We’ve all heard the wry expression: “pain in the neck.” The saying is usually reserved for someone or something that’s annoying. However, for injured workers, neck pain is no laughing matter. If you have neck-related injuries suffered while on the job, it’s not something to be ignored. It’s very likely that an injured worker with neck injuries has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim for the work-related injury.
Why Is a Neck Injury a Serious Matter and Subject to Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Neck injuries can have a significant impact on your ability to work and earn an income. If you’re an injured worker, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the amount of your settlement will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury and the length of time you’ll need to recover.
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation settlements for workplace neck injuries are typically based on two things:
- Medical expenses and lost wages. Your medical expenses will be covered up to a certain amount, and your wage-loss benefits will be calculated based on your average weekly salary.
- The severity of your injury and the length of time you’ll need to recover. The more severe your injury, the higher your settlement will be. If you need surgery or other extensive medical treatment, you can expect to receive a higher settlement than if you only need medication or physical therapy.
The length of time it takes you to recover from your neck injury will also affect your settlement. If you’re able to return to work within a few weeks, your settlement will be lower than if you’re out of work for several months. The longer you’re unable to work, the higher your settlement will be.
What Should I Do If I Suffered a Neck Injury on the Job?
As with all work-related injuries, there are some initial steps you must take:
- Seek medical attention. Only a doctor will be able to identify the injuries you suffered. You may not even know the full extent of your neck injuries. In fact, it may take time for certain cervical spine injuries to reveal themselves.
- Notify your employer of your workplace injuries and neck pain.
- Additional Steps. In addition to reporting your accident to your supervisor and seeing a doctor as soon as you can, you should also take these steps so your workers’ compensation lawyer will have the strongest case:
1. Identify all witnesses;
2. Take pictures of the conditions at the scene of the accident;
3. Take pictures of the injuries you sustained; and
4. Write down as much as you can remember about the workplace accident since this will help your attorney prepare your claim.
- Get a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia workers’ comp lawyer. After you’ve been evaluated and treated by your physician, your attorney can protect your rights even if additional medical issues arise later which are tied to the workplace injury.
How Do I Know If I Have a Workplace Neck Injury?
There are any number of obvious and not-so-obvious ways that your job duties can result in a neck injury. Injuries can be sustained from repetitive motion to heavy objects falling onto your head, neck, or back. The neck and spinal cord are complex. The cervical spine is composed of bones, muscles, and ligaments, which can be subject to a work injury. Such an injury can lead to debilitating neck pain and even partial disability.
Work-related neck injuries can be caused by:
- Poor neck posture (i.e. computer work or using the phone for long periods)
- Lack of motion throughout the work day (i.e. bus driver)
- Car accidents
- Slip & falls
- Falling objects
- A pinched nerve
- Fracture or dislocation of the spine
- Torn or ruptured disc
- Heavy lifting
- Repetitive stress injuries
An on-the-job injury, like the ones listed above, does not always take place in the office or at the warehouse. They may take place off the office property. The most common example of this is an auto accident. If an injury occurred while performing your responsibilities, even if not on the premises, it may be a work-related neck injury for purposes of PA workers’ compensation benefits. Neck and back injuries from car accidents will not appear immediately.. However, that does not make them any less painful or debilitating. These are the most common neck injuries..
- Whiplash: when the neck is jerked forward or backward from a car accident, causing the neck muscles and tendons to stretch and tear. The symptoms of whiplash include pain, decreased motion, stiffness, and headaches. Often, these symptoms show up after the accident.
- Pinched Nerves: when the nerves in the neck are pinched causing pain, numbness, and weakness. The compression is caused by a herniated disk, narrowing of spinal space, degeneration of disks, and bony growths.
- Herniated Disks: when the material in the disk between vertebrae pushes out through a tear affecting nerves. They can cause debilitating pain in the neck and the back.
What are the Symptoms of a Neck Injury?
Your doctor is the person best qualified to determine if you have suffered a neck injury. The signs and symptoms you will want to take notice of are:
- Pain down the shoulders, arms, and legs
- Muscles spasms
- Slow reflexes
The cervical spine requires the immediate attention of a doctor. If you have what you believe is neck-related pain or know you have neck-related injuries, seek medical attention so a doctor can perform tests and create a medical record in the event these work-related neck injuries and the injury to the cervical spine entitle you to workers’ compensation.
A doctor will want to order tests. The tests ordered for neck injuries include an x-ray, a CT scan, and an MRI. The treatment for a neck injury ranges from over-the-counter medication, such as anti-inflammatory medications, to surgery. It can also require physical therapy. If you have suffered a neck injury, you should immediately report the accident to your employer and seek medical treatment. Remember, the insurance company does not want to pay more than what they deem necessary, so you should consult a neck-injury lawyer for legal guidance.
How Can a Neck Injury Impact my Income?
A neck injury could lead to missed days and lost income. Any worker – office assistants, managers, construction workers, delivery persons – can suffer a workplace injury. The pain and suffering, time lost from work and the resulting lost income are the reasons why a worker may have a neck injury workers’ compensation case. At the outset, from the time the injury occurred, it is difficult to calculate the full extent of the lost income and other damages you may have and how they will all add up to make a workers’ comp claim. This is why a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney is essential from the moment you believe you have suffered a neck injury or work injury.
Do I Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Yes. If after a free initial consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney, the decision is made to file a claim, you will want an attorney by your side to protect your rights for this work-related injury. Employers and their insurance company will do all they can to deny your injury claims and avoid paying any kind of workers’ comp. Pennsylvania law protects injured workers who have suffered a work injury however filing a workers’ compensation case demands an attorney who is on your side to recover the maximum amount you are due for your injuries.
To learn more about your workers’ compensation benefits, rights, and the workers’ compensation hearing, call for a FREE consultation by dialing (888)-PITT-LAW or (877) 748-8529, or by sending us a message through our easy-to-use contact us box available here.