You don’t have to prove your employer is at fault for your injury. In fact, you may file a claim even if you cause your own on-the-job accident, and your employer may not fire you or retaliate against you in any other way for filing. If your claim is approved, workers’ comp covers all your medical expenses and two-thirds of your lost wages while you’re off work to recover. Disability benefits and vocational re-training are also available in some cases.
What Are Herniated Discs?
The vertebrae that make up your spine are interspersed with cushioning shock absorbers called discs. The annulus, an external sponge-like coating, protects the softer nucleus of each disc from trauma or impact as you perform your daily activities. A herniated disc (sometimes called a slipped or bulging disc) is one in which the annulus is ruptured and allows the softer nucleus of the disc to bulge out between the vertebrae. The bulging disc can press against nerves in the spinal column and cause extreme pain and debilitation, making it difficult or impossible for you to perform the most basic daily physical activities required by your job. Most herniated discs are located in the neck or the lower back and can cause weakness or numbness in the limbs, as well as excruciating pain in the back, legs, neck, shoulders, or arms. Lifting, bending, and sitting or standing for long periods of time can aggravate the condition and increase your pain.
Some disc injuries result from workplace accidents like slipping on a wet floor or falling down a flight of stairs or a ladder. A herniated disc can also be an occupational condition that results from repetitive work-related motion over time. A condition like this is harder to prove than an accidental injury is, and your employer’s insurance company might dispute your claim by suggesting your condition is the result of a non-work-related activity or natural degeneration of the spine. The insurer might also try to blame your back trouble on a previous injury or pre-existing condition in order to avoid paying you over a long recovery time. In such a case, the services of an experienced workers’ comp lawyer are highly recommended to help in your quest for fair benefits.
Workers Prone to Herniated Disc Injuries
Employees who are especially prone to work-related herniated discs include:
- Long-distance truck drivers who sit in one position for many hours
- Local delivery truck drivers who carry items from their trucks to recipients’ doors
- Healthcare workers who lift, turn, and bathe patients
- Users of heavy power tools
- Retail employees who stock shelves
- Warehouse employees who handle heavy objects repeatedly
- Farm workers who stoop, bend, and handle heavy equipment
- Maintenance and cleaning personnel
Workers in other positions might also suffer disc problems as a result of bending, twisting, lifting the arms over the head, or lifting heavy objects. While some disc injuries can be treated with medication, rest, and chiropractic care, more serious disc issues might require expensive back surgery and a long recovery time during which you cannot work. Even after you’ve recovered, your compromised disc is fragile and vulnerable to re-injury. In the worst cases, paralysis can result and leave the victim partially or completely disabled.
When You Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
While claims for very minor workplace injuries with low medical bills and little or no time off work might be pursued successfully without legal help, spinal injuries can be very serious and expensive for your employee’s insurer, which is likely to search for every possible way to deny or devalue your claim. In such a case, you don’t want to go up against the insurance company’s adjusters and attorneys without an experienced lawyer of your own to help you seek fair benefits by organizing your medical evidence, calculating your lost earnings, and calling in expert witnesses if necessary to prove your disc injury is work-related.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Florence?
If you've been hurt at your job in or around Florence, South Carolina, you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Florence personal injury office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.