The last thing anyone wants or needs is for their job to make any type of pain worse. Unfortunately, there are times when the workplace environment can lead to worsening back pain. However, if back pain has already been an issue, will this play a role in being able to recover compensation if medical care is needed?
Here, we want to review the complications involved with recovering workers’ compensation insurance for an injury that worsens as a result of job-related duties.
Just because a person has back pain does not mean that they will never be able to receive compensation through workers’ compensation. If pre-existing back pain meant that nobody could ever receive benefits for back injuries at work, then there would be a serious problem.
The reality is that many people have back pain of some type.
The workplace can worsen back pain or cause entirely new back injuries. In some cases, there’s no way to know whether or not the workplace has worsened a pre-existing injury or caused pain in a new area of the back. This really should not matter. Anytime a person sustains a workplace injury, they need to report it to their employer and file a workers’ compensation claim to recover benefits.
In some cases, individuals can point to a single incident that caused their back injury. Often, this is a result of some kind of traumatic incident or a sudden acute injury caused by lifting, turning, pulling, pushing, or some other kind of motion. When there is an incident to pinpoint the back injury too, individuals will typically have an easier time recovering compensation.
However, many of the back injuries that occur in the workplace are the result of cumulative trauma. This means that there is no specific incident that caused the injury but rather that the injury occurred as a result of the cumulative effects of workplace actions. Cumulative trauma injuries, often referred to as repetitive stress injuries, do significantly affect individuals on a regular basis. Insurance carriers may push back against having to pay compensation for cumulative trauma injuries, but these are still injuries that employees can recover compensation for.
In the state of Colorado, workers are required to report their injuries to their employer within four days. This includes four days from when the injury occurred or four days from when a person receives a diagnosis related to the injury. After reporting the injury, the individual does not have to file a workers’ compensation claim immediately. Workers have two years from the date the injury occurs or from the date of diagnosis to file a workers’ compensation claim.
It is imperative for those who sustain back injuries at work to report the incident to their employer as soon as they begin to feel symptoms. These individuals need to seek medical treatment and obtain a diagnosis. When that injury victims go to the doctor for an evaluation, they need to let the doctor know that they suspect the injury occurred as a result of on-the-job activities.