Back Injury Worker’s Compensation FAQs
Back injuries have the potential to cause debilitating pain and suffering. If you have ever suffered from a back injury, you likely understand the massive negative impact it can have on your life. It can hurt to sit. It can hurt to stand. It can hurt to lay down. Oftentimes, the only way to get relief with back pain is to walk, but you cannot walk all day long.
Back injuries can have many different potential causes. Sometimes, they result from car accidents. Other times, they happen at work. Even if you have a desk job, you could still suffer a back injury.
Back injuries also come in different forms of pain. Sometimes the pain is dull but constant. Other times, the pain is sharp and shooting, but fleeting. No matter the type of back pain you suffer from, you want relief. Speaking with a trusted workers’ compensation back injury attorney can help you navigate your way through the process of any complex workers’ compensation claims that you may wish to pursue.
What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Back Injury Settlement Amount?
In one recent year, the average workers’ compensation back injury settlement in Florida was $15,793. Out of 7,477 total workers’ compensation claims filed, 1,705 settled. While it is good to know the average settlement amount, you want to take your specific situation into account. Your injuries might be more severe than that average, so your settlement may be worth more. However, there are no guarantees.
Just like with a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation claim deals with an insurance company. You may come across an insurance company that uses the average settlement data to try to keep your settlement lower than it should be. It is important to note that keeping your settlement low may stand to benefit the insurance company in securing their bottom line and making more profit. The full value of your claim is maybe far more than they are willing to part with.
The insurance company may consider many factors when determining what to offer you. That may include:
- The type of back injury you suffered
- Your ability to work
- Your long-term prognosis
- Outstanding medical bills
- Unpaid benefits
How Could I Maximize My Settlement Amount?
When you suffer a back injury on the job, it can be extremely frustrating. But, it might be comforting to know that Florida law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Workers’ compensation insurance is provided to employees who have suffered injuries on the job. Unlike a personal injury claim, however, workers’ compensation only covers your medical bills and lost wages for any time you are out of work due to your injury. But, there are steps you may take to make sure you get the maximum amount possible.
Seek Medical Treatment
After you let your employer know that you have suffered an injury, they may want you to see their doctor. While you can do that, you might also want to see your own doctor as well.
No matter what, you should have your injuries evaluated and treated as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of your back injury, your pain can be severe. Seeking medical attention could help reduce some of your suffering.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You cannot collect benefits if you do not file a claim. Completing the form is an important step in collecting the benefits you may be entitled to receive.
When completing the form, make sure you fill it out completely and provide detailed answers. Filing this form serves as your official notice to the insurance company that you have been injured and should be entitled to benefits.
Because this is a legal form and because you have to deal with an insurance company, it is recommended that you work with a workers’ compensation attorney to help guide you through this complex process. You certainly do not want to put any information on the form that might prohibit you from receiving your benefits.
Do Not Give a Recorded Statement
You should be careful when interacting with the insurance company. They often look out only for their best interests. While your concern is physical recovery, their interest may lie entirely in making money. You should speak to an attorney to help pursue the maximum possible amount to help cover your medical bills.
Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company may seem innocent. But, you must choose your words carefully because they could use them against you. For instance, if you state that you bent over too quickly, the insurance company might use that answer to deny you workers’ compensation benefits by claiming you were at-fault for your injury.
When you work with a workers’ compensation lawyer, they could help guide you through the recorded statement and make sure you provide only the answers to the questions asked, without providing any additional information that the insurance company may use later. Do not lie. But, choose your words carefully when speaking to the insurance company.
What Types of Injuries Can Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?
Back injuries can cause extreme pain and discomfort. It is often difficult to find a comfortable position to sit or stand when your back is injured. Workers’ compensation insurance covers a wide range of on-the-job injuries.
As it relates to back injuries, workers’ compensation insurance could cover:
To better understand if your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage covers your back injury, discuss your options with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney. Not only could a lawyer help you file your claim, they could also help you maximize your compensation benefits so you can focus on getting back to your regular life.
Does My Back Injury Have to Happen at Work?
