What Is The Average Workers’ Comp Back Injury Settlement?
October 28, 2021 | Worker's Compensation
Many workers, most especially in the construction and warehouse industries, are prone to back injuries. A worker can suffer an on-the-job back injury by slipping and falling, falling from a ladder or scaffolding, or engaging in heavy lifting. These workers may also suffer a back injury while working on a piece of defective construction equipment, such as a digger, crane, or another vehicle on a job site. There are, of course, many additional causes of back injuries on the job.
When a St. Louis worker suffers a serious back injury while they are on the job and working in the scope of their employment, the worker can pursue workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, the worker’s employer and its insurer might offer the injury victim a lump settlement for the back injury claim.
The final amount of this lump sum settlement will depend upon the nature and severity of the back injury sustained. Some law firms claim that the average award is somewhere in the range of $20,000 to $30,000, but because there are so many factors involved, and each case is different, you should never rely on any estimates like these. Instead, have workers’ compensation attorneys review your case and determine the settlement amount you need and deserve.
After A Back Injury
If you suffered a back injury while you were on the job, the first thing that you should do is report the injury to your employer. Get the medical care and treatment that you require to recover from your back injury completely. Finally, speak with an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney about your workplace accident and back injury.
If a final settlement offer is on the table from your insurance company, your attorney can help you decide whether you should accept it or continue negotiating. Your lawyer can zealously advocate for your legal interests and work to ensure that you receive a settlement offer that fairly and fully compensates you for your work-related back injuries.
Eligibility To File A Workers’ Compensation Claim In The First Place
For you to be eligible to recover a workers‘ compensation settlement award, you must first present a viable workers’ compensation claim. To qualify for a workers’ compensation claim benefits or settlement, you must have suffered your back injury while working on the job.
In other words, to qualify for a settlement or benefits, you must have performed a job function or duty when you suffered your back injury. Traveling to or from work, however, does not usually fit with the definition of “scope of employment.”
On the other hand, traveling from one work site to another while on the clock is probably in the scope for benefit eligibility.
Likewise, for an injured worker to file a viable workers’ compensation claim arising from an on-the-job back injury, the worker must be an employee, not an independent contractor. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether a particular worker is truly an employee versus an independent contractor. First of all, at tax time, an employee will receive a traditional Form W-2. However, an independent contractor will receive a Form-1099.
In addition, employees are usually not free to set their work hours or schedules and usually have a very established pay structure. Independent contractors, on the other hand, may set their start and stop times, and the employer typically doesn’t set their fees.
Likewise, to receive workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker must file a claim by the deadline. In Missouri—under almost all circumstances—a worker must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the accident date. If they fail to do so in two years, the injured worker can no longer claim a settlement or benefits.
Therefore, you must file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as you possibly can after your work accident. An experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney can file your claim as soon as possible after your accident and can help you pursue the benefits and settlement money that you need for your back injury or injuries.
Types Of Back Injuries That Workers Often Suffer
Individuals who work in the construction or building industries can suffer serious injuries while they perform their job duties. This is because workers in these fields can fall when working from high places, like beams, scaffolding, and ladders. In addition, workers in the building and construction industries usually have to work around heavy machinery and equipment. When this machinery malfunctions, the workers can sustain serious back injuries.
Workers in various professions can suffer two broad categories of back injuries. Those categories include soft tissue injuries and back fractures. Soft tissue injuries are injuries that do not involve a broken bone. However, these injuries can still be extremely painful and may require medical treatment following the workplace accident. Common soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and muscular contusions, and these types of injuries are often visible on MRIs.
Bone or spinal fractures can hurt terribly and often require surgery and other medical treatment to heal properly. These injuries are typically visible on X-rays.
Many types of back injuries can require a lot of medical treatment to correct.
