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Icon for back injury compensation with man holding his back

Back injuries are sadly all too common in the workplace. In fact, of the 563,600 people who suffered a work-related injury or illness in 2017-18, 24.2% of those injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling or bending. A simple slip and fall can also result in a serious injury to your back, whether you have a pre-existing back injury or suffer a new injury.

But the workplace is not the only way our clients suffer back injury. Many back injuries happen in motor vehicle accidents or in slips and falls. No matter how your accident happened, back injuries, spinal injuries, and other spinal injury-related complications can be debilitating and can cause lasting complications. It is important that you engage with legal services to find out where you stand and what your rights are if you have suffered a back injury.

If you have suffered a traumatic back injury or are an injured worker looking to make a claim for workers compensation, talk to us about the legal process and get started. Your initial consultation is free, and we can help you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim with our no win no fee service.

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I’ve been injured and hurt my back at work - Do I have a claim?

Back injury workers compensation icon of worker lifting heavy box

You have suffered an injury to your back at work. You might have felt a sharp twinge which has intensified over time, or you may have felt severe pain immediately. Alternatively, you might not have noticed much of an injury at all but over time your back has become more and more painful.

Example: Gavin is a baker who suffered a lower back injury when lifting a bowl that was full of mixture, with a weight of approximately 45.2kg. Gavin suffers a disc prolapse and requires surgery. After his surgery Gavin manages to secure a job earning a higher income but ultimately is forced to retire early owing to ongoing injury. Gavin’s case is assessed allowing a global award of $400,000, with an additional special allowance for remedial and physiotherapy treatment. Gavin is awarded a final amount of $694,186.32.

Example: Linda is a librarian who has suffered a back injury after lifting an item that was too heavy for her to lift alone. Ultimately, with the assistance of a personal injury law specialist, Linda is able to establish liability against her employer for a total award of damages of $471,194.21.

Common back injuries at work

Work back injuries icon showing back

Some of the most common injuries at work are to the lower back. Common injuries to the back include sprains and strains of the muscles, herniated discs, or even fractured vertebrae. A serious back injury can happen at work where the spinal cord suffers damage.

If a person has suffered a back injury and has difficulty breathing, numbness or paralysis, it is vital that you do not move and seek emergency treatment immediately.

Some of the most common back injuries in the workplace are:

  • Lower back injuries - can be caused by lifting and twisting, not bending at the knees when picking up heavy objects, repetitive strain injuries, and lifting items that are too heavy for your capacity
  • Bulging or ruptured discs - as we age, our discs deteriorate just like any other part of the body. A bulging or ruptured disc might be something that develops over time, or it can be caused by an acute injury such as by lifting and twisting with a heavy item
  • Muscle or ligament strain - again, using incorrect lifting techniques or lifting items that are too heavy for you can cause problems with muscle or ligament strains
  • Shoulder and back pain generally - this can be caused by poor posture at work or by sitting at a desk/using a workspace that is not ergonomically set up for you

Injured by back in a car or road accident - Do I have a claim?

Back injury from car accident icon showing outline of car accident

Back injuries at work are common, but car accidents can also cause back injuries. We see many clients who come to us with injuries from a car accident who are not sure if they can claim for their back injuries. The fact is that a back injury can be with you for life. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another road user, whether as a driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, a cyclist, a truck driver, or a motorcyclist, you may be eligible to seek compensation.

Common back injuries from car and road accidents

Spinal cord injury from car accident icon

●     Spinal cord injuries - the spinal cord is a highly sensitive and complicated part of our physiology. It is also fragile and can be damaged easily. If you have been in a serious car accident and suffered a spinal cord injury you should speak to our team of lawyers today.

●     Herniated discs - the discs of the spine can be damaged with even the slightest of accidents. You may feel sharp or persistent pain in your back following on from an accident which may be an indicator that you have suffered a herniated or bulging disc. Again, as with any back injury after a car accident you should seek legal advice on how to proceed with a claim for compensation.

●     Fractured spine - if you have suffered a fractured spine in a car accident this is a serious injury and needs to be treated with appropriate rehabilitation and medical care. This can be a costly process and as such compensation will play a vital part in your recovery.

●     Lumbar spine injuries - the lumbar section of the spine is critical in providing your body with support, but it is also prone to injury and damage. Lumbar injuries can cause persistent and dull pain which interferes with a range of activities and daily tasks, which makes rehabilitation and recovery difficult. Compensation is again a critical part of your recovery.

●     Whiplash - can cause pain in the shoulders and upper back and is a common injury in road accidents. If you have whiplash you should speak to our team today about how we can help you in your claim for compensation.

What can you seek in a claim for compensation following a back injury?

Checklist icon to show what you can claim compensation for

Whether making a workers compensation claim, or making a claim for compensation due to someone else’s negligence, there are specific things you can claim for. 

A back injury will require medical treatment and rehabilitation, and you may need ongoing remedial treatment such as physiotherapy and massage. As such, your claim for compensation can include: 

●     Medical treatment and medical expenses - physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, holistic healthcare, hydrotherapy (as well as associated travel costs where required)

●     Home modification - you may need a new bed to accommodate your injury, or adjustments to your bathroom if you need assistance bathing or showering, or a ramp for a wheelchair or assistance device

●     In-home care and treatment - nursing, respite and home care can all be claimed for

●     Lost wages and income - both current and future (with an assessment of your potential future loss of income)

●     Loss of enjoyment and social interaction- if you have been involved in activities that you can no longer participate in this can be claimed for under loss

When you meet with our personal injury lawyers for your initial no obligation consultation we will go through the likely outcome of your personal injury claim.

How much compensation can I get for a back injury?

Every claim is different, but a back injury claim where you have suffered significant injury and lost income can run easily into the six figure amounts. However, even a moderate injury where your life has been impacted is worth pursuing. Our compensation lawyers will help you to receive financial compensation for an injury which was not your fault and which you now must live with.

Time limits for back injury claims

Back injury compensation time limit icon showing a green outline of a sand timer

When you are injured at work and wish to claim workers compensation you have six months from the date of your injury to lodge your claim. If you also wish to claim damages from your employer for negligence you have three years from the date of your injury in which to commence your claim.

Road accident injuries are similar in that you have three years from the date of your injury to commence a claim in a court. If you are claiming against the Nominal Defendant (in a hit and run type incident, you must advise (deliver a complying notice of accident claim form to) the Nominal Defendant within nine months of your accident.

In any claim for compensation, you must also abide by notice periods to advise the proposed defendant that you are going to take action against them. This must be done within nine months of the date of your accident or within one month after engaging a solicitor to act on your behalf.

Posted by Chris McMahon Special Counsel

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Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
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