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How Much Does Workman’s Comp Pay for a Back Injury?

Some professions put you at a greater risk of suffering injuries than others. If injuries are particularly common in your occupation, it helps to know you have special insurance coverage from your employer to cover an accident and injury. However, the reality is that injuries can occur in any job or workplace, especially back injuries.

Suffering a back injury can have detrimental consequences on your physical health and lifestyle, as well as your ability to work and earn a living. Therefore, if you sustained a back injury at work, you may have many questions regarding benefits you’re entitled to receive under workers’ compensation insurance.

Several factors can affect how much workman’s comp pays you for your back injury. Consult a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to better understand your rights and benefits.


Understanding Workers’ Compensation Insurance

First and foremost, it helps to have a basic understanding of how workers’ comp insurance works.

Many workers in the U.S. have this insurance to cover work injuries. If you don’t know whether your employer has this insurance, clarify it with your immediate supervisor.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

What is Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation, also referred to as workers’ comp or workman’s comp, is a special type of government-mandated insurance that helps provide various benefits to workers if they suffer injury or an illness caused by their job.

Under this insurance, workers are entitled to certain benefits, including income replacement, if they’re injured or ill and cannot work. Depending on the severity of the injury or sickness, workers’ comp can provide benefits for a short time or more extended period.

Additionally, if a worker dies as a result of their work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation can provide the worker’s family member with death benefits.

States within the U.S. handle their own workers’ comp programs; therefore, requirements and benefits vary by state.

At present, every state requires workers’ compensation insurance except for Texas, which does not demand employers carry protection for employees. However, even without a requirement for workers’ comp insurance, employers face liability for on-the-job injuries.

Waiving the Right to Sue Under Workers’ Comp

Workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t just benefit employees. Carrying the insurance offers some safeguard to employers, as well.

If you’re covered by workers’ comp and file a claim for benefits, you cannot later file a lawsuit against your employer. Carrying insurance for employees protects employers from liability for the incident or cause of the employee’s injury or illness.

However, there is an exception to this rule. If your injury happened due to a third party, they can be liable.

So, for example, if you suffer injuries because of a piece of equipment on your job site, and the party responsible for maintenance of that equipment is responsible, you can pursue compensation from them outside of your workers’ comp.

Types of Workers Covered By Workman’s Comp

Generally, most full-time employees are covered by workers’ compensation, although requirements vary from state to state. Independent contracts are usually not eligible for workers’ compensation.

Additionally, some states don’t require workers’ comp coverage for:

  • Volunteers
  • Casual workers
  • Business owners and partners
  • Farmers and farmhands
  • Family members under a specific age

If you’re unsure whether your occupation allows you protection under workman’s comp, ask your employer.

Injuries Workers’ Compensation Covers

Workers’ comp covers injuries and illnesses arising from the workplace and work conditions.

In general, workers’ compensation covers most injuries of varying severity, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel and tendonitis
  • Head and neck injuries

The most important detail concerning your injury for you to receive benefits is that the injury arises out of employment or occurs during the course of employment. Injuries not incurred during or because of the job will not count for workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers can also obtain compensation for occupational illnesses and diseases caused by exposure on the job. This can include everything from asbestos-related illnesses to certain cancers.

Because the condition did not result from a singular accident or event in the workplace, it’s necessary to provide extensive medical records to show the link between your illness and your occupation.

Benefits Workers’ Compensation Insurance Offers

Medical Expenses

Workers’ comp can provide various benefits for injured or ill employees, including the following. The benefits you’re entitled to and how long you’re entitled to receive them depend on your specific circumstances.

Medical Expenses

Suffering a work-related injury can be expensive, and the more severe your injury, the more costly it will be. Workers’ comp should cover medical expenses stemming from your injury, including everything from emergency room visits and doctor’s appointments to surgeries and medication.

Income Replacement

Based on the extent of your injury, you may need to take some time off of work, which can negatively affect your finances and ability to care for your family. Fortunately, workers’ comp helps replace some of your lost income while you’re away from work to recover from your injury or condition.

Ongoing Care

Some work-related injuries require ongoing treatment for workers to recover fully (or close to fully). Workers’ comp can pay for your ongoing care, like therapy and rehabilitation.


Some injuries and conditions may result in a disability, temporary or permanent. Disability benefits can help workers receive compensation, such as medical expenses and lost income, for their partial or total disability.

Workers’ Compensation and Back Injuries

Back injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries, especially in more physical industries like construction and manufacturing. If you sustain a back injury at work, workers’ comp can pay out certain benefits based on the extent of your injury and how it has affected your life.

Suffering a Back Injury at Work

Suffering a back injury may not seem like a big deal to many, but these injuries can be particularly painful and debilitating. A bad back can have a substantial effect on your health and lifestyle.

