Any workplace injury can lead to complications and lingering effects. One of the more intractable of these is a work-related back injury. Back injuries are notoriously difficult to decisively resolve according to any Chicago workers’ comp attorney but they are not impossible.
Sources of back injury
Many types of back injuries can arise from, or during work activities. Two types are spinal cord injuries and strain injuries. Examples of the causes of spinal cord injuries include a warehouse worker who falls from a dangerous height and a roadwork zone worker who is struck by a distracted driver. The consequences of a spinal cord injury can range from temporary numbness to permanent paralysis.
A strain injury may be caused by a variety of motions, such as lifting, bending or twisting. Examples of those at risk for a strain injury include warehouse workers, hospital workers, retail workers and others who are required to perform the same task over and over again. Repetitive motions can produce strain injuries quickly or over time. These types of back injuries can be difficult to resolve while remaining in the same line of work.
Filing and settling
Some of the complications associated with the long-term nature of work-related back injuries relate to filing requirements and earlier settlements. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act, workers must notify their employers of a workplace injury within 45 days of becoming aware of the injury.
Furthermore, if they are to file a claim for workers’ compensation, workers must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim within three years of becoming aware of the injury. However, a Chicago workers’ comp attorney knows that complying with these timetables can be complicated, given the possibility that a back injury could gradually escalate over time.
Earlier settlements could also complicate matters because a back injury may manifest itself again unexpectedly years later. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, an approved settlement contract generally terminates the worker’s rights to any future cash or medical benefits, independent of later complications.
In order to provide some structure in addressing the long-term nature of a compensable workplace accident, including back injuries, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act outlines four categories of injuries based on the combined occurrence of two variables: whether the injury is permanent or temporary, and whether it is total or partial.
These classifications can yield later challenges, however, when an expected result of an injury changes. For example, what the courts deemed to be a temporary partial disability could ultimately evolve into a permanent total disability.
Those with work-related back injuries face a potentially complex path to obtaining adequate workers’ compensation benefits over the course of the injury. For this reason, workers who have sustained back injuries on the job may wish to consult with a Chicago workers’ comp attorney.