A Difficult Workers Compensation Injury
In workers compensation cases, neck injury occurs very often. Work injuries to the neck can be caused by falling, hyperextension of the neck, or whiplash of the neck. Work accidents involving injury to the neck are very dangerous because the pain can radiate down your entire body and affect many other body parts. It is very common for this type of work accident to cause pain to radiate to your shoulders and back.
What makes these injuries so difficult is that they aren’t limited to your neck. They don’t just “stay there.” While your neck may be the initial point of impact, it can all too often affect your spine. That can have significant lasting, permanent damage that can lessen your overall quality of life. Not to be alarmist, but this is the kind of injury that could potentially lead to paralysis. Also, this type of workers compensation accident often causes headaches and psychological injury which is a compensable consequence under workers compensation laws.
In workers compensation, we use the DRE method to determine how much permanent impairment has been caused to the neck. Under the DRE method, one can have 0-28% of permanent impairment because of a work accident involving the neck.
However, some neck injuries are very severe and you can be provided a rating which can be higher under Almaraz Guzman. Under Almaraz Guzman, the workers compensation doctor makes a more personalized determination as to the amount of permanent impairment an injured worker may have.
Neck injuries can happen on the job in many different ways. Perhaps the most common form of injury to the neck is “whiplash.” Commonly (but not always) occurring as the result of a vehicular accident, “whiplash” results when a person’s head and neck are thrust forward faster than the rest of their body. This makes the cervical vertebrae “whip,” so to speak, which can potentially damage muscles, ligaments, soft tissues and other areas in the neck as well as the cervical spine.
That said, there are many other ways that you could suffer an injury to your neck in the course of your job. You could, hopefully, only suffer a sprain or a strain. While those are painful and will require some time to heal, they do exactly that – heal. Until then, something like a sprain, which is essentially a stretch or even a tear of your neck’s soft tissues is a kind of localized trauma. A strain, on the other hand, is a muscle injury. It could affect the muscles from your ear to your shoulder, your chin to chest, or other movements. Both could weaken your physical and psychological health.
“Pinching your nerve” may not sound like the biggest deal, but it can lead to significant problems. When your nerve is pinched, it means that a bone spur or herniated disc is pinching a nerve which hurts, could make you numb, or even just weaken your muscles. Injuries to the facet joint as well as spinal stenosis can all come about as a result of an injury to the neck.
In order to make sure that your workers compensation reports are fair and based off of the correct method of determining permanent impairment, you need a workers compensation attorney to evaluate all of your medical records.
Future Medical Care
Work injuries to the neck can require a wide variety of different treatments and evaluations. The neck has seven vertebrae and in between each vertebrae is an intervertebral disc. If you sustain a serious workers compensation injury, then the intervertebral disc may have protruded into the area of your spinal canal.
If the disc is not encroaching on the exiting nerve roots of the spinal canal, then you may be entitled to receive therapy, medications and injections as part of your workers compensation case. However, if the disc is touching the exiting nerve root of the spinal canal, then you may need a surgery to remove the disc from the exiting nerve roots. These surgeries require a 4-6 day hospital stay and are very expensive.
Neck injuries’ severity isn’t always consistent with the force of impact. Seemingly low-impact accidents can cause the most severe injuries to the neck. What doesn’t seem like such a bad injury could lead to headaches, dizziness, reduced mobility, and worse.
As with many other kinds of injuries, an injury to your neck might not seem bad in the moments after the injury, only for the true consequences to make themselves known later on. Too often, someone who’s suffered a terrible injury to their neck will go back to their regular life, work, social life, and so forth, thinking they’re fine, only for the real symptoms and pain to make themselves known in a few days, a week, or even months. As soon as you injure your neck, it’s important to get medical and legal care.
You should contact our Long Beach workers compensation attorney if you have sustained a work injury to your neck. You need to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your neck injury as it can impact the rest of your life.