Workers’ Compensation Claims for Back Injuries in Tennessee
Professional guidance through your Tennessee back injury workers’ compensation claim
The workplace can be a dangerous environment, leading to serious injuries. Even the seemingly harmless nature of an office can become hazardous when employees are made to lift heavy boxes filled with files or office supplies. Any type of substantial lifting puts the back at risk of injury. Whether your injury occurred while loading, unloading, or working on a construction site, you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we have been helping injured workers since 1945. Our Chattanooga back injury lawyers understand the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim and provide you with trusted legal guidance throughout the entire process.
Work-related back injuries fall into two categories
You may have suffered a back injury in the course of your work as a nurse, a construction worker, a loading dock worker or a warehouse stocker. Your injured muscles, ligaments or discs can be considered work related if the injury occurred during the course of your employment, meaning you were performing your job duties at the time of the accident.
Back injuries on the job are generally classified into one of two categories:
- One-time traumatic injuries. With these injuries, the pain occurs suddenly, or develops within 24 hours of the lifting incident.
- Cumulative injuries. These injuries develop over time and are associated with repeated lifting tasks on the job. These are also known as repetitive stress injuries.
After experiencing a back injury, your injuries may require medical care, and you may be unable to continue working, either temporarily or permanently, because of pain and discomfort.
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Back injuries are a leading cause of time off from work for employees. Workers with back injuries usually need to treat with pain management doctors and family doctors. They may need to see a neurosurgeon to have a stimulator inserted. Many workers with back injuries find chiropractic treatments helpful. Workers also often see physical therapists on a regular basis if they have back pain.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), back injuries generally occur due to repeated wear and tear on the back over time or due to a single event. Many workers fail to treat their injuries until they just can’t bear the pain any longer, or until an incident, such as lifting something much too heavy, wrenches their back.
Common back injuries at work
There are any number of ways a worker might seriously injure his or her back on the job. Some of the cases we routinely handle involve:
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated discs
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bulging, herniated and ruptured vertebral discs
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Why back injuries happen
The causes of workplace back injury vary depending on the type of work you do. Construction work and police work are very labor intensive. Retail workers and healthcare workers are often on their feet all day long. IT and tech workers may sit most of the day in front of a computer, but they too can suffer back injuries that cause them to lose time from work. Truck drivers need to take breaks to help stretch and relax their backs.
It is important to note that fault is not an issue in workers’ compensation claims. There is no need for an employer to prove the employer caused the back injury. The employer cannot deny your claim because you were careless or negligent. Employers and their insurance companies will often try to argue that conditions outside of work caused your back injury.
Back injuries at work are usually due to one or a combination of the following:
- Lifting, pulling, pushing, and carrying objects that simply weigh too much or are too big to handle
- Not using the right lifting techniques
- Sitting or standing in the same position without taking a break
- Not using the right equipment such as forklift, a dolly, conveyors, carts, or a back brace
- Not getting help from another worker to move any objects
- Trips, slips, and falls caused by due to wet floors, not wearing the right shoes, dirt and gravel on the floors, and unlevel surfaces
Working with vibrating machines such as jackhammers is likely to cause back injuries through extended use. Anything that causes the spine to rotate or twist is bad for the back. Employers should try to rotate the assignments of workers so, for example, a worker lifts only part of the day and does less strenuous work the rest of the day. Employers should provide lift tables and other equipment for their employees.
What should you do after experiencing a back injury at work?
If you suspect or know that your back was injured through activities in the workplace, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. To maximize the likelihood of a successful workers’ comp claim, you should report the injury to your supervisor or human resources department as soon as it happens or as soon as you become aware of it. You should also schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyer who explains each step of the process and provides you with advice you can trust.
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If there is any doubt as to whether your injury took place during the course of your employment, or if the insurance company is denying or delaying your claim, you should certainly talk to a lawyer. We make sure that you know your rights, while helping you assert those rights. Talk to one of our attorneys about how to protect yourself from unlawful retaliatory discharge or demotion when you report an on-the-job injury.
Your workplace injury may also involve grounds for a personal injury claim. If your injuries resulted from the negligence of a subcontractor, a product manufacturer or some outside agency such as a delivery service, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the liable third party, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim through your employer’s insurance company.
Call our trustworthy Chattanooga attorneys today to discuss your work-related back injury
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, our lawyers have been a lasting staple of this community. We pride ourselves on providing quality legal representation to clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and all the surrounding counties. To learn more, call us today at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form.