If you suffer a back injury at work, it’s important that you follow the right steps to ensure that you receive the care that you need to aid in your recovery. Back injuries can be tricky. One day you may feel great and the next day you might experience debilitating pain.
When a back injury occurs it might feel like a minor strain, so you might make the mistake of not reporting it to your supervisor. What happens then if you wake up the next day and can’t get out of bed because your back has gone out?
At that point, getting your employer to approve a worker’s compensation claim for your injury is going to be far more difficult than it would have been if you had reported the injury to your supervisor when it happened.
That’s why you need to report every injury you suffer on the job to your supervisor. You never know when something that feels like a minor injury could turn into a chronic problem.
So, if you’ve suffered a back injury on the job you may be wondering how to prove a back injury at work. The first thing you need to realize is that your employer would be thrilled if they could find a way that they can deny your claim.
They’ll take advantage of any paperwork mistakes you make, or deadlines you miss, or inconsistencies with your statements. Therefore, if you make a mistake they’ll be looking to capitalize on it. Their main goal isn’t to take care of you. It’s to look out for their own bottom line.
So, what steps can you take to prove your back injury occurred on the job?
How To Prove A Back Injury At Work?
1. Report your injury as soon as it happens. If you feel you have been injured, don’t wait to see how you’ll feel in a few minutes. Even worse, don’t wait until the next day. If you don’t report your injury the day that it happens, then you’re opening the door for your employer to fight your claim.
Your employer’s argument, if you fail to report your injury on the day it happens, is going to be simple. They’ll argue that you could have injured your back somewhere other than work and now you are trying to get your job to pay for your treatment and lost wages.
2. Fill out any paperwork that your employer requires you to fill out per their policy on workplace injuries. Make sure that your employer or you submit your injury report to the industrial commission. Some employers will do this for you while others won’t. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to ensure that this report is submitted.
3. Make sure that you follow all of the policies and procedures of your employer and complete all paperwork on time. Failing to comply with your employer’s policies could end up causing you trouble when filing your worker’s compensation claim.
4. Seek medical care at the doctor your employer prefers to send you to. You are required to see a company appointed doctor for your initial diagnosis and injury. But, for any follow-up visits and treatment, you may see a doctor of your choice.
5. Follow your doctor’s instructions. If they tell you that you need to stay home and rest for a few weeks then that’s what you need to do. If your doctor gives you instructions and you fail to follow them, your employer may claim that you have made your injury worse due to your actions.
This can reduce any worker’s compensation settlement that you may be due in the future.
What You Can Do If You’re Forced Back To Work After An Injury
What should you do if you’re forced back to work after an injury? Well, the one thing you should never do is fail to report in. Failing to report to work once your doctor releases you could make you lose your job.
Your employer should have a copy of the work restrictions that the doctor gave to you. They legally have to abide by those restrictions. If they’re asking you to do something that would violate those restrictions, tell them you shouldn’t do that. If they insist, then you need to speak to a lawyer.
Assuming that your employer honors those restrictions, if you’re still in pain and can’t perform your job, then there are some steps you can take to get help.
Go Back To Your Doctor
The first thing you should do if you aren’t able to work due to pain or mobility issues is to go back to the doctor. Explain to your doctor the issues you’re having. See if he or she can take you back off work. Alternatively, he or she may be able to provide you with restrictions that better meet your needs.
Most doctors will work with patients to help them to find a compromise that works for them.
Get A Second Opinion
If your doctor isn’t able to accommodate you with more appropriate restrictions, then you should seek a second opinion. Many people don’t know that they aren’t required to see the doctor that their employer sent them to after the first 90 days following their injury.
You can see any doctor you want to at any time. However, if you see a doctor not approved by your employer during the first 90 days following an accident on the job, you’ll probably end up paying out of pocket for your care.
After 90 days you can see any qualified doctor that you want to. So, if the doctor your employer sends you to isn’t treating you properly and still insists that you return to work, then it’s time to find a new doctor. Your health should be your top priority.
While finances will be an issue, if you allow your employer to take advantage of you and this causes a permanent disability, that’s something that will impact the rest of your life.
Speak With A Qualified Workers Compensation Lawyer If You Feel You Are Being Mistreated
If you feel that your employer is attempting to take advantage of you and dispute your worker’s compensation claim, you need to speak with an experienced lawyer as quickly as possible. Your employer probably has a team of lawyers on their payroll that are looking out for their interests.
Therefore, who do you have looking out for yours? When you have a lawyer representing you, you will have an advocate on your side who understands your rights and that knows how to navigate the complex legal system.
Furthermore, if you’ve had your worker’s compensation claim unfairly denied, then you have the right to appeal and an experienced lawyer can give you the best chance at winning that appeal.