Is a Herniated Disc Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
October 15, 2021
Back Injuries and WC: Our Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA Explains Whether a Herniated Disc is Covered
One of the most common aches and pains that a person will have in their lifetime is a backache. Virtually everyone will have a backache at one time or another in their life. While most people may get back soreness that goes away after working in the yard, others may have backaches in old age. Unfortunately, some people may suffer from back pain after a workplace accident. Most of these back injuries will heal with time. However, some instances of back pain may be due to something more disabling such as a herniated disc. Our workers’ comp attorney in Philadelphia, PA, knows that a worker may be entitled to WC benefits when a person suffers a herniated disc at work.
Since 1915, Pennsylvania has had workers’ compensation laws that have helped injured workers recover certain benefits for their workplace injuries and related illnesses. This includes many of the most common injuries like back injuries and herniated discs. Pennsylvania was one of the first states to have workers’ compensation laws, including the “no fault” system of benefits which means that injured workers do not have to prove fault for their injuries. Rather, the primary showing is that the injuries were work-related. Meaning that the injuries were caused at work or due to duties assigned at work. This means most back injuries will qualify, especially after a fall, lifting, strenuous work, auto accident, or other event.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Most people have heard of a herniated disc. It is an injury in-between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column. The discs are round cushions between the vertebrae which act as shock absorbers and stabilizers, keeping the vertebrae from rubbing against each other or hitting painful nerves.
While the spinal column is very strong and resilient, it is not impervious to injury. The spinal column can be seriously injured in a workplace accident such as a fall, heavy lifting, or motor vehicle accident. When there is significant force on the back, it can result in damage to the discs. An injured disc could herniate.
A herniated disc is when that small disc is displaced and presses outwards from the spinal column. It may no longer cushion the entire vertebrae. Rather, it may protrude and impinge on nerves causing serious pain.
Is a Herniated Disc Covered by WC in Pennsylvania?
Yes, a herniated disc is often covered by WC benefits. However, there are caveats.
The herniated disc must have been caused or related to work. This may be easy to prove if the workplace accident was a fall or motor vehicle accident. Or if the worker was injured while lifting heavy equipment or objects. These are acute trauma events which are often both witnessed or supported by an immediate injury.
A herniated disc may be harder to prove if it is due to a repetitive injury, although it is still a strong case. This would be where an individual is constantly bending and picking up objects, such as a stock or warehouse worker, delivery driver, or other professional that has to bend and pick up objects.
Where a herniated disc may be more difficult to establish is where a worker has a pre-existing injury. A worker who has a pre-existing injury that is not work-related may have limited benefits or be precluded entirely in some instances. For example, if a person has had back pain from a sports injury and then tries to file a workers’ comp claim but has a primary desk job, it may be harder to establish the causal link. It is not impossible, particularly with the help of an experienced workers’ comp attorney, but it will be more difficult.
Do You Have a Herniated Disc After a Workplace Accident? Call Our Philadelphia Law Firm Today
Out of all types of WC claims, back injuries can often be more difficult because a WC carrier may claim that it is pre-existing or degenerative. In those instances, your WC benefits may be limited. This can result in serious problems if you are out of work for several months after surgery and physical therapy, which is common for a herniated disc injury.
But you have options. Learn about those options from the experienced workers’ comp lawyers in Philadelphia, PA at Larry Pitt and Associates during a FREE consultation by dialing (888)-PITT-LAW or (877) 748-8529. You can also send us a secured message with our easy-to-use contact us box available here. If you have any type of workplace injury after an accident, especially a herniated back, learn how our lawyers at Larry Pitt and Associates can help you today.