You can get workers’ compensation for a herniated disc if the injury occurs on the job. Back injuries like herniated discs are the most common work-related injuries reported in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And every worker who suffers an injury or illness in the course of their job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
The biggest challenge with filing for workers’ compensation for a herniated disc is that they can develop in non-work situations, too. Claims adjusters may try to blame the injury on your personal activities outside work or off the clock. So, your workers’ compensation claim for a herniated disc needs as much evidence as possible to be successful.
Types of Herniated Discs That Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
A herniated disc refers to any issue with the soft tissue discs that sit between your vertebrae. There are three types of herniated discs: protrusion, extrusion, and sequestered (the most severe).
For example, if a fall from a tall height at work causes your herniated disc, you would qualify for workers’ compensation. If you regularly lift heavy objects and discover you have a herniated disc, you could qualify for workers’ compensation with proof that the nature of your work directly caused it.
Who Can Get Workers’ Compensation for a Herniated Disc?
Anyone who suffers a herniated disc due to the nature of their work or a work-related accident is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Herniated discs most commonly affect workers in labor-intensive jobs or jobs that require long periods of sitting, such as:
- Warehouse and shipping
- Transportation and trucking
- Office jobs
However, a herniated disc could occur in any industry. The most common causes include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Equipment accidents
- Auto collisions
- Falls from heights
- Repetitive motion and strain from regular bending, lifting, or twisting
- Sitting for long periods with little movement
Medical Treatment for Herniated Discs That is Covered by Workers’ Compensation
If you suffer a herniated disc at work, it’s vital that you receive the medical care you need to heal your injury. You can get workers’ compensation to cover:
- Diagnostic testing
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Other rehabilitation care
Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Could Get From a Herniated Disc
As with any workers’ compensation claim, a work-related herniated disc could entitle you to other important benefits, including:
- Reimbursements for mileage and other transportation costs for injury-related appointments
- Temporary disability benefits to cover two-thirds of your wages while you recover
- Permanent disability benefits to cover two-thirds of your wages if your injury prevents you from returning to work
- Job displacement benefits to help you pay for vocational training if your herniated disc prevents you from returning to your job or field
How Much Workers’ Compensation Can You Get for a Herniated Disc?
The amount you could receive in workers’ compensation benefits for your herniated disc can depend on the severity of your injury and how long it keeps you out of work. Certain types of workers’ compensation benefits are limited. For example, you would only get two-thirds of your pre-injury wages in disability payments and job displacement vouchers are only good for up to $6,000.
Other benefits like medical care coverage don’t have a limit as this depends on how much medical treatment you need and for how long. The more severe your herniated disc, the more costly the medical treatment will be and the longer your recovery time. That means you’ll need more money to pay your medical costs and provide wage support.
If you choose to negotiate for a lump sum settlement, your compensation amount depends on many of the same factors, including the full cost of current and future medical expenses and the amount of lost income and future diminished earnings.
How to Get Workers’ Compensation for a Herniated Disc in California
If you’ve suffered a herniated disc at work, you can follow these steps to get workers’ compensation benefits:
- Get a diagnosis: See your doctor about your pain, undergo diagnostic tests, and describe what you do for work and how that affects your pain. This is how you document your injury and link its cause to your work.
- Gather evidence of your work-related injury: If your herniated disc happened during a work-related accident, document the date and time of the incident, get eyewitness statements, and gather your medical records. If it’s a repetitive stress injury, document the work movements you perform regularly and the way those movements cause or worsen your pain.
- Report the injury to your employer: Inform your employer of your herniated disc and fill out a workers’ compensation claim form.
- Appeal a denied claim: You can appeal the decision if the claim is denied. You may need to visit a qualified medical evaluator (QME) to verify your herniated disc injury is work-related. Then, file an Application for Adjudication of Claim to start the appeals process and request a hearing before a judge.
- Hire a workers’ compensation attorney: They can help you complete these steps and ensure your claim is thorough and accurate.
You Can Find Out Whether Your Herniated Disc Injury Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation
You can team up with a workers’ compensation attorney from the moment you suffer a work injury or receive a herniated disc diagnosis. We can help you navigate the entire claims process, including:
- Thoroughly documenting your herniated disc
- Gathering evidence that links the condition to your work
- Filing the paperwork
- Following up with the claims adjuster
- Negotiating a settlement or demanding full benefits
- Appealing your denial