Neck injuries suffered on the job can be extremely painful and uncomfortable to endure. If you have suffered a neck injury that limits your physical movement and causes pain, you are most likely unable to work and are looking at additional medical expenses to get the treatment and therapy you need to deal with your injury. California's workers' compensation laws allow workers who are injured on the job to receive compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.
The average settlement received by those who injured their necks or backs on the job (most recent data) was about $24,000.
In addition to getting workers' comp benefits, injured workers may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or a third party claim against an individual or entity other than their employer. This is true in cases where the neck injury was caused by a third party such as a contractor, sub-contractor, the negligence of a property owner or the manufacturer of a defective product. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer will be able to analyze all aspects of your case and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.
What You Need to Know About Work Comp Neck Injury Settlements
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts the average neck injury settlement at about $21,000, the value of a workers' comp settlement for a neck injury can be much higher. A common mistake many make is to underestimate the cost of treating neck injuries. Insurance companies are fully aware of the value of a work-related neck injury case. However, their goal is often to settle these claims expeditiously and more importantly for them, inexpensively.
However, it is difficult for injured workers and their families to fully understand the scope of their injuries and the future treatments, therapies or even surgical procedures they may need in order to help them fully heal. It is important that you do not rush into a settlement without talking to an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer. The insurance company will only be interested in preserving their bottom line. A knowledgeable injury lawyer will look out for your best interests and fight to protect your right to fair compensation.
Common Neck Injuries Suffered at Work
There are a number of different situations in which you may suffer a neck injury on the job. Here are some of the most common types of neck injuries that occur in the workplace:
Neck sprain or strain: A neck sprain occurs when the ligaments in the neck are stretched or torn. A strain refers to a muscle or tendon in the neck that is torn. This could occur as a result of a sudden injury such as a fall or injuries that occur when you are doing activities such as lifting, reaching, pushing or pulling as part of your job duties.
Herniated disc: This occurs when a spinal disc – which has a soft jellylike interior -- bulges out of the spinal canal. While herniated discs can occur due to wear and tear, they can also be caused by a traumatic event such as a fall or a blow to the neck or back.
Pinched nerve: This is often the result of a sprained or strained neck muscle. Pinched nerves happen when bone, tissue or tendons push against surround nerves and cause pain.
Stiff muscles and tendons: This can be caused by awkward movements or by keeping the neck in the same position for a long period of time.
Fractured cervical spine: This condition refers to a broken neck, which is a serious condition that needs medical attention right away.
Whiplash: This is a neck injury that occurs as a result of forceful and fast back and forth neck movement, like the cracking of a whip. While it is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents, they could also result from traumatic events such as falls.
Neck Injuries Can Affect Your Ability to Function
While a majority of neck injuries may not be lethal or life threatening, they could affect your life significantly. For example, you may be unable to turn your head in a certain direction, which could limit your ability to sit on the job, attend meetings, drive or enjoy your life. An injury may leave you with a stiff neck that can make it extremely difficult for you to focus on the job at hand.
A number of neck injuries also leave victims with severe headaches. Neck injuries can also cause pain to other parts of the body such as the legs, shoulders or the back. Because neck injuries can cause significant pain and discomfort, many also suffer from insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
What Factors Affect the Value of Your Neck Injury Claim?
There are a number of factors that could affect the settlement value of your neck injury claim. For example, if you already have a Workers' Comp Award Letter, it requires your employer and their insurer to pay medical expenses relating to your neck injury. This puts you at an advantage during settlement negotiations.
The other issue that could affect the value of your potential settlement is if you have reached maximum medical improvement or MMI for the injury. This means your doctor must have declared that no further treatment can improve your functional abilities other than pain management. This might be the ideal time to decide what kind of permanent limitations you face and what medical care you might require in the future.
It is also important to remember that once you've signed off on the workers' comp settlement, your employer and their insurance company are no longer on the hook for any future medical expenses you may face. Make sure your settlement amount includes the cost of any future medical treatment and care you may need.
Our Work Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you have injured your neck at work, our Los Angeles work injury lawyers can help you better understand your legal rights and options. We understand that neck and cervical injuries have the potential to result in permanent impairment and even disability, which means you may not be able to return to your old job. At Greenberg & Ruby, we will not stop until we have explored every avenue of compensation. Call us to find out how we can help you today.