What is the average settlement for a work-related back injury? A data-driven study by Martindale-Nolo found that the average settlement is between $20,000 and $25,000. Multiple factors will, however, influence the final settlement amount for an on-the-job back injury. These factors include injury type and extent, ability to return to work, immediate and future medical costs, and disability.
Back injuries account for the largest percentage of work-related injuries in the U.S. They are also among the most severe workplace injuries in the nation. They usually cause the injured workers to experience mild, piercing, or persistent pain. They can result in temporary impairments, such as the inability to stand or walk. Furthermore, they can also leave the injured workers permanently disabled.
If you suffered a back injury at work and are considering starting a workers’ comp claim, you might ask, “what is the average settlement for a work-related back injury?” Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys know how much insurance companies pay for work-related back injuries. They can tell you how much your case is worth after assessing the details of your workplace accident and injuries.
Factors That Influence Work-Related Back Injury Settlements
The workers’ compensation settlement amount that work-related back injury victims receive varies greatly. Why? The circumstance and extent of the injury vary from one back injury victim to another. Some common factors that might influence the value of your work-related back injury settlement include:
- The type and extent of your back injury: The monetary compensation you receive will depend mainly on your back injury extent. Spinal cord injuries and paralysis cause significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Those injuries are generally more severe compared to minor lumbar sprains or fractures. They also result in higher payouts.
- Lost wages: A back injury typically requires you to spend time away from work for treatment and recuperation. The wages lost during this period will usually form part of your compensation. The longer your break from work, the higher the payout for your back injury.
- Medical treatment costs: Your workers’ comp settlement will often factor in any bills or ongoing medical costs arising from your on-the-job back injury. The value of your settlement amount will increase if you will require future surgeries. It will also increase if your back injuries need ongoing medications and physical therapy.
- The strength of your case: The stronger the case, the higher the likelihood of receiving a reasonable payout. In other words, you must have enough evidence to prove your back injury is job-related and how it has impacted your life to obtain a fair settlement amount.
- Disability: A back injury could prevent you from standing, walking, or functioning independently. Your payout will increase significantly if the impairment is permanent than if it is temporary.
- Legal advice and representation: Involving a workers’ comp attorney in the claims process can improve your chances of getting a more valuable payout. The attorney can investigate your workplace accident and initiate settlement talks with the workers’ comp insurer on your behalf. The attorney can also fight for your rights and interest at the administrative hearing or trial.
Average Workers’ Comp Settlement for a Back Injury
According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) data, the average workers’ comp settlement for an upper back injury was $33,000, while that for a low back injury was $37,000. People who suffer permanent disabilities because of work-related back injuries generally recover substantially more, however.
What Benefits Are Provided Under Workers’ Compensation in Illinois
Workers’ comp insurance offers assistance to employees injured on the job. Maintaining this insurance is one of your employer’s responsibilities in Illinois. Benefits offered under Illinois workers’ comp include:
Workers’ comp covers medical bills and ongoing treatment costs stemming from your on-the-job injury. The medical benefits under the workers’ comp insurance pay for emergency room (ER) visits, physician’s visits, prescription medications, hospital services, physical therapy, and more.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
You are eligible for TPD benefits if you can return to work but cannot perform your pre-injury job responsibilities. TPD benefits seek to reduce the difference between your pre-injury wage and post-injury wages. You will receive TPD benefits until you can return to performing your normal job duties.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
You qualify for TTD benefits if your work-related injury prevents you from working for at least three working days. Benefits for the first three days will become available if you miss work for 14 working days. You will receive TTD benefits until you can return to work.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
You are entitled to PPD benefits if you have lost a specific body part or a specific body part function.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
You will get PTD benefits if you cannot return to work due to your on-the-job injury. These lifetime benefits are usually two-thirds of your normal average weekly wage (AWW).
Rehabilitation benefits cover the cost of securing a new job if you cannot return to your pre-injury job. These costs include vocational training and career counseling.
Your family may receive death benefits like funeral and burial expenses if you die because of a workplace accident.
Preventing Work-Related Back Injuries
You can prevent back injuries by embracing proper lifting practices. These lifting practices include assessing the load to determine whether to lift it yourself, seek assistance from a colleague, or use a mechanical lifting device. They also include directly facing the load, ensuring it is near you, and maintaining the normal curve of your back while lifting or carrying it.
You may suffer a back injury if you typically spend countless hours sitting at a desk. Maintaining good posture and supporting your back with ergonomic chairs can help reduce your back injury risks. Adjustable desks can also help protect your back.
Modifying repetitive tasks can reduce your risk for back injury significantly. Lifting heavy loads with lifting devices is a good place to start. Switching between physically strenuous tasks and less strenuous tasks can also remove unnecessary strain on your back. Set your phone on speaker if your job involves talking on the phone and typing simultaneously.
Exercising regularly can also lower your back injury risk. Perform exercises that target your core and limbs. Pelvic lifts, rotational stretches, and swimming are some exercises that can build up muscles in your core and limbs.