Common types of medical treatment that an injured worker needs to get after a workplace accident include:
- Hospital visits
- Consultation with primary care doctor
- Consultation with an orthopedic doctor or another medical specialist
- Physical therapy appointments
- Occupational therapy
If you have suffered one or more of these back injuries in a work accident, you should first report the incident, as well as your injury/injuries, to your employer. In most cases, this means filing a written incident report with your human resources contact person. Follow through and obtain all of the medical treatment and care that you need for your work-related back injury.
Finally, speak with an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer in your area about the accident and your injuries. You should never just rely on your employer to steer you in the right direction following your work accident since employers will typically not have your best interests at heart.
Your attorney can protect and safeguard your legal options while your case is pending and can handle the legal aspects of your workers’ compensation case while you focus all of your attention on getting better.
Benefits You Should Receive In Workers’ Compensation Back Injury Cases
If you suffered injuries while on the job, you might recover various monetary benefits and settlement money if the insurance company offers you a lump sum. The amounts and types for which you qualify will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries—including whether you suffered a permanent injury in the work accident.
In many instances of on-the-job back injuries, a worker will need to undergo one or more medical procedures (including surgeries) and consult with a family doctor or medical specialist. At other times, the worker might need to take part in numerous physical therapy sessions after becoming injured in the work accident.
This treatment can be extremely costly, and an injured worker may see these expensive medical treatment bills pile up extremely quickly after an accident. Consequently, as part of the Missouri workers’ compensation system, an injured worker may be entitled to be compensated for all related medical expenses.
In addition, workers who suffer a back injury while they are on the job might be incapacitated for a long time, preventing him/her from working. When an injured worker cannot go back to his/her employment following a work accident, then the worker can pursue and recover a portion of their lost income.
Likewise, some workers who suffer back injuries suffer a permanent incapacity while they are on the job. For example, the worker might suffer chronic pain and/or cannot perform certain work/personal duties or activities after the accident. In that instance, the worker might receive workers’ compensation benefits for a permanent partial disability.
To be eligible to recover these benefits, a qualified healthcare provider must be willing to state in writing—and to a reasonable degree of medical probability—that the worker suffered the back injury while on the job, and that as a result of the injury, the worker suffered an impairment or disability that is permanent.
Finally, a worker who suffers a serious back injury might be in a position to file a claim for vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits are in place to help injured workers get back on their feet and find new employment if their back injuries physically prevent them from performing their former job duties.
If you have suffered a back injury in a serious workplace accident, a knowledgeable St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney can determine your eligibility for these and other benefits. In addition, a knowledgeable attorney can pursue a favorable settlement offer in your workers’ compensation claim on your behalf.
Settling A Workers’ Compensation Back Injury Claim In St. Louis
In some instances, in addition to the potential benefits mentioned above, some workplace accident victims may be eligible to pursue a final settlement of their overall claim.
In these instances, the former employer/insurer can make a lump sum settlement offer. These settlement offers are typically not available unless the injured worker has switched jobs after the accident. Also, in many instances, these initial settlement offers are extremely low. Therefore, an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney will need to negotiate a favorable settlement offer on your behalf.
When an experienced attorney is involved, the insurance company might be willing to increase its offer. Also, if a third-party case is pending, such as where the workplace accident involved in a motor vehicle collision, the employer/insurer may waive any lien related to those third-party settlement proceeds. This can be a term of the workers’ compensation settlement agreement.
Back injury settlement agreements in a workers’ compensation case are full and final. This means that once the injured worker signs off on the agreement, the workers’ compensation case will close, and they cannot reopen it.
In addition, workers’ comp will not pay for any additional medical treatment after you sign and accept the final settlement agreement. Therefore, you should make sure that you have completed all of your medical treatment and that you do not anticipate having any future medical procedures done or treatment received. If you do, ensure the settlement amount will cover that treatment.
A knowledgeable and experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney can help you negotiate a favorable settlement offer to finalize your case by way of a settlement agreement.
Always Speak With St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Attorney
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in St. Louis will review any lump sum settlement offers that the employer’s insurance company offers in your case. In addition, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf to see if a higher offer is possible and advise you when the insurer offers a favorable amount. Reach out for a free case evaluation from a trusted legal team near you.