Workers’ compensation insurance coverage provides benefits to employees who suffer an injury on the job. The phrase “on the job” does not necessarily mean you are required to have suffered your injury at your workplace. It does, however, mean that you must have been working at the time of your injury. In one recent year, 142,230 people suffered back injuries while on the job, and not all of these happened at the victim’s physical place of work.
Look at some examples of when you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even if you were not physically at your workplace:
- You left your office and drove in your personal car to pick up supplies for the office, and got into an accident.
- You are working from home for the day and injured yourself there.
- You attend a work-sponsored event after hours and injure yourself.
In each of these scenarios, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even though you were not physically at the office or your job site. There are many scenarios like this, where you would be entitled to benefits even if you suffered an injury away from your physical work location. The best way to know if your injuries are covered under workers’ compensation is by speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible.
What if the Injury Was My Fault?
Workers’ compensation insurance is no-fault insurance. This means that even if you caused the injury by accident, you can still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
However, if you intentionally injure yourself or injure yourself while goofing off, that might bar you from recovering benefits under workers’ compensation coverage. If you think workers’ compensation might not cover your back injury, do not give up. Speak with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney to get your questions answered, and find out for sure if you could bring a claim.
How Does the Settlement Process Work in Florida?
When you file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, if your claim is approved, you could receive one of the following types of benefits:
- Temporary disability
- Permanent impairment
- Total permanent disability
- Vocational rehabilitation
Each of these benefits comes with a different maximum payout per month. Many victims grow tired of the process when they have to constantly provide documentation that they are still injured and still can’t work. That is often when the insurance company pushes for a settlement.
Either you or the insurance company can initiate a settlement offer. Generally, it is the insurance company, because they want to stop paying you every month. They also know that, especially if you do not have legal representation, they may settle with you for less than what your claim is worth.
No matter who initiates this process, it rarely goes by quickly. There is often a fair amount of back-and-forth between the injured person and the insurance company, mostly surrounding the total settlement amount. The insurance company will generally want to pay the minimal amount.
The most important point to remember is that once you settle, you cannot go back. So, if you settle for a certain amount and then realize later that the amount was not enough to cover all of your medical bills and lost wages, you are out of luck. These settlements contain language stating that once you sign, you cannot bring any future claims for this injury.
That is another reason why it can be so important to speak with a trusted workers’ compensation attorney. Your lawyer could help avoid this situation and press harder for a larger settlement.
Should I Even Settle?
Settling your back-injury workers’ compensation claim is a balance. There are pros and cons. You must weigh these as they relate to your exact injury and your situation.
Above all, a settlement is final. When you decide to take a settlement offer, you cannot go back once it is signed.
A settlement is your choice. You should never feel like you are backed into a corner. The insurance company may benefit from a settlement. In the long run, they may end up paying out less money to you. But, on the other hand, settling might also be a benefit to you in this situation. Settling might change your financial situation for the better. It might relieve stress on the rest of your family and help ease any financial burden relating to the care for your injuries.
Make sure to weigh the pros and cons for your specific matter. While your settlement might cover all of your existing medical expenses, you might have additional expenses related to this injury in the future that you will need to pay for out of your own pocket. If your back injury is so severe that you can’t return to work in the same capacity or at all, you may have limited sources of income and your settlement money will eventually run out. This could place extra stress on you and your family, with one less source of income.
Regardless of what path you choose to take in dealing with your workers’ compensation claim, an attorney could help increase your chances of securing the amount you deserve. An attorney could help walk you through all of these scenarios, present you with the pros and cons of settling, and help you come to a decision that you believe is right for you and your family.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
When looking at settlement options, the bigger picture can get lost. A large sum of money can easily blind someone to accurate calculations of the true medical costs and lost earnings at stake.
Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help calculate the true costs you face from your injury, and pursue the proper compensation. Attorneys in this field have become familiar with common strategies of insurance companies and have developed their own strategies to help clients maximize recovery.
Contacting an attorney can help take the stress off your shoulders so you can focus your effort and energy on your physical recovery.
Speak with a lawyer today about your workers’ compensation claim. To contact Dolman Law Group about a free consultation on your claim you can either call our office at (727) 451-6900 or fill out a contact form online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road<
Clearwater, FL 33765