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Settlement value of a workers comp back injury case

workers comp back injury

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Settlement value of a workers comp back injury case

Baltimore workers compensation attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh Esq.

Back injuries sustained while working, or otherwise, can be the most devastating form of injury that may lead to the need for lifetime treatment and need for lifetime compensation.  The value of a workers comp back injury case can best be assessed by an experienced attorney.  while there are many minor back injuries sustained at work, they too may lead to pain on a daily basis.  Without the proper medical care even minor workers comp back injuries may not completely heal.  Ideally workers will avoid back injuries by taking proper precautions.   

Types of workers comp back injuries

Low back injuries come in various forms and severity.  To get the clearest understanding of the severity of a workers comp back injury diagnostic tests and follow up with a qualified orthopedic is necessary.  Ordinarily the first and cheapest diagnostic test performed is an x-ray.  A quality x-ray will reveal if there are any fractures to spinal vertebrae and may also provide the physician a better idea if further diagnostics will be necessary.  If the low back x-ray does not reveal any fractures a physician may order physical therapy to begin.  The physician may also order further diagnostics which are more accurate or reveal injuries other than fractures.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are commonly used to diagnose organ injuries or soft tissue damage such as bulging/slipped discs, spinal herniation, fissures.  CT scans are also a good diagnostic test which will reveal bone or soft tissue injuries or irregularities.

Workers comp back injuries can range in severity.  Some minor back injuries involve pulled or strained muscles or minor aggravations.  Some of the more severe injuries may include fractures and large disc herniations.

Some Workers Comp back injury cases Mr. Rodabaugh has handled 

  • An electrician sustained a burst fracture to a back when he fell several feet from a ladder.  Over 60% of the vertebrae had shattered.  This workers comp back injury case was later settled for over $100,000.
  • A pipe worker was lifting a large piece of cast iron pipe and injured his low back.  The workers comp back injury involved a “massive herniation” which led to the need for emergency low back surgery.
  • A truck driver fell from the rear of a dump truck and sustained a workers comp back injury.  After a course of physical therapy and one cortisone injection the case moved to permanency resulting in a recovery of over $10,000.
  • A warehouse worker was smashed by a forklift causing severe low back damage including fractured vertebrae, and severed nerve endings.  This workers comp back injury case resulted in years of temporary total disability benefits and extensive treatment including a year of therapy.  The case settled for over $200,000 and medical expenses.
  • A parts delivery driver sustained multiple minor back injuries over the course of a year.  After 3 months of therapy the cases were settled collectively for $25,000.

Avoid workers comp back injury

Proper lifting technique should always be utilized when trying to avoid a workers comp back injury.  It only takes one wrong lift to result in a lifetime of pain.  There is an abundance of information on the internet which will help with determining proper lifting technique.  Good overall health will also help avoid low back injuries while at work.  Some workers comp back injuries are unavoidable, but others would not have occurred if the overall condition of the spine was healthy to begin with.  One can imagine the amount of stress that is placed on the spine when there is 5- 10 extra pounds of pressure.  Along with overall good health smokers are increasingly being advised to quit based on the affects it may have on overall orthopedic condition.  There is an increasing number of surgeons refusing to operate on those who smoke.   

Common mechanism of injury to the back

Everyday someone suffers a workers comp back injury.  On a regular occurrence the injury manifests out of a trip, slip or fall.  Sometimes these injuries occur in auto accidents, twisting injuries, lifting, pushing, or pulling incidents.

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Settlement value of a workers comp back injury case

Determining the settlement value of any workers compensation case can be a tricky task as there are a number of factors that must be considered.  Factors in determining the settlement value of a workers comp back injury case include the average weekly wage, amount of medical treatment, the rating, remaining issues after being discharged from medical care, diagnostic test revelations, prior back injuries, degree of arthritis, and other mitigating factors.

Remaining issues after discharge- Settlement value of a workers comp back injury case will in large part be determined by the remaining issues the injured worker has to deal with.  A complete recovery from the work accident typically means low to 0 settlement value of the workers comp back injury case.  However, extensive remaining issues do not necessarily result in a very large settlement as there are other factors to be considered when determining the settlement value of a workers comp back injury case.

 Average Weekly Wage- The average weekly wage of the injured worker will have a direct and often inequitable affect on the settlement value of  a workers comp back injury case.  Take two people injured in 2016 with the exact same injury, treatment and remaining complaints.  X has an average weekly wage of $300 while Y has an average weekly wage of $600.  If both parties are awarded a rating of 20% the compensation numbers will differ substantiall as indicated in the math below:

X 20%= 100 weeks.  second tier rate = $200.  100 x 200= $20,000

Y 20%= 100 weeks.  Second tier rate = $343.  100 x 343= $34,300

 

For further explanation or to discuss your workers comp back injury case call Baltimore workers compensation attorney and Baltimore personal injury attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh for a FREE consultation!  Call Us, Click to email  or just fill out the form at the bottom of the page and Mr. Rodabaugh will contact you!

 

Amount of Medical treatment- While the amount of medical treatment does not have conclusive impact on the settlement value of a workers comp back injury case, there is a good amount 

Rating- In the example above you will notice that a 20% impairment was used to explain the difference an average weekly wage can have on the settlement value of a workers comp back injury case.  Where does that number come from?  Maryland workers compensation law provides a list of scheduled body members with corresponding weekly values.  The back has an overall value of 500 weeks.  The resulting 20% rating means 20% of 500 weeks, thus 100 weeks.  Below are some common ratings and their weekly value.  A rating is performed by both the injured workers doctor and the insurance company doctor.  Sometimes the parties can agree to a percentage while other times a hearing before the workers compensation commission is necessary to determine the percentage impairment.

10% impairment = 50 weeks

15% impairment= 75 weeks

25% impairment= 125 weeks

50% impairment= 250 weeks

Diagnostic findings- Diagnostic findings will assist in determining the settlement value of a workers comp back injury case.  Positive findings lead credence to a significant injury which will often lead to a significant settlement.  Negative findings tend to lower the value of a back injury settlement.

Prior back injuries and arthritis-  Prior back injuries will provide the insurance company leverage to argue that atleast some of the physical complaints are not related to the case at hand but to the prior injury.  In most cases the defense also argues that arthritis is to blame for the injured workers complaints and not the injury sustained on the job.

Other mitigating or aggravating factors- settlement value of a workers comp back injury case can increase or decrease depending on the injured workers ability to continue performing their line of work after the accident.  If they are no longer able to do the same job than vocational rehabilitation may be a right the injured worker should secure, or atleast use as leverage when settling their claim.  If the injured worker sought out and obtained a less physical job with lower pay they may be entitled to argue they have sustained an industrial loss which increases the settlement value of a workers comp back injury case.

For a free consultation call Maryland workers compensation attorney and personal injury attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh now  Call UsClick to email  or just fill out the form at the bottom of the page and Mr. Rodabaugh will contact you!

My experience with the law firm of Cohen and Dwin was very professional. Mr Rodabaugh was very kind and easy to talk to in a very professional manner. The receptionists were helpful in guiding me through the procedures. I would definitely recommend Mr Rodabaugh in the future.
David B.CosmotologistBaltimore

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Settlement Value of a Workers Comp Back Injury Case
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Settlement Value of a Workers Comp Back Injury Case
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The settlement value of a workers comp back injury case will depend on average weekly wage, diagnostic tests, medical treatment, permanent damage, and ability to work.
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Work Injury Maryland
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