A herniated disc can be incredibly painful and keep you from work for an extended period. If you suffered an injury from lifting, carrying, or falling, the pain you face could have a huge impact on your life. After these accidents, you may need to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits if you will miss work and require expensive medical treatment to help with your injuries.
If a herniated disc is keeping you out of work, monthly benefits might be the difference between paying your utilities and falling behind on your necessary expenses. Fortunately, workers’ compensation was designed to get financial help to injured workers quickly and without having to jump through too many legal hoops. However, claims are still denied or take longer to process than they should. Having experienced counsel advocating for you could help you avoid costly mistakes and move the process forward.
For help filing a workers’ compensation case or fighting denials and terminations, contact our law office today. Our Fayetteville workers’ compensation lawyers for herniated disc injuries can help you file to get the workers’ compensation coverage you need for your herniated disc injury or any other workplace back injury. To schedule a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation With a Herniated Disc Injury
The soft tissue between the bones of your spinal column is commonly called “discs” (also spelled “disks”). This tissue pads your vertebrae so that they do not rub together or bump against each other. If this tissue becomes swollen or bulges out – “herniates” – it can put pressure on your spinal column and cause motor control problems, numbness, “pins-and-needles” sensations, and pain in your lower extremities.
A herniated disc can also leave you vulnerable to additional injuries. This makes these – and other back and neck injuries – common reasons for time off work. If your job tasks include lifting, carrying, or nearly any other physical activities, you may be unable to go back to work until your injury heals.
Because this injury is common from work tasks and often interferes with your work, it is exactly the kind of injury workers’ compensation is designed to cover. If you suffer a herniated disc at work or while performing work-related activities, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation and qualify to get your medical care and lost wages covered.
Qualifying for workers’ comp with a back injury is sometimes complicated. Back injuries are quite common in the United States and they tend to appear after years of stress and strain during a single acute incident. When there is a clear fall or lifting injury sustained at work, it is much clearer that your injury is work-related, but your employer may try to fight your case. If they argue that your injury was caused by pre-existing back injuries or conditions you sustained outside of work, you may need a lawyer to fight your case and work to prove your condition is truly work-related and qualifies for coverage.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Herniated Discs
Herniated disc injuries universally require rest and rehabilitation to get you back on your feet. This means that you will typically not be able to return to work for at least a few weeks after sustaining a herniated disc injury. In addition, you will typically undergo medical imaging like X-Rays or MRIs to determine the severity of your injury and may need other medical care as well. Severe cases may even require surgery to repair tissue damage.
These medical costs can be quite expensive, but your workers’ compensation coverage should cover the costs in full. As long as the injury is work-related, workers’ comp should cover the medical costs in full. Your employer’s workers’ comp policy may dictate which physician you need to use, but do not let this discourage you; your doctor is still required to give you adequate medical care, and you may be able to get permission to use your own doctor of choice regardless.
While you are out of work, your employer’s workers’ comp benefits should pay you wage-loss damages. As you are not working, your employer typically does not pay the full amount for your wages, but wages are usually still covered at around 2/3 of your normal weekly wages. This can help support yourself and your family while you are out of work.
If you can return to work with modified job tasks, you may be able to start receiving a full paycheck again. As long as you are still undergoing treatment from your injury, workers’ comp should continue to cover your medical care.
Why Would My Herniated Disc Claim Be Denied?
Despite being injured and incapacitated, your workers’ claim could still be denied. Workers’ compensation laws were put into effect to provide injured workers monetary benefits without the need to file an expensive and lengthy lawsuit. While this process does eliminate many hurdles an injured person could face, it still does not guarantee benefits. Below, we discuss some of the reasons why your employer or their insurance provider could deny your herniated disc injury claim.
The Injury Did Not Occur At Work
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, your bank injury must have occurred during the scope of your employment or arisen out of your employment. Insurance companies will look to deny claims if there is any indication that the injury did not occur at work. This is one reason why it is crucial to report an injury to your supervisor or employer immediately. If you strain your back on Friday and wait until the following Monday or Tuesday to report the injury, an insurance adjuster could allege the back injury originated from an incident that happened over the weekend.
