When you suffer injuries at work, you have the right to file a workers' comp claim. In a workers' comp claim, it does not matter who caused your injuries or whether your employer committed an act of negligence that led to your neck injury: because your injury occurred at work, you have the right to file a claim and receive assistance through workers' comp. Reach out to a workers compensation lawyer.
What does the average workers' comp settlement look like? Each claim looks different and takes several unique elements under consideration.
What a Workers’ Comp Claim Includes
When you file a workers' comp claim, unlike a personal injury claim, you will not start by pursuing a lump sum settlement amount. Instead, you will file a claim through workers' comp that will lead to periodic payments.
Payment for Your Medical Costs
As part of your workers' comp claim, you will receive payment for all the medical bills associated with your workplace injury. Rather than including those medical costs as part of a lump sum payment, especially right after your neck injury, workers' comp will pay those medical bills directly, so you will not have to worry about coming up with the funds to make those medical payments.
That may include the cost of:
- Emergency medical care, if you suffered an acute neck injury while working
- Evaluation of a chronic injury from a qualified medical care provider
- Surgery, if needed, to treat your neck injury
- Durable medical equipment, including braces and mobility devices, if needed to help with your neck injury
- Physical or occupational therapy
You may have to have specific procedures or visits, including physical therapy appointments, approved by workers' comp before you move forward with those appointments. However, by having them paid for directly, you ensure you have the coverage you need to take care of neck injuries that happened at work.
Payment of a Percentage of Your Income
Under workers' comp, you will receive payment of a percentage of your income while you remain out of work recovering from your neck injury. Generally, that means approximately 2/3 of your income, up to the maximum weekly compensation rate identified by the state. That rate gets recalculated each year.
You will receive weekly checks in the amount of your usual payment, not a lump sum payment. However, pay close attention to when those checks arrive since you do not want to miss out on much-needed income.
Workers’ Comp Settlements for Neck Injuries: What You Need to Know
If you suffer permanent disability because of a workplace neck injury, you may have the right to pursue a settlement from workers' comp. That settlement will take several questions under consideration.
What Percentage Disability Did You Suffer?
Workers' comp will start with a look at what percentage disability you suffered because of your neck injuries. You may need to undergo an independent medical exam that will give workers' comp a better idea of what challenges you suffered because of your neck injuries and how much mobility you have lost.
Disability percentages look at several key elements.
- Have you lost mobility because of your neck injury? How much mobility have you lost?
- What pain do you suffer regularly because of your neck injury?
- How does your pain and lost mobility impact your daily life?
Your medical evaluation may include a look at whether you have engaged in any self-limiting behaviors that could interfere with your recovery and what type of injury you sustained.
Neck injuries can include a number of potential injuries, including herniated discs, whiplash, or even spinal cord injury high on the spine. That medical evaluation can provide workers' comp with a better look at exactly what limitations you suffer because of your injuries and their long-term impact.
How Long Will Your Injury Take To Heal?
To pursue a settlement through workers' comp, you will need to have an injury that will cause some level of permanent disability, or that will linger for a long time. Workers' comp offers up to 500 weeks' compensation for back injuries, including neck injuries, if you have lost at least 50 percent of the use of your neck.
You may have the right to receive compensation for total disability even if you eventually return to work following your injuries. However, you may need to clearly establish that you have a long-term disability that will continue to interfere with your ability to pursue gainful employment or prevent you from engaging in other important activities.
What Do Your Future Medical Needs Look Like?
As part of your workers' comp settlement, you may need to take a look at what your future medical needs will look like.
Will you need additional procedures? Will your condition likely deteriorate with time rather than improving? Will you need future physical or occupational therapy sessions to help you maintain mobility or learn how to cope with those limitations? What about durable medical equipment or medication?
Talk to a workers' comp attorney to learn how your future medical needs can impact your workers' comp claim and potential settlement amounts.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Workers’ Comp Neck Injury Claim
If you find yourself dealing with a workers' comp claim for a neck injury, you may have several challenges that you must consider. Workers' comp claims will often turn out more complicated than you expect. Working with an experienced workers' comp lawyer gives you a better idea of what compensation you should expect and how you can aggressively pursue that compensation.
1. Learn About Your Rights
By working with a workers' comp lawyer, you can better understand what your rights look like and what you have the right to claim as you move forward with your workers' comp case.
