Workers’ Compensation for Back Pain Caused By a Workplace Injury

Workers’ Compensation for Lower Back Pain

Do you have a persistent pain in your lower back after you come home from work every day? Back pain is one of the most common workplace injuries. This is often a result of long hours of sitting, lifting heavy objects, or if you have to stand for long periods of time.

 

The lower part of the spinal cord, also known as lumbar spine is vulnerable to injury when it is subjected to heavy lifting or long hours of sitting. The most common cause of back pain is a torn or pulled muscle or ligament.

 

Lower Back Pain

The lower back, the lumbar spine, helps us bend and twist. The muscles in this area aid the rotation of your hips while walking and also for flexing. Most lower back pain is a result of a mechanical injury to the muscles, ligaments or joints in this area. These injuries might end up compressing the root of the nerves or misalign the spinal joints.

 

Lower Back Pain Due to a Work Injury

A work injury is quite simply defined as an injury that occurs in the workplace. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), back injuries are the second most prevalent workplace injuries. Back pain resulting from a work injury can arise from a single act, or from a persistent strain on back muscles over a period of time. Improper sitting posture, repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing etc. causes weakness in the musculoskeletal parts of the back and creates strain in the back.

 

Types of Back Pain

  1. Acute Pain: Typically lasts from three to six weeks. The severity of the pain is linked to the extent of tissue damage and is generally caused by a sudden movement. Resting, application of heat-and-cold compression and pain relievers are generally advised, but you must visit a doctor to make sure, the injury isn’t severe.

 

  1. Chronic pain: If your back pain lasts for more than six weeks, it’s termed as chronic pain. There could be a number of underlying causes of chronic back pain. And this can last for a very long time in some cases.

 

Treatment for Lower Back Pain

The treatment for back injuries sustained at the workplace could be a simple hot/cold compress or a complex surgery, depending upon the case. Some drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen are advised to reduce pain and inflammation.

 

However, if you are suffering from blinding pain, narcotic painkillers like Vicodin, Percodan might be prescribed. Many people also undergo chiropractic therapy, physiotherapy, and ultrasound therapy. Some believe that being low key and inactive is the best way to recover and get back on the job. Complete bed rest and inactivity might make the sprain worse by weakening the muscles around it. Walking can alleviate the pressure off the pain area and keep the muscles active and performing well.

 

Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

If your injury that is causing the back pain was caused due to your work, then you can file a workers’ compensation claim. These benefits take care of your medical and therapy bills, transportation costs to and from the treatment center, and roughly two-thirds of the lost wages.

 

 

The first thing you should do is report the injury to the supervisor or manager. This first report of injury containing specific information about the date, time and cause of the injury is filed on a DWC-1 form.

 

 

Next, the company will send you a list of approved physicians, from which you can choose one. He/she will evaluate your case and make referrals to specialists, chiropractors, physiotherapists etc where required. When you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), determined by the physician, or an IME(Independent Medical Examiner) a call will be taken about your disability if any.

 

 

An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

If you have suffered a back injury while on-the-job, the experienced attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf are dedicated to helping injured workers. Contact our legal team today at (856) 651-1600 to schedule a free consultation.

Workers’ Compensation: The Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain

What’s the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?

Bob ended up at the doctor’s office what he thought was going to be a normal day at work. There was a blinding pain in the knee. For the uninitiated, a sprain, strain or tear could sound very similar and confusing. Even more so when words like these are used interchangeably all of the time.

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, more than 40% of people who were hurt on the job due to sprains and strain related injuries. The injured often had to miss work to recuperate.

 

The two injuries sound similar but are fundamentally different from each other. Before we delve into the difference between these two, we need to know the difference between a ligament and a tendon.

 

What is a Ligament?

A ligament is a fibrous tissue that connects bones to each other. They can be thought of as the glue that holds our joints together. The various joints in our body like the knee, spine, and shoulder can perform a free and controlled range of motions due to the presence of ligaments.

 

What is a Tendon?

They are another kind of flexible connective tissue that helps attach the muscles and bones. They are primarily used to move the bone.

 

Both sprains and strains are caused due to overstretching and might have similar symptoms like swelling and pain. But here’s how they are different:

 

Sprains:

  • Overstretching or tear of the ligament.
  • Difficult to move joints with ligaments. (Ankle, Knee, Wrist etc)
  • The possibility of a popping sound during injury.

Strains:

  • Overstretching of the tendon.
  • Commonly accompanied by muscle spasm or cramps around the injured area.
  • Limits mobility of muscles.

 

The therapy for both kinds of injuries is R.I.C.E. Resting the area, applying Ice, Compression of the area, and keeping it Elevated.

 

According to the US Department of Labor, the top factors that contribute to sprains and strains are as follows:

Postures: A stressful or unnatural posture like bending or kneeling for a long time could result in one or the other injury. The opposite which is being in the same position for a long time can also cause poor blood circulation, thereby making your body prone to injury.