Your Injury Was Not Covered
Workers’ compensation is not a general disability fund. It is an insurance policy. Therefore, certain injuries might not be covered. Our Bentonville workers’ compensation lawyers will want a copy of the policy to thoroughly review its provisions.
Waiting to Report the Injury
You want to report an injury immediately so it can be connected to your work duties. However, there are other reasons why it is important not to wait. You have a deadline to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you allow that deadline to pass, your claim will likely be denied.
Inconsistencies in the Accident Report or Application
Before approving a claim, the insurance company will carefully review all available evidence. This includes the accident report and any medical documentation. If there are inconsistencies, your claim could be denied. When you report the incident, you should be truthful and stick to the facts. Exaggerating or embellishing the accident or injury will only hurt you. You should also be definitive when necessary, do not say things such as “I think I tripped” or “the floor might have been slippery.”
Pre-existing conditions are sometimes used to deny a claim, especially back injuries. However, if a work-related injury aggravates a pre-existing condition, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Lack of Cooperation
An insurance company will often deny a claim for lack of cooperation. For example, an insurance adjuster might request that you provide a recorded statement or sign a medical release form. Your claim could be denied if you fail to comply with either of these requests. However, you have every right to refuse to give a recorded statement or sign a medical release. If you have not done so, you should contact our Farmington workers’ compensation attorney if an insurance company asks you to do either.
There Were Drugs or Alcohol in Your System
A key component in lowering workers’ compensation claims is proactively maintaining a safe workplace. Many insurance companies offer discounts if employers follow drug-free protocols. Under these rules, an employee could be required to submit to a drug test as a condition of their employment, if abuse is suspected, or when requested. An employer could also request a test after an accident or injury. If you test positive for drugs or alcohol, your benefits claim will be denied.
There are other reasons your claim could be denied, such as it was an intentional injury or you were hurt in a fight where you were the aggressor. If your claim is denied, our Bella Vista workplace injury lawyers are available to assist you in appealing your claim.
Fighting Denials and Terminations for Herniated Disc Workers’ Compensation Coverage
If you apply for workers’ comp with a herniated disc injury and your employer or their insurance company denies your claim, you may need to hire an attorney to fight your case. Our experienced Fort Smith workers’ compensation lawyers can take your case and fight to get the benefits you deserve on your case. In many cases, taking your case to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) or an administrative law judge (ALJ) can get you a chance to present evidence and get a neutral party to rule in favor of giving you benefits.
If you start receiving benefits then have them terminated or suspended, our lawyer can help reinstate your benefits and get you the continued support you need. The AWCC or an ALJ can also hear termination and suspension cases, potentially ruling in your favor.
In many cases, you may be able to negotiate denials or suspensions and have the funds paid in one lump-sum settlement. Talk to your attorney about this option.
Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuits for Herniated Disc Injuries in Fayetteville
Workers’ compensation serves a vital purpose. However, while the benefits cover your medical expenses, they only cover a portion of your salary. You are also not entitled to recover for pain and suffering through a workers’ compensation claim. However, under certain circumstances, you could have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim to seek compensation for all of your damages and losses.
Under the law, injured workers are prohibited from filing a lawsuit against their employer. However, if your injury was caused by another person or entity’s negligence, you might be able to hold them financially liable for your injuries.
For example, a construction worker who suffered a back injury when scaffolding collapsed could have an injury claim against the company that installed or manufactured the scaffolding in addition to the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
It is important to note that a workers’ compensation claim does not preclude filing a personal injury lawsuit against a liable third party. A personal injury lawsuit could take months or even years to settle, depending on the complexities involved and how willing the defendant is to fight the claim. The benefits available through workers’ compensation could tide you over while you wait for your personal injury claim to resolve. Our Fayetteville personal injury lawyers will work with you to pursue a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact Our Fayetteville Herniated Disc Workers’ Compensation Lawyers For a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one suffered a herniated disc injury in the workplace or suffers from another work-related back or neck injury, contact our law offices today. Our Springdale Workers’ Compensation lawyer for herniated discs may be able to take your case and fight to get you the coverage you need, even if your claim has been denied or suspended. Call us today to schedule a free legal consultation at (479) 316-0438.