According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are over 60,000 workers comp claims for back injuries in the entire country for 2019 alone. This represents around 5% of all workers comp claim in the US that same year. However, not all of these back injury cases ended in a workers’ comp settlement.
Though most back injuries are nonfatal, it can be pretty serious. Remember that your back houses your vertebra or spinal column, the most important of all your bones. Aside from keeping you upright, your vertebra protects your spinal cord. Injuries to the spinal cord can lead to paralysis or even death.
This is why workers comp settlement for back injury tend to be higher than injuries in other parts of the body. Medical expenses can be higher and the patient usually needs a longer recovery time. The BLS report also shows that most of those with back injury claims had to be away from work for more than a month.
But how much workers comp settlement should you expect to get for a back injury?
Strictly speaking, there is no standard amount for back injury workers comp settlements. Each state has its own workers’ compensation. So workers’ comp settlement amounts can vary significantly. In Florida, the average workers’ comp settlement for back injuries is $13,501 for 2019. In other states, the amount can be significantly higher or appallingly lower.
Due to changing workers’ comp policies, the settlement amount also tends to change per year. For instance, Florida’s average settlement in 2019 is the lowest since 2010. In 2012, the state’s average even reached as high as $25,888. This trend is also true for some states. While the opposite can be observed in others.
In general, your workers’ comp settlement depends on the severity of your back injury and the state you live in. To make sure that you are receiving the benefits you deserve, you should consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like Victor Malca.
What Makes Back Injuries Compensable?
Though back injuries can be debilitating, not all of them are eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp laws have specific criteria for an injury to be compensable. The rules vary per state but in general, a back injury can only be compensable if:
1. It’s work-related.
Some states implement a no-fault policy. Meaning, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. As long as you can prove that the injury happened because of or while you’re at work, you can claim workers comp.
2. You have workers’ comp coverage.
If your state requires your employer to provide workers comp insurance for their employees, they should get you one. Otherwise, they will have to face penalties and will also have to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages out of their own pockets. If your state has no such requirement and you have no coverage, you can’t claim workers comp. But you can still file for government-sponsored disability benefits.
3. It resulted in impairment or lost wages
States like Florida only pay lost wages compensation if your time off work exceeds a certain number of days. But in general, if your injury affected your earning capacity, you are entitled to workers’ compensation.
The most common back injuries typically covered by workers compensation include:
- spinal cord injuries
- lower back sprain
- lumbar or lower back pain
- herniated disc
- nerve impingement
What Benefits Can You Expect?
As mentioned, workers’ comp benefits vary per state. But if your back injury is compensable, you can expect the following basic benefits:
In most states, your employer or insurance company should pay for your medical expenses. But there are also states that require the injured employee to shoulder part of their medical expenses.
When we talk of medical expenses, this usually includes:
- payment for emergency medical care
- payment for necessary medical procedures (surgeries, treatments, etc.)
- the cost of medicines and medical supplies
- rehabilitation therapy (if necessary)
Lost Wages Benefits
How much lost wages benefits you’ll receive depends on your injury classification. For workers compensation purposes, an injury can be classified into four:
- Temporary partial disability. This is when your injury is temporary in nature and you can still do any other type of work.
- Temporary total disability. This is when you can’t do any type of work at all but only for a few weeks or months.
- Permanent partial disability. If there’s no hope of you ever recovering from your injury but you can still do some type of work to support yourself.
- Permanent total disability. If you are totally incapable of working and your disability is expected to last for more than a year or result in death.
You’ll usually have the option to receive your settlement as a lump sum or in scheduled payments. But remember that once you agree to a settlement, you’re waiving your right to any future claims. If your money runs out before you can get back to work, you won’t have any means of supporting yourself. So make sure to check with a workers comp attorney first before signing any settlement agreement.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.