Your lawyer can explain:
- Your right to medical care. Your lawyer can help you better understand how you can pursue the treatment you deserve, including how you can protect your right to seek the medical care you need when you need approval from workers' comp to move forward with specific procedures or appointments.
- The income you deserve to recover. Your lawyer can look closely at your state's maximum wage payments for workers' comp, the wages you earned before your neck injury, and how you can maximize your benefits to have the funds you need to handle your regular bills while recovering.
- Whether you have the right to a settlement. Sometimes, you might not know whether you deserve a settlement related to your injuries. A workers' comp lawyer can help you determine whether your neck injury should qualify for a settlement offer and how you can ensure you obtain the settlement you deserve.
Often, workplace injury victims have to fight to have their voices heard as they recover. Working with a workers' comp lawyer gives you a better idea of what your rights look like after a neck injury and how you can best pursue the support and care you need.
2. Protect Your Right to Payment
Dealing with workers' comp can quickly turn into a headache. You may feel pressured to return to work before you feel ready, preventing you from getting further workers' comp payments and limiting your recovery. You may not get the payments you deserve on time. You may even be pressured to release your right to compensation or break your agreement with the company. By working with a lawyer, you can protect your right to payment.
Your lawyer can:
- Establish when your injury took place. You have the right to file a workers' comp claim regardless of whether outside factors, including negligence on the part of your employer, contributed to your injury. However, workers' comp may try to argue that you did not suffer the injury at work, which would prevent you from pursuing workers' compensation payments. A lawyer can help collect evidence of when your injury took place and why you deserve compensation.
- Establish more information about workplace tasks that led to chronic stress injuries. Chronic neck injuries can occur due to overwork or ongoing strain. If you work in a job that regularly puts stress and pressure on your neck, you have greater odds of developing a number of conditions that may limit your mobility or cause pain. A lawyer can help you seek the evidence to establish that you suffered that chronic injury because of your work tasks or responsibilities.
- Show evidence that you have done your part in recovery. Sometimes, workers' comp may try to claim that you have taken actions that limited your recovery, including engaging in potentially reckless or dangerous behaviors or ignoring the instructions given by your care provider. A lawyer can help show that you have done your part.
- Provide medical evidence that you do not self limit mobility. Sometimes, during your medical evaluation, the evaluating provider may try to claim that you limit your mobility rather than using your full range of motion. Your lawyer can connect you with a medical expert who will show evidence or provide testimony that you have not limited your mobility and deserve the full compensation you have asked for.
- Help you feel confident remaining out of work. You should not return to work when out on workers' comp until your doctor releases you. However, in some cases, you may feel pressured to get back to work sooner. Your attorney can help you feel more confident in fighting for your rights, including your right to fully recover before you return to work.
By working with a lawyer, you can help ensure that workers' comp payments keep coming smoothly and that you do not miss out on the compensation you deserve, even when your employer or workers' comp tries to pressure you to go in another direction.
3. Get the Medical Care You Need
Some neck injury victims find that workers' comp denies the medical support they need. For example, you may have difficulty getting specific procedures approved, especially if your doctor recommends expensive procedures.
Sometimes, workers' comp may simply delay approval of the procedures or appointments you need: only approving physical therapy in blocks, for example, rather than allowing you to move forward continuously with the therapy you need.
By working with a workers' comp lawyer, you can protect your right to the medical care you really need for your injuries.
4. Reduce Your Stress
Often, dealing with workers' comp can prove just as stressful as dealing with the injuries themselves. You may struggle to get workers' comp to take you seriously or fight through every interaction with your workers' comp representative or your company.
By working with a lawyer, on the other hand, you can substantially reduce your overall stress, which can allow you to focus on your recovery. Often, that means a smoother recovery with fewer complications since stress can interfere with the recovery process and leave you with more long-term challenges and limitations.
Contact an Attorney for Help With Your Workers’ Comp Neck Injury Claim Today
If you suffered a workplace neck injury, whether you suffered a neck injury due to chronic strain or because of an acute event that led to traumatic injury, you need a lawyer on your side who will fight for you to recover the compensation you deserve. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
Contact an attorney to learn more about how to move forward with a workers' comp claim, what rights you have regarding compensation following a workplace neck injury, and when you may have the right to pursue a lump settlement.