Repetition: Repetitive work can cause stress to joints and muscles, especially knee and ankle injuries.

External Factors: Extreme temperatures both hot and cold can be damaging to the muscles. Working with power tools that produce vigorous vibrations can also contribute to muscle and bone injuries.

Improper Tools: The saying that “a bad workman quarrels with his tools” does not hold good here. Working with inefficient or wrong sized tools can make you susceptible to sprains and strains.

Work Organization: If your workspace is not properly organized and there’s a lack of safety orientation, then it goes without saying that a mishap is waiting to happen.

 

An employer should keep these in mind and conduct surveys and inspections to make sure standards for safe working are maintained. There is also a need to instill safety standards and practices in employees with safety training and regular health evaluations.

 

A sprain or strain may turn into complications in the long term if left untreated or unevaluated, more so because they are hard to diagnose. Soft tissue damages can take a while to heal depending on the circumstances and treatment. So if you or someone you know has been injured and you are suspecting it to be a sprain or a strain, it is better to get it evaluated by a medical practitioner.

 

It is also prudent to contact a work injury lawyer to find out whether you have grounds to claim benefits under workers’ compensation. They can pursue the case on your behalf to claim compensation for treatment, rehabilitation, and lost wages.

 

Have you suffered a sprain or strain in the workplace? Contact The Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf at 856-651-1600 for a free consultation. Our attorneys and legal team would be more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding a case.

How Workers’ Compensation Injuries Can Be Odd Lot Doctrine Cases

How Odd Lot Doctrine is related to Workers’ Compensation

A workplace injury is fairly common and in most cases, the injured person will recover soon enough to resume work again. But, what if the injury renders you incapable of work forever? You could be asked to find work an alternative job that is different from your old one.

 

Even so, what would happen if you are not in a state to perform those duties either? What does someone with a situation like that do? Under these circumstances, an injured person might be covered for benefits under the ‘Odd lot Doctrine.’

 

What is the “Odd Lot Doctrine”?

Odd Lot Doctrine, which has its roots in England’s workers’ compensation system is “a principle of workers’ compensation law which allows a finding of total disability for an injured claimant who is not totally incapacitated for all work but cannot obtain regular employment and steady income.” The person can be considered totally disabled if there is no reasonably dependable market for his or her services. Such individuals are an “odd lot” in the labor market and hence the name.

 

In the year 2001, a decision of Odd Lot Doctrine was voted in favor of the petitioner. The details of the case can be found here. In this particular case the petitioner, a mechanic suffered severe lower back injuries when he was lifting a heavy tire. After 6 months of treatment when he returned to work the pain in the lower back returned, and doctors confirmed that he could not do strenuous work for the rest of his life.

 

It was also determined that the petitioner had left school in ninth grade. An expert evaluation revealed that he had very limited verbal and mathematical skills. Under these conditions, it was determined that he was incapable of a regular income and employment. He was awarded workers’ compensation benefits under the Odd Lot Doctrine.

 

To be eligible for workers’ compensation under the Odd Lot Doctrine you must qualify for two factors:

  1.     Your disability must be 75% or higher from the accident that happened when you were working. A judge will determine this by going through your medical records.
  2.     Sufficient proof should be produced that confirms that you are ineligible or incapable of performing any other alternate work.

 

The final decision in the Odd Lot Doctrine is made in court. The idea is to acknowledge that your disability is not limited to just 75%, but due to other factors, you are totally incapable of finding work. As this is a complicated procedure and your fate is decided by a judge, it’s better to consult a workers’ compensation attorney to understand if your case qualifies.

 

Other factors like your age and your education play a key role in being compensated under this law.

 

For example, your physical injuries make you incapable of performing a job that is physically intense, and if you do not have the right qualification, you might not be eligible to apply for an office job. Also if you are more than 60 years of age, physical exertion is a challenge. In this case, you might be eligible for compensation under the Odd Lot Doctrine.  

 

When you are injured at work it is important to note the following points:

  • Seek immediate medical attention to prevent serious medical complications.
  • Report your injury within 14 days of the date of injury. Timely reporting is essential to claim your benefits under workers’ compensation.
  • Keep a record of all your medical bills, doctor’s visits and hospital admissions.
  • Contact a work injury lawyer to get proper guidance before you claim your benefits.
  • Do not get intimidated by your employer and sign documents that could kill your case
  • Do not take legal advice from anyone that is not a lawyer

 

If you have a possible Odd Lot Doctrine case or have questions regarding a legal matter, the dedicated attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf strive to provide superior legal services to all clients. We welcome the opportunity to review your case and provide you with a high level of service. Contact us today at (856) 651-1600 to speak with a member of our legal team for more information.

 

Appealing a Workers’ Compensation Denial: Do You Have a Case?

Do You Have a Case For Appealing a Workers’ Compensation Denial?

Last year a friend of mine was injured at work. Being an automotive technician, a lot of his work involves quite a bit of heavy lifting, and that is exactly how he was injured. This forced him to miss work for more than three months, and he had quite a few medical bills to pay, and not to mention the many trips to the hospital.

