Out of all types of workplace injuries, a Ft. Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer knows that one is particularly difficult to prove. We are talking of work-related back injury. Whenever a worker needs to file a claim for back pain or strain, we know that their employer’s insurance company will put up a fight.
The fact is that a work-related back injury can be the result of a sudden trauma – such as a fall or getting caught under heavy machinery. But it can also be the cumulative result of repetitive stress – for instance in the case of professional movers who constantly lift up and carry heavy items.
As we will show in this article, even doctors know that it is very hard to pinpoint the main cause of a back injury. In this situation, you will need all the help you can get to file your workers’ comp claim successfully.
An experienced Ft. Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer will not let you fight this battle alone and will do their best to win your benefits.
What Doctors Say About Diagnosing Back Injuries
A lawyer will resort to medical professionals as expert witnesses if necessary. However, even healthcare providers have their own difficulties in pinpointing the cause of back pain.
This is why it is so hard to prove a work-related back injury.
1. Everyone Has a Different Level of Tolerance to Pain
What is a mild inconvenience to one person is excruciating pain to another. For this reason, many injured workers do not get diagnosed soon after they suffered the injury. They feel some pain and stiffness, but they can go on doing their job for a while until the injury gets worse.
Even when they show up for a medical check-up, their higher tolerance to pain means that they may get a milder diagnosis, which does not qualify them for workers comp.
2. The Source of Pain Is Difficult to Pinpoint
When we say work-related back injury, the term may cover various aspects:
- A bulging disc in the spine
- A herniated disc
- Muscle strain
- Repetitive strain leading to muscle inflammation
- Intercostal strain.
The fact is that the human back is a large area, containing various muscles, ligaments, and joints. Any injury to one of these can result in pain that is experienced in a larger area. Also, in other cases, stress causes the nerves to send pain signals, which results in back pain which cannot be linked to a physical issue.
3. Diagnostic Tests Are Not 100% Relevant
Your Ft. Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer will collect all the medical records and tests – but they do not always tell the full story. X-rays and scans cannot always give an accurate source of your back pain.
This makes it very difficult to prove that it is caused by a work-related back injury. However, the last issue that even doctors have in diagnosing this condition is the biggest problem.
4. Back Pain Can Be Related to Your Lifestyle
Finally, doctors cannot say for sure if you hurt your back at work lifting heavy packages or at home while doing DIY renovations. Or, that your fall at the workplace caused the injury and not the one you had during the weekend while playing Frisbee with your kids.
And this is something that an insurance adjuster will be quick to say. They will invoke a pre-existing condition to deny your workers’ comp claim.
Follow These Rules to Help Your Lawyer Prove a Work-Related Back Injury
Always remember that winning workers’ compensation benefits in Florida depends on following the correct steps.
There are also best practices in documenting your work-related back injury and making sure that you can link the effect to the cause.
1. Ask Colleagues Who Witnessed Your Accident to Provide a Written Statement
Witnesses are very important in workers comp cases. In general, insurance companies treat with suspicion any claim where there are no witnesses. The reason for this is that cases when employees work on their own, away from others, are very rare.
However, even if you do have witnesses, they may not remember everything if days or weeks pass after your accident. Everyone has their own problems and memories fade quickly. This is why a Ft. Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer recommends getting written statements from eyewitnesses as soon as possible after the workplace accident.
2. Get Diagnosed as Soon as You Feel Any Pain
A work-related back injury caused by repetitive stress poses special difficulties. One of the questions the adjuster will ask is: “Why did you wait until now to see a doctor?” Like it or not, it is a valid question.
Thus, you should always seek medical attention when you experience pain for the first time. Although diagnostic tests have a limited value, they can determine if an injury is recent or you’ve had it for several weeks.
3. Obtain Copies of CCTV Camera Recordings
In case of sudden trauma injuries, the footage showing how the accident happened is very valuable for a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer. Remember that you do not have to worry that you were partly at fault for your work-related back injury.
Workers’ compensation cases are valid if you can prove that the injury happened at work, while you were on the clock. Even if it was 100% your fault, you still qualify for benefits.
4. Follow Your Doctor’s Recommendations to the Letter
Finally, make sure to:
- Refill all the prescriptions
- Attend all medical check-ups
- Go to all the physical therapy sessions
- Do whatever the doctor recommends in terms of treatments and therapies.
Failure to cooperate with the doctor will give your employer the right to deny your claim or terminate your benefits after your claim was approved.
Come to a Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation!
If you are not sure how to prove your work-related back injury, you are not alone. Many injured workers we assisted complained that their employer’s insurance company was unsympathetic and gave them a clear indication that they don’t have a valid case.
You should not take their word for it, but let an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer explain your rights to you. We offer you a free case review in which we will examine the available evidence.
If you have a case, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis. Do not wait too long after your workplace accident and schedule your initial appointment with us!