When returning to work after suffering from a back injury, you may be concerned about sustaining another injury.
It's important to be cautious of what caused your back injury in the first place. Luckily, workers' compensation in Pennsylvania is a no-fault system, which means that you can receive benefits regardless of who's at fault.
Further, if you have sustained an injury caused by a third party during the scope of your employment, you may be eligible for additional compensation.
Work-related injuries in Pennsylvania often involve some type of damage to the employee's back. Some examples include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Lower back strain
- Fractured vertebrae
- Pinched nerves
- Compressed discs
Prompt, Full Treatment is Imperative
A back injury can result from a single act, such as lifting a heavy instrument. Or an injury might involve gradual strain occurring over time due to repetitive motion. Falls are generally the most common work accidents, and they can result in back injuries as well.
Even back injuries on the less severe end of the spectrum can be devastatingly painful. These injuries often occur when workers overextend or twist their spines during heavy lifting activities. These injuries can reoccur if workers don't receive prompt and proper treatment the first time.
Workers deserve to know that aggravation of a pre-existing injury can be compensable if the actions that aggravated or exacerbated it were work-related. For example, if you had a prior back injury from a car accident that was aggravated by lifting a package at work, that injury may be at least partially compensable. The Pennsylvania Governor's Office specifically indicates coverage may be extended for "an earlier work-related disability which recurs, causing a later disability."
You must immediately report your injury to your employer or supervisor and note to your primary physician that you suspect your injury may be work-related. He or she should assist with referrals to specialists, such as orthopedists or chiropractors. Failure to take these steps could result in denial of your claim - whether it's your first or subsequent claim.
Staying Safe After Returning to Work
Verywell Health offers tips on what to do when returning to work after a back injury. These include:
- Make sure your back pain is addressed with your employer. If back pain continues or worsens at work, don't hesitate to speak up. Your employer should be addressing these issues, since a workers' compensation claim can cost them money.
- Participate in an ergonomics program. Some companies may have an occupational health or resource circle that you can get involved in. Participatory ergonomics is a great method of intervention that can help workers prevent back injuries.
Whether your initial back injury happened in the workplace or elsewhere, performing basic job functions could put you at risk of reoccurring complications. In the event that you have been injured on the job, you should speak to an experienced Hazleton workplace accident attorney as soon as possible.