- March 2, 2022
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Catastrophic Injury
Back injuries suffered at work can lead to chronic pain, hospitalizations, and even disability. In a worst-case scenario, an employee can be paralyzed or experience catastrophic consequences. If this happens to you, you may be wondering, “How much should I settle for a back injury?”
The amount of money you can expect in a lawsuit settlement depends on several factors. Some of these include:
- Severity of the injury
- Lost wages and time off work
- Amount of medical bills and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Whether there were gross safety violations
- Skill of your attorney.
While there is no “average” payout for a workplace back injury, a highly skilled and experienced personal injury attorney can negotiate aggressively for the largest dollar amount possible. Your lawyer can also build a strong case by utilizing medical records, accident/injury reports, and expert doctors. The amount of your settlement will depend on the strength of your case.
How much should I settle for a back injury at work?
There are several ways you can get hurt at work and injure your back. Many jobs involve lifting, twisting, carrying, bending, and pulling, and these actions can strain or damage your back. Whether you’re a construction worker, machine operator, or barista – malfunctioning equipment, heavy bags and boxes, or rain-soaked floors can spell disaster where back injuries are concerned. Some ways your spine can get hurt at work include:
- Falling from scaffolding or a ladder
- Lifting too much weight and herniating a disc
- Getting crushed by shifting pallets and containers
- Slipping on wet or cluttered floors
- Being hit on the back by falling debris.
These are just a few ways that work injuries can result in damage to your spine. All employees should focus on protecting themselves and preventing back injuries at work, but sometimes accidents and injuries happen.
Types of Back Injuries
There are several categories of back injuries. Among them are:
Slipped, bulging or herniated discs
Herniated discs are one of the most common workplace back injuries. Often referred to as “slipped discs,” these injuries result in bulging or malformed discs, which are meant to act as shock absorbers when healthy.
Often the result of a sudden accident or fall, a broken vertebra can be extremely serious. Sometimes they can be treated and will heal, while in other cases they result in permanent harm.
These result from overexertion or repetitive motion and include soft-tissue injuries like sprains, strains, tears, and other muscle harm, particularly in the lower back.
Pinched nerves and sciatica
Nerve damage and sciatica can be extremely painful and are often hard to treat medically. The pain can also make it hard or impossible to perform the functions of your job.
Degenerative spine disease and related arthritis
These types of back injuries develop over time rather than suddenly from a fall or accident. They often involve compressed discs, flattened spinal cord, bone spurs, inflammation, and other degenerative disorders.
Professions Prone to Back Injuries
According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), musculoskeletal disorders involving the back accounted for 38.5% of all workplace injuries and illnesses in a year (134,550 back cases out of 349,050 total cases). In the study, back injuries were common among:
- Nursing assistants
- Stock clerks and order fillers
- Laborers and hand material movers
- Maintenance and repair workers
- Janitors and cleaners
- Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
Several of these professions involve lifting very heavy objects (or people) multiple times a day, which can cause chronic back injuries. Construction workers are also prone to falls and other accidents that cause back injuries. Straining your back, such as while working at a home improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot, can also give rise to a premises liability claim.
Safe Lifting Tips
Rather than risking injury, it makes sense to show your body some care. National Safety Compliance offers these tips for safe lifting on the job. When it comes to your back, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Plan ahead – Before lifting, check your path and surroundings to make sure the area is flat, dry and free of debris.
- Stretch – Warm up your back, leg, and hamstring muscles before lifting.
- Lift – Stand as close to the load as possible, bend your knees, and keep your upper body upright.
- Carry – Get a good grip on the load, take small steps, and change directions with your feet rather than twisting your back.
- Set down – Lower the load by bending your knees, keeping the load close to your body, keeping your head up, and tightening your stomach muscles.
Dangerous activities to avoid when lifting include:
- Holding your breath
- Bending forward rather than squatting down to your load
- Obstructing your vision while carrying a load
- Using a partial grip with only 1-2 fingers
- Twisting or turning your body while lifting a load
- Attempting to carry a load that is too heavy or too large
- Rushing through the process
- Lifting an object above shoulder level
- Lifting or working while fatigued.
The Institutional Integrity and Risk Management at UNC offers this guidance for protecting yourself during manual labor at work:
- It is easier and safer to push than to pull.
- Use mechanical means (pushcarts, hand trucks, etc.) when possible for awkward or really heavy loads.
- Nose, shoulders, hips, and toes should all be facing the same direction when lifting and carrying.
- Use gloves with rubber grip and steel-toed boots.
- Minimize reaching.
- Create rest breaks and job rotation for heavy or frequent lifting.
- Ask for help when needed.
Call The Stoddard Firm Today If You’ve Been Injured
You may be entitled to a lucrative settlement if you’ve injured your back while on the job. When your back hurts, everything hurts. You don’t have to suffer through pain, limitations, hospitalizations, or disability all alone. The skilled personal injury lawyers at The Stoddard Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. We fight aggressively for our clients, and we don’t quit until we achieve the best outcome possible. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free initial consultation at 470-467-2200.