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Workers Compensation Settlements for Neck Injuries

Posted by Emily Ruby | Jun 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

settlement for neck injury workers comp

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.

Key Points - Table of Contents

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.

How Much Does Workers' Comp Pay?

If you happen to be injured on the job in California, it is important to understand how much workers' comp pays in your state in order to be able to plan properly for your future. It is also important to understand this process so you can rest assured that you are being fairly compensated for your injuries and losses. Workers' compensation typically covers medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, compensation for temporary and permanent disabilities and death benefits.

If you are injured on the job in California, you are entitled to receive two-thirds of your pretax gross wage. This is set by state law, and there are minimum and maximum allowable amount. For example, in 2023, the minimum temporary total disability (TTD) rate increased from $230.95 to $242.86 and the minimum increased from $1,539.71 to $1,619.15 per week.

Some companies have a "Disability Leave with Pay" program, even though it is not required under California law. This essentially makes up the pay difference so you receive your entire income, instead of a portion of your income, if you are injured on the job.

These rates keep changing and it may be difficult for the average worker to keep track of these changes. If you have suffered neck injury or some other type of debilitating injury on the job, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced California work injury lawyer who will be able to explain all of your options.

Neck Injuries and Cervical Spine Conditions

The cervical spine supports the weight of the head to provide flexibility for performing a range of motions. In fact, the movement of the head is made possible by the first two vertebrae (C1 and C2), which connect directly with the skull. Injuries to the cervical spine can cause anything from neck pain and limited range of motion to quadriplegia or paralysis of all four limbs.

The cervical spine is also vulnerable to wear and tear over the years. As individuals get older, their spines could develop conditions such as narrowing of the spinal canal and degenerative disc disease, which in turn to lead to chronic pain, stiffness and issues with mobility. When this happens, workers' comp insurance companies could point to pre-existing conditions to minimize compensation even for acute injuries to the cervical spine that occurred on the job.

This is why if you have suffered a neck injury on the job - regardless of how minor you think it might be - it is important to report it to your employer or supervisor right away. The next step is to see your doctor as soon as possible. Describe the incident, your injury and pain level accurately to your doctor. Having the paper trail of doctor's visits and physician's reports can be extremely valuable, should you choose to pursue a work injury claim at a later date.

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.

Steps to Take Immediately After a Workplace Neck Injury

If you suffer a neck injury on the job, it is important that you take certain steps as soon as possible to preserve your rights and help ensure that you are able to receive the maximum possible compensation for your losses:

  • Seek medical attention promptly and be sure to tell your doctor that your neck injury is work-related.
  • Report your injury to your supervisor or employer. California law requires you to report your injury within 30 days in order to be eligible to file a workers' compensation claim. You should not delay reporting your injury.
  • Make sure you submit a written notice of the injury to your employer as opposed to a verbal report. Keep a copy of this notice for your records.
  • Maintain a record of all missed days of work as well as any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of your workplace neck injury.
  • Save all receipts and invoices related to your injury including hospital and therapy bills.
  • Do not post any details or specifics about your injury on social media or online.

Contact an experienced California workers' compensation lawyer to get the help you need after suffering a workplace neck injury. Retaining a work injury lawyer will help ensure that you receive fair and full compensation for your injuries and losses.

Are Family Members Entitled to Benefits if a Neck Injury Causes Death?

Neck and cervical spine injuries that occur on the job can sometimes, sadly, be fatal. If you have lost a loved one from a neck injury or as a result of complications of surgery to treat the injury, you may be entitled to compensation. If you were financially dependent on a family member who died as the result of a work-related neck injury, you may be able to collect what are known as "death benefits" under California's workers' compensation system.

These benefits are intended to help compensate the survivors for the loss of financial support from the decedent. In addition to death benefits, the employer or the insurance company must also pay an amount for burial expenses.

Who is Eligible to Receive Death Benefits?

You may be eligible for death benefits if you are either a close family member of a member of the employee's household. Qualifying relatives include:

  • Spouses
  • Children, including stepchildren and adopted children
  • Grandchildren
  • Parents, grandparents and siblings
  • Aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews

Family members who are automatically considered total dependents of the employee are children under the age of 18, adult children who are unable to earn a livelihood because they are physically or mentally disabled or a surviving spouse who earned $30,000 or less in the 12 months before the worker's death.

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.

Workers' Compensation Injury Settlements: Classifications

The two types of workers compensation injury settlements in California are as follows:

Stipulations with Request for Award

A workers' compensation claim settled through a stipulation will result in an agreement on the amount of temporary or permanent disability benefits that the injured worker will receive and an agreement that the worker's future medical care will be paid for, as long as it is determined to be "reasonable and necessary." The important aspect of a stipulated workers' compensation settlement is that it leaves your future medical care open.

Compromise and Release

This type of workers' compensations settlement in California is also known as a "full settlement." When a workers' compensation claim is settled in this manner, the worker receives payment for all temporary and permanent disability benefits in the form of a single lump sum award.

Workers also receive an additional lump sum to cover future anticipated medical care, essentially releasing the insurance company of all liability. This means they will no longer be liable for any future medical care relating to your work injury, even if you need it. The lump sum is expected to cover the cost of any future medical treatment related to the workplace injury.

Workers' comp settlements can be complex, which is why it is critical that you understand the specific terms of the agreement. An experienced work injury lawyer will be able to guide you in this regard.

What is The Average Workers' Compensation Settlement For Neck Injuries?

The average settlement for a neck injury can vary significantly depending on the nature and severity of the injuries and the degree of negligence involved in a work injury case. According to data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, from 2017 to 2018, the average amount for a workers' compensation settlement for neck injuries was about $61,500. However, the amount of compensation you could receive for a work-related neck injury could be much higher than that.

Estimating a workers' compensation settlement amount for neck injuries can be a complex and challenging task. There are a number of factors involved including the severity of the injury, which body parts were impacted, how much medical treatment you need, your rehabilitation costs, etc. Every workers' compensation claim and every neck injury is different with its own unique set of circumstances.

An experienced California work injury lawyer, however, can help you arrive at a ballpark figure or the amount you are likely to receive for your work-related neck injury. Workers' compensation settlements typically include medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. A knowledgeable lawyer can also help you understand the avenues of that exist other than workers' comp to help maximize your compensation.

Our Work Injury Lawyers Can Help

If you have injured your neck at work, our work injury attorneys in Los Angeles, CA 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, APC we will not stop until we have explored every avenue of compensation. Call us to find out how we can help you today.

About the Author

Emily Ruby

2022 "Women in Law" Award Winner, Emily Ruby, specializes in complex cases, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and deaths. Mrs. Ruby has personally obtained more than $78.6 Million in compensation for her clients with an impressive 97.4% success rate and is a graduate of the prestigious CAALA Trial Academy. She was selected as one of Forbes' Best Wrongful Death Lawyers and is a writer for Advocate Magazine.


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