Workers’ Compensation for an Employee Who Suffers a Neck Injury at Work

Charleston Workplace Neck Injury Lawyer

An employee can suffer a neck injury from a fall at work, or a neck condition can arise out of the worker’s overexertion or repetitive motions. Whether the injury is to the cervical spine, resulting in a serious injury, or is a strain, if it prevents an employee from working, they should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

Statistics for Work-Related Injuries

Private employers reported approximately 2.8 million non-fatal work injuries and illnesses in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of those injuries, 882,730, nearly one-third, resulted in days away from work. Injuries to the back, which include the cervical spine or neck area, accounted for 148,780 of the days away from work cases.

Types of Neck Injuries Employees Can Suffer

A worker’s on-the-job neck injury may resolve itself or cause permanent disability. Here are some examples of on-the-job neck injuries:

  • Herniated disc: A herniated disc occurs when an injury or motion pushes out the jelly-like substance in a vertebral disc.
  • Neck fracture: A neck fracture occurs when part of the cervical or upper portion of the spine breaks.
  • Cervical dislocation: A work accident can cause an employee’s cervical spine to dislocate, damaging ligaments in the area.
  • Whiplash: Whiplash or neck strain occurs when the neck is jarred backward or forward.
  • Nerve compression: A nerve compression or pinched nerve occurs when a muscle or bone puts direct pressure on a cervical nerve.
  • Neck stinger: Trauma, like when a heavy object strikes an employee, can cause a stinger or injury to a nerve root.
  • Neck strain: An employee can stretch or tear the muscles or tendons in the neck.

Causes of Neck Injuries on the Job

On-the-job neck injuries have many causes. Here are some of the most common causes of neck injuries:

  • Falls
  • Automobile accidents
  • Accidents involving heavy machinery
  • Heavy lifting
  • Falling objects
  • Repetitive motions
  • Prolonged sitting

Symptoms of a Neck Injury

Workers should not ignore neck pain or discomfort. Failing to get treatment can lead to worse problems. Workers should look for these symptoms following a work accident:

  • Neck pain that gets worse when the head is in one position
  • Neck pain that does not subside within a few days
  • Muscle tightness and spasms
  • Difficulty moving the head
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Symptoms spreading to arms or legs

Compensation for Workers Who Suffer Neck Injuries

What are the general rules for receiving workers’ compensation in South Carolina for on-the-job neck injuries?

  • Notice: An employee must give notice of an injury to their employer as soon as practicable and no later than 90 days after the injury.
  • Medical Treatment: The employer must provide medical care for an injured employee. Except in the case of an emergency, the employer decides which doctor the employee will see.
  • Claim: If the employer disputes the claim, the employee has two years to file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
  • Fault: An injured employee does not have to prove their employer was at fault. Likewise, an employer cannot use an employee’s fault to deny coverage.
  • Start of Benefits: No compensation is paid to the injured worker for the first seven days. If the disability lasts for more than 14 days, payments will go back to the date of the injury.
  • Amount of Payments: An injured employee receives 66 and two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to the state’s maximum, which increases each year. The maximum was $838.21 for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2018.
  • Temporary Disability: Generally, the injured employee receives temporary disability benefits until they return to work or reach maximum medical improvement.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: An injury to the cervical spine is an injury to the back. If the loss of the use of the back is 49 percent or less, the employee receives benefits for 300 weeks. If the loss of the use of the back is 50 percent or more, the employee receives benefits for 500 weeks. When the loss of use of the back is 50 percent or more, the employee is presumed to be permanently and totally disabled.
  • Permanent Total Disability: If an employee is permanently and totally disabled, they can receive benefits up to 500 weeks. For catastrophic injuries, like paralysis, the employee can get benefits for life.
  • Legal Help: The workers’ compensation process can get complicated. Employees can protect their rights by contacting a workers’ compensation attorney.

Contact Us

If you suffer an injury at work, call a workers’ compensation lawyer at Steinberg Law Firm 24/7 at 843-720-2800, make an appointment at www.steinberglawfirm.com or visit our offices in Charleston, Goose Creek or Summerville.

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