medical attention if you suffer a back injury at work in Florence. A doctor’s examination can improve your chances of recovery and create a documented link between the event that caused your injury and the symptoms you are experiencing.

South Carolina law requires you to see a doctor of your employer’s choosing when receiving treatment. Failure to comply could result in forfeiture of your right to have your medical expenses paid through workers’ compensation. If you need emergency care, you can attend an ER of your choice. However, any follow-up care should be authorized by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company.

What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for a Workplace Back Injury?

The compensation you receive for a back injury at work depends on the claim you file.

If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you can receive:

  • Wage-replacement benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage before your injury
  • Compensation for the cost of your injury-related medical care
  • Permanent disability compensation

However, you may be able to file a personal injury claim if your back injury resulted from the actions of a third party (e.g., someone who does not own or work for your company). In personal injury cases, you could recover compensation for losses like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity if your injuries require you to take a lower-paying job
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Knowing which type of claim you can file can be challenging, but it’s essential to maximize your compensation. A personal injury claim has the advantage of allowing you to receive compensation for pain and suffering, which a workers’ comp claim does not. However, workers’ compensation benefits are available to eligible workers regardless of fault. In a personal injury case, you must prove someone else caused your injury to recover compensation.

Consulting with an experienced Florence workplace back injury attorney can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation and estimate how much your case is worth.

Navigating Workers’ Compensation Claims After a Back Injury in Florence, SC

Although workers’ compensation benefits are a right for most injured employees in South Carolina, insurance companies try hard to reduce or reject valid claims. Potential pitfalls for an injured worker who files a workers’ compensation claim alone include:

  • Missing deadlines
  • Making mistakes on paperwork
  • Providing conflicting information
  • Failing to provide sufficient evidence of their injury

These types of errors can lead to unfair delays or denials at a time when you are most in need. Crucially, you should remember that South Carolina workers’ comp regulations require you to report a workplace injury to your employer within 90 days. The sooner you notify them of your injury, the stronger your workers’ compensation claim will be.

How a Florence Work Injury Attorney Can Assist You After a Workplace Back Injury 

Maximizing your compensation for a back injury at work means collaborating with attorneys who understand the South Carolina workers’ compensation system and how to make it work for you. Consulting an experienced Florence workplace back injury lawyer as soon as possible can help you avoid setbacks and appeals.

At Jebaily Law Firm, we will investigate the incident that led to your back injury, gather evidence to show it is work-related, and represent you at every stage of the process. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to go it alone. Call us or contact us today for a free consultation.