 

But, when he claimed workers’ compensation, it was denied. That came as a rude shock, but the question right now is whether he will be able to appeal and if yes, how should he go about it?

 

Reasons for Denial

There could be several reasons why your workers’ compensation claim is denied. From not reporting the injury in time to insufficient evidence for a claim, the court can deny your claim if it finds that you do not have enough of a reason for the claim.

Let us explore a few common reasons for denial:

  • If you do not report your injury on time, then you could be denied compensation. In Pennsylvania, the stipulated time is 21 days, meaning you must report your injury to your supervisor within 21 days of getting injured.
  • Your workers’ compensation claim should be filed within the time set by your state. A work injury lawyer will be able to guide you about the exact time frame if you’re filing in NJ or NY.
  • Your employer may deny the fact that you were injured at work and may claim that it happened outside of work. If you do not have sufficient proof, you may lose out on all the benefits.
  • Mental stress-related injuries (except for the state of California) are not considered under workers’ compensation in many states.
  • If your injury did not require any significant medical treatment, then the chances are that your claim may be denied.

 

How to Appeal, in Case Your Workers’ Compensation is Denied:

Unless you are a federal employee, different states have different methods to appealing a denial case. There is a specific time frame during which you need to file your appeal. But, you should bear in mind that the easiest way, if you aren’t sure of how to go about it, is consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to review your denial and advise you on the next steps.

These are a few steps that you can take for filing an appeal:

  • You must contact your employer or the employer’s insurer to discuss the denial of your appeal. Many times there is an error in the paperwork which could have led to the denial.
  • Check if your insurer is ready to reconsider their decision.
  • You must file a formal appeal to the appropriate administrative agency within the stipulated time.

 

As the appeal process varies from state to state, there are different processes you might have to go through. Generally, the first hearing is an administrative hearing before an administrative law judge. You must keep all other documentation, like second medical opinions, time cards, and any other evidence that supports your appeal ready.

 

You should not concede defeat on the basis of the denial letter because it is not the end of the road. A work injury lawyer will be able to guide you and let you know if an appeal is the best course of action for you, as well as help you prepare for it. Since appeals are quite complex legal procedures and involve various time limitations in addition to loads of paperwork, it is best to have a competent work injury lawyer file the appeal on your behalf.

 

Finding the Right Attorney

A workers’ compensation hearing can be stressful. Choosing an attorney with considerable experience in handling workers’ compensation appeal processes will help you to get a decision in your favor.
The attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf can help you with your workers’ compensation case. Our dedicated legal team will help guide you through the process of filing an appeal, to get you the benefits you need and deserve. Contact us at (856) 651-1600 for a free case consultation.

Construction Site Injuries: Workers’ Compensation from Losing a Limb

Workers’ Compensation for Loss of Limb from a Construction Site Injury

 

We know that injuries on construction sites can have severe consequences. If you lose a limb at a construction site, your life can be severely impacted. We will take a look at some aspects of construction site injuries and how an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you.

 

The Real Dangers of Construction Sites

Working in hazardous zones such as construction sites or demolition zones can sometimes be unsafe if practices are not followed correctly. Accidents happen, but when they happen when you are at work, the consequences can be life-altering. Falls, electrical shocks, or injuries from vehicles can cause severe injuries or even the loss of a limb.

Sometimes, workers’ compensation injuries can cause the amputation of a limb. Whatever the case may be, these kinds of incidents can be particularly challenging in that they will change the course of someone’s life that they know.

 

Changes to Your Career Path

If you lose a limb while on the job, you may need to change your career path.  The loss of a limb may mean that you need to modify the way of your career. You may have to leave the construction and industrial field entirely. This may be a costly process because you might have to change your degree, receive more training, or other shifts in your career.

 

How it Affects your Personal Life

A workers’ compensation injury, such as losing a limb, will have a significant impact on not only your career path but also your daily life. Everyday tasks may be more difficult now after the loss of a limb. This can be a tough time in your life.

 

Legal Damages for Your Injuries

Workers’ Compensation will help you cover the cost of rehabilitation fees, medicals bills, and lost wages from not working. Having a workers’ compensation attorney will also help you put the negligence on the opposite party, which can help others not have to go through what you have endured.

 

Workers’ Compensation

When you got through the process to file workers’ compensation, there may be a chance that you could be denied the benefits that you deserve. This can be very frustrating and unfair for both you and your family after the injury you endured.

 

If you are having trouble with your claim, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will help you receive the benefits you deserve. We can fully access your case and guide you throughout the whole process.

 

In New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation is a big facet. If you are hurt at work in New Jersey, notify your employer immediately. The notice of the claim should be given directly to your supervisor to make sure it does not get lost.

 

The team at Goldberg and Wolf can help you with your Workers’ Compensation case. Our dedicated team of attorneys will guide you through the process of filing a claim. If you want to speak to one of our attorneys or receive a free case consultation, contact us at (856) 651-1600.