Workers' compensation is the means of providing injured workers basic benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury. Many injuries occur in the neck and back areas because of the work demands of bending and lifting. An injury to the back or neck can result in a degenerative disk disease, and medical care and benefits are available appropriate to the severity of the injury.
Job injury Defined
A job injury is an injury that occurs while an employee is on or about the duties of his work assignments. This could be a trip to the post office or even a fall in the employee parking lot. It is considered a work injury even where a pre-existing condition exist and the pre-existing condition is aggravated and made worse.
Degenerative Disk Defined
A disk is the soft, compressible material between the spinal column vertebrae found in the neck and back. The disk is the material that act as a shock absorber to protect the bones that protect the spinal cord. When the disk is ruptured or wears down, it is considered to be degenerative disk disease.
Degenerative Disk From a Job Injury
When activity at work causes problems to the spinal column and the disk, this is considered a job injury defined as a degenerative disk disease. This type of injury can result over a long period of time with constant wear and tear or suddenly with a lifting or bending experience that herniates or ruptures the disk, causing impingement on the spinal cord.
A lumbar or cervical disk injury can be very painful and disabling. A disk injury will require medical treatment and a specialist in spinal disorders. The injury, depending on the severity, may require surgery to remove the impinging ruptured disk or even a spinal fusion. The treating doctor will ultimately assess the severity of the injury at the release date.
Award for Permanent Impairment
As with all job injuries, workers' compensation will pay all medical cost and weekly benefits to assist in a worker's living expenses while she is off work. In addition, most back injuries--especially if surgery is involved--will result in some degree of permanent impairment to the worker. And depending on the severity on the worker's lost ability to work, a dollar award for permanent disability is provided under workers' compensation laws in all states.
- David Burlison; Attorney; Tennessee
- Mike Frayser; Attorney; Tennessee
- 3rd lumbar vertebrae fracture image by Dr Cano from Fotolia.com