The unimaginable has happened…you’ve hurt your back while on the job. How do you know if this is a serious injury and should you report it to your employer?
The human spine is an infinitely complex operating system. Bundles of nerves intertwine with soft tissues and bone, creating opportunities for minor injuries that have serious repercussions. The smallest of back injuries must be taken very seriously. Not all damage will become instantly known at the time of a back injury. Indeed, problems that seem insignificant at first often deteriorate in ways the employee did not foresee.
The spine is also fragile. It doesn’t take much to force a disc out of place, leaving the employee unable to perform any physical tasks for weeks or even months. All of this points to one truism: injuries to the back should always be reported to the employer. Some employers are skeptical of back claims because the effects of them are not immediately visible. However, our parents always told us it’s better to be safe than sorry, and with back injuries that is especially true.
Back injuries at work should be reported to the employer in writing. This is a law that many workers are not aware of. Remember that in order to get workers’ compensation benefits, the employer usually must know about the injury. Some employees assume that coworkers will be available to give statements to employers if there are questions about the back injury. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes not.
Even if symptoms are minor in the early stages following the back injury, they may later become unmanageable. Also, the laws in Colorado may be able to compensate someone regardless of whether their symptoms or pain keep them from working. Therefore, it is smart for employees to communicate fully and honestly with the employer about back injuries. Sometimes, back pain can resolve over time with proper physical therapy. Some back injuries, however, create lingering pain and dysfunction that can be both alarming and painful.
Employees should always abide by the safety rules of his or her company. However, even when abiding by these rules, injuries to the lower, mid or upper spine can occur at the drop of a hat. Some employers will be skeptical of a back injury if it’s not reported immediately. This may lead to a delay in getting benefits, or worse, a denial of the claim altogether. Though statistics show that very few back claims are fraudulent in the U.S., the best policy is to play it safe and report any injuries as soon as they happen so the claim is not denied. Doctors can diagnose injuries to the human spine that may be invisible to the naked eye. It is a mistake to assume that pain in the back will just resolve itself all the time. In order to seek effective medical treatment, and to properly navigate the Colorado workers’ compensation system, pay close attention to the health of all the regions in your back, and report any injuries that you suffer while working.
If you’ve suffered a back injury at work, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, for a free consultation regarding your rights.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the individual author, and not those of Bachus & Schanker, LLC. Furthermore, this blog is for entertainment purposes only, and nothing contained herein should be construed so as to create an attorney-client relationship. This blog is not legal advice.