Back injuries can happen for many reasons, commonly including:

  • Falls: Falls, like slip and falls or falls from heights, can cause serious back injuries, especially if you land directly on your back.
  • Heavy lifting: Over time, lifting heavy objects can take a toll on the body, especially if objects are excessively overweight or you fail to receive instruction on proper form to minimize injury.
  • Repetitive motions: Jobs that require repetitive motions, such as bending and twisting, can cause trauma on the back over time.
  • Overexertion: Back muscles, tendons, and ligaments can suffer injury with extensive physical exertion, such as pushing or pulling.
  • Posture: Working a job that requires you to maintain an uncomfortable or awkward posture for long periods can have detrimental effects on the back.
  • Vibration: Exposure to vibration, such as the full-body vibration felt from operating machinery, can eventually cause back issues.

Numerous kinds of injuries affect different back parts, including bones and joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and discs.

Spinal Cord Injury

Injuries regularly resulting from a person’s occupation include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Spinal stenosis

The frustration of sustaining a back injury on the job only adds to the pain and discomfort you’ll undoubtedly feel. Filing a proper workers’ comp claim can help you get the treatment you need and shoulder some of the financial burdens.

How Much Does Workman’s Comp Pay for Back Injuries?

Workers’ comp benefits for a back injury vary greatly, based on the details of your injury.

For back injuries, workers’ compensation can provide benefits for medical expenses incurred due to your injury and lost income while you’re away from work.

Additionally, you may be entitled to disability benefits depending on your category of disability, such as:

  • Temporary partial disability (TPD): Preventing you from doing certain work tasks for a period of time.
  • Temporary total disability (TTD): Preventing you from working at all for a limited time.
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD): Representing a lasting disability that impairs your ability to do some work tasks.
  • Permanent total disability (PTD): Representing a lasting disability that prevents you from returning to work.

To help ensure you receive fair compensation, discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer can determine which benefits you’re entitled to receive for your back injury and handle your claim for a more favorable result.

Factors Affecting Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Back Injury

The reason why workers’ comp settlements for back injuries vary is that every situation is unique.

Certain factors heavily influence the types of benefits you can pursue and the value of your claim, including:

  • The type of back injury you sustain: The kind of back injury you suffer matters, as there is a difference between a sprain or strain and a back fracture. The more serious your injury, the more compensation you can seek.
  • The medical treatments your injury requires: Medical care can be costly, and the more medical treatment you need, the more compensation you’ll require.
  • The duration of your back injury: If your back injury persists for an extended period, you’ll need a greater settlement to compensate you for the interference with your life and ability to work.
  • The total of your lost income: Compensation for lost income depends on how long you’re away from work, whether for a short time or for good.
  • Your ability to work in the future: Your settlement will also depend on whether you can return to work in some capacity or you’ve suffered a permanent disability impeding your ability to earn a living.

A workers’ compensation attorney can review these and other details to strengthen your claim and make sure you get full and fair compensation for your back injury.

How Can I Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits for My Back Injury?

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

To receive workers’ comp benefits, you must complete all necessary tasks and file your claim timely and appropriately. The steps to file a workers’ compensation claim are typically as follows.

Seek Medical Attention

Depending on the nature of your injury, you may need medical help immediately. If it is an emergency situation, don’t wait to get the medical attention you need.

Report Your Injury

In almost every state, the very first step in the claims process is reporting your injury to your employer within the timeframe dictated by your state’s laws. If you fail to do so, this can have negative repercussions on your ability to obtain workers’ comp benefits.

Report your injury to your manager or supervisor right away. Regardless of how much time you have, waiting to notify your employer can cause them to question the validity of your claim.

Consult with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Discuss your situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Consulting with a lawyer before submitting your paperwork is best, if possible, to ensure you file your claim properly and provide sufficient documentation of your back injury.

File Your Claim

Usually, your employer will give you the required paperwork to fill out and return to them. Once completed, they can send the documents to their insurance company to formally file the claim.

However, in some states, you’ll need to file additional paperwork with the state workers’ comp agency. Therefore, it’s helpful to become familiar with your state’s laws so you don’t miss any steps for your claim.

A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You Get the Most Out of Your Back Injury Claim

A back injury can derail your life in the short or long term. Consequently, you want to put yourself in the best position to get the compensation you deserve for your work-related injury. This might include workers’ comp benefits and potentially third-party compensation for negligence.

A workers’ comp lawyer can give you the best opportunity of obtaining the benefits you’re entitled to. Should you experience issues with your claim or receive a denial, your attorney can appeal the decision and represent your best interests.

If you’ve sustained a back injury on the job, don’t wait to consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area. You should not have financial stress when you are already dealing with the effects of a serious injury.

Michael J. Sabbeth, Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Michael J. Sabbeth,
Workers’ Compensation Attorney