Collecting a Workers’ Compensation Settlement for a Neck and Back Injury

Injured employees may be eligible for a workers' compensation settlement for a neck and back injury if they can prove that their job is the cause. Iowa Workers’ Compensation cases are relatively straightforward when an injury stems from a single traumatic incident. But what about people who have developed back pain or other injuries over time due to their work? If you or someone you know has sustained this type of injury, you may be wondering if these cases have any legal footing and if people ever win these types of cases. The simple answer is that, with a good workers' compensation lawyer, you can pursue and receive compensation for this type of workplace injury. Even OSHA understands that these injuries can be cumulative rather than incidental. Their website states that “Back disorders can develop gradually as a result of microtrauma brought about by repetitive activity over time…” However, they also note that, “Because of the slow and progressive onset of this internal injury, the condition is often ignored until the symptoms become acute, often resulting in disabling injury.”

Work-Related Back Injury Factors

Back injuries are one of the most common workers' compensation injuries, resulting from a traumatic event or occurring gradually. With a gradually sustained workplace injury, it’s important to understand that there can be many contributing factors. Factors that can cause work-related back injuries include:
  • Reaching, twisting or bending while lifting
  • Bad body mechanics — how you lift, push, pull and/or carry objects
  • Poorly designed procedures or workstations, including slippery floors
  • Repetitive lifting, especially of awkward or heavy items
  • Maintaining a bent posture for extended periods of time
  • Lifting with a forceful movement
  • Vibrations from driving lift trucks, delivery trucks, etc.
Of course, this is only a partial list of the workplace factors that can contribute to a back injury. Discussing your specific working conditions with your workers' compensation lawyer can help you better understand your case. He or she can also assess your situation and determine the payout according to the workers' compensation body parts chart, if it applies. The attorney can also help make sure that you start to receive workers' compensation payments on time.

Signs and Symptoms of a Back Injury

A back injury is a serious matter, so you should be aware of how your body is reacting. Some signs of a back injury are subtle and may not cause alarm when they arise. Because of this, you might pass it off as you "slept on it wrong" or something to that effect. Other symptoms are sudden and immediately alert the person that something is seriously wrong. Regardless of the apparent severity of the back injury, it's important to see a doctor and get treatment right away. Here are some common signs of a back injury:
  • Pain when trying to maintain normal posture
  • Pain that occurs while rising from a seated position or while standing
  • Decrease in your mobility
  • Burning or stinging sensation in your back
  • Bruising, bleeding, or swelling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain that radiates or spreads out from one part of your body to another
It's critical to keep track of your symptoms, their progression, and your pain level. Also note what happened leading up to the symptoms. For example, did you slip or have issues when picking up heavy objects at work recently? Did the symptoms come up all of a sudden, or have they gradually developed? Not all back injuries stem from a single, traumatic event. People in manufacturing or other labor-intensive positions can develop gradual or cumulative back injuries. So long as it's work-related, you may be eligible to receive workers' compensation for back injuries from your job.

Maximizing Your Workers' Compensation Settlement for a Neck and Back Injury

If you or someone you know is showing signs of a back injury that may be associated with your working conditions, it is critical for you to receive proper medical attention. To help you receive the care you need, you may need to contact a workers' compensation attorney.

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For the past 15 years Mr. Pothitakis has focused his practice on Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Cases. The firm has two locations, one being in Burlington, Iowa and the other in Keokuk, Iowa. Mr. Pothitakis works with many area unions and employee organizations to provide advice, assistance, and guidance as it relates to employment issues. Mr. Pothitakis provides free consultations to those with legal questions in the firm's areas of practice. In this initial meeting or conference potential clients are provided advice on their need for assistance and how they need to proceed.