Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for Back Strain?

back strain

Back strain is one of the most common reasons people file workers’ compensation claims today. Why? Well, according to data from Ohio State University, subtle repeated actions done incorrectly over time often strain our backs. Recurring actions are, unfortunately, the hallmark of many jobs, particularly in factories or on construction sites. In fact, OSU’s data shows the average workers’ comp claim for back strain is $40,000-$80,000 per employee.

The cause of lower back strain is due to an injury to a muscle (strain) or ligament (sprain). Common causes of this kind of pain include improper lifting, poor posture, lack of regular exercise, fracture, ruptured disk, or arthritis. According to the Mayo Clinic, most low back pain goes away on its own in two to four weeks. Physical therapy and pain relievers can help the condition improve, but some circumstances may require surgery.

In any case, when your back muscles flare up due to an injury or strain received on the job, you may need to miss work. You can indeed get workers’ compensation for this problem. Good news — it means you have no copays for medical treatment or testing.

Industries Most Likely to Have Work-Related Back Strain Injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several industries stand out for their prevalence of back injury instances. These include beverage and tobacco product manufacturing, where there were 26.1 incidences per 10,000 workers of people experiencing days away from work due to a back injury. It also includes 49.1 incidences of people experiencing job transfers or restricted work. Couriers and messengers had even higher rates of work disruption due to back injuries, with 59.3 incidences of days away from work and 64.6 days of job transfer or restricted work. The numbers are also high for those who work in hospitals, waste management, and retail.

Back injuries are the most common injuries in construction, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training. In 2010, back injuries accounted for 16% of non-fatal injuries. Unfortunately, this results in days away from work in construction, based on the data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction workers have a higher risk of back injuries than all other industries, with the exception of transportation and retail.

The risk of back injuries varies among construction sub-sectors. Glass and glazing contractors reported the highest rate of back injuries (97.8 per 10,000 FTEs), followed by masonry contractors. This is likely a result of workers lifting and carrying materials, bending and twisting their bodies, and making repetitive motions.

Back Strain is a Big Problem for Workers

If you’re experiencing back strain, you’re far from the only one. Back strain causes a lot of missed work days for employees across an array of industries. According to 2016 BLS data, back strain was the number-one injury requiring taking time off from work that year. At least 90,120 employees who filed workers’ comp claims for back strain qualified for lost-wage payments that year.

  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that 25.9 million people lose an average of 7.2 days of work due to back pain in one year.
  • According to the World Health Organization, “the lifetime prevalence of non-specific (common) back pain is estimated at 60% to 70% in industrialized countries.” This means that two out of every three people will experience back strain or pain in their lives.
  • Liberty Mutual, the largest workers’ compensation insurance provider in the United States, says overexertion injuries — lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing an object—cost employers $13.4 billion every year.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “of the 443,560 sprain, strain and tear cases reported in 2012, 63% were the result of overexertion and bodily reaction.” Of that 63%, the highest subset of injuries was to the back (36%).

How Does Workers’ Comp Protect Injured Employees?

By agreeing to receive workers’ compensation, explains Investopedia, workers agree to give up their right to sue their employer for negligence. This agreement was designed to protect both workers and employers. Workers give up the right to sue in exchange for guaranteed compensation; employers accept a certain amount of liability and avoid lawsuits.

Workers’ compensation differs from disability insurance or unemployment income because it only pays workers injured while doing their jobs. Disability insurance pays out regardless of when or where your injury occurs or how you become disabled. Workers’ compensation does not cover unemployment, but it is always tax-free income.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

If you’ve been denied workers’ compensation for back strain, consult with a workers’ comp attorney for free about your back injury issues. Lawyers in our network provide contingency-based legal assistance and give free claim advice over the phone. If a workers’ comp attorney cannot get you a cash settlement for your back injury, you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if your case wins, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

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