3 important steps to take following an on-the-job back accident
Approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017, of which 882,730 cases resulted in days away from work. Injured workers spent an average of 8 days away from work due to an on-the-job accident. In Georgia alone, there were over 40,000 reported cases on non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses that same year. That data doesn’t even account for the fatal work-related accidents.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), also referred to as “repetitive motion injuries“, “repetitive stress injury”, “overuse injury” and other terms, account for a majority of non-fatal workplace injuries. Back and spinal cord injuries — including a herniated disk, back sprain, mechanical back syndrome and more — commonly fall into this category.
If you’ve been involved in a workplace accident and are experiencing back pain, you may have questions about what steps you need to take to protect your legal interests. In this article, we’ll outline the steps you need to take to address some of the challenges and issues regularly associated with a personal injury that results in back pain.
1. Seek Medical Attention
In the immediate aftermath of any type of accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. This step is vital even if you don’t notice any obvious or immediate medical issues. In fact, many people don’t experience back pain right away because it often develops over time. The best way to protect your current and future health, and potentially minimize the pain and damage caused by your accident, is to obtain prompt medical attention following an accident.
Also be sure follow all orders from your doctor or chiropractor. Failing to follow a doctor’s recommendation can result in an aggravation of back pain. It can also negatively impact any legal claim you make with an insurance company for compensation. An insurer may be able to say that because you aggravated the injury by not following proper medical advice, you’re not entitled to full compensation that you might otherwise be granted under Georgia workers’ compensation law.
2. Document & Report the Injury
After seeking appropriate medical attention, you should immediately start documenting the incident. Take photos or a video of the accident scene, if possible, or ask a co-worker or witness to do so. Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, photographing or videoing the scene is easier and more accessible.
Also be sure to gather the names and contact information of any co-workers and eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur. If possible, ask for a short statement from these individuals about what exactly they saw at the time of the accident.
If you’ve been in a car accident, be sure to file a police report— even if the damages to your car seem minimal and you don’t appear to have suffered serious injuries. Some insurance policies require the filing of a police report in order for a claim to be processed.
If the accident took place on the jobsite or while performing work-related tasks, you’ll also need to notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim. Check out our related article for more details on how to file a workers’ comp claim with your employer.
3. Consult an Attorney
If you’ve suffered an accident that resulted in a serious injury like back pain, you should seriously consider being proactive by seeking the advice of an experienced, tenacious Georgia back injury lawyer. Many people make the mistake of not talking to a lawyer early on in the claims settlement process; they assume they can effectively deal with their employer or an insurance company on their own.
The reality is that workers’ comp insurance companies are in business for one reason: to make money. Profits increase when an insurer reduces the amount of money they have to pay out in claim settlements.
At Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, our experienced attorneys have the necessary skills and background to take on even the most obstinate insurance company. Statistics demonstrate that an injured worker with proper legal representation has a much better chance of receiving a more favorable settlement than a person without an attorney.
The first step in hiring a Georgia back injury lawyer is scheduling an initial consultation. During this free consultation, our attorney will do a comprehensive evaluation of your case. At this time, you also have the opportunity to ask questions about your case and the claims settlement process.