Millions of people in North Carolina and around the country are plagued by chronic back pain. Debilitating back injuries like bulging or ruptured discs and muscle and ligament strains are often caused by a single incident such as lifting a heavy object or making an extreme twisting movement, but they can also develop