Workplace Neck and Back Injuries
Some of the most common workers’ compensation injuries happen to the neck and back. These injuries can be relatively minor or they can be serious enough to change how someone lives out the rest of their life. Massachusetts requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. With the exception of domestic employees, this coverage is available to workers regardless of how many hours they work in a week. For domestic employees, they must work a minimum of 16 hours to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re a worker in Massachusetts and you’re suffering from a neck and back injury that happened on the job, make an appointment to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
Which Jobs Are Most Commonly Associated with Workplace Back & Neck Injuries in Massachusetts?
Workplace neck and back injuries can have many causes. Some of the most common causes are falling, repetitive stress injuries, lifting heavy objects, and sudden motions that cause strains, sprains, or herniated disks. Jobs that see a high number of workplace neck and back injuries include:
- The construction industry, including roofers
- Electricians and electrician apprentices
- Plumbers and plumber apprentices
- Metal workers and machinists
- Factory workers, including assembly line workers, warehouse workers, and fork life operators
- Medical professionals
- Office workers who have repetitive motions or improper workplace set-up that causes strain on the neck and back
- Mining and logging industry workers
- Agricultural workers
Why Massachusetts Workplace Back & Neck Injuries Are Dangerous
Your spine extends down through your neck and back. The nerves, muscles, ligaments, and bones play important roles. The first important role is protecting the spinal cord. If your spinal cord is injured, you could suffer from paralysis. It can also cause death. Injuries to the spinal cord aren’t always fixable. You may face a lifetime of needing intensive medical care, permanent help to handle every day tasks, and millions of dollars in medical expenses. You may or may not be able to work in the same capacity (or at all) after your injury.
Common Work Injuries That Affect the Back & Neck
The most common workplace neck and back injuries include:
- Herniated disks
- Slipped disks
- Injuries to the lower back that result in chronic pain
- Spinal cord injuries that result in permanent paralysis or pain
- Torn ligaments
- Muscle strains and sprains
If you’re hurt on the job and experience a neck or back injury, it’s important that you get medical help right away. While the injury may not seem serious at the time, it’s important to remember that these injuries can be very serious. Minor injuries can quickly become a big problem. Get medical care immediately. You can choose your own doctor. Just make sure that they file through the workers’ compensation system instead of filing a claim on your health insurance.
Can Repetitive Stress Injury Affect the Neck and Back?
When most people think about repetitive stress injuries, they think about problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Yet, repetitive stress injury can affect the neck and back. Repetitive stress injuries are caused by performing the same movements over and over again for a long period of time. If you sit at a computer for most of the day, it can do more than affect your hands and wrists. It can also affect your neck and back. If your work station isn’t properly aligned or if your chair doesn’t properly support you, it can cause damage to your neck and back. Repetitive stress injuries to the neck and back may not seem serious, but they can make every day tasks next to impossible.
Standing all day, regardless of whether you use heavy machinery or lift heavy objects, can also cause problems with your neck and back. Simply put, our bodies are made to move. Even if you follow the best possible practices to protect yourself by standing on special mats that absorb pressure or use safety shoes, you can still develop this painful condition.
Workplace neck and back injuries are extremely common on-the-job injuries in the construction industry. Jack hammers, hauling concrete and wheelbarrows, constant use of a hammer, crushing injuries, falling from ladders, and faulty equipment can all cause serious damage to the neck and back. Sadly, these accidents are all too common. For serious workplace neck and back injuries, workers may be unable to return to their profession and either can’t work at all or they have to find a new occupation.
What Benefits Are Available for Workplace Neck and Back Injuries in Massachusetts?
When workers are hurt on the job, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation provides several benefits for workers who are hurt on the job. However, the benefits that a hurt worker may receive depend largely on the injury and how it affects the worker. Benefits may include:
- Temporary total disability payments
- Partial disability payments
- Permanent and total disability payments
- Medical benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation
Workers’ Compensation Can Be an Intimidating Process
While workers’ compensation is meant to help injured workers by providing them with medical care and, in many cases, at least some of their income, it can be an intimidating process for workers. There are deadlines to follow. There is a chance that the insurance company denies your claim. One of the best courses of action that you can take if you’re hurt at work is to get the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your rights under the workers’ compensation system as well as represent you to the insurance company and during any hearings that may result from a denial. The appeals process can be long and it can quickly become stressful. Please call our office today for a free consultation with Massachusetts workers’ comp lawyer Jeff Young to determine the best course of action to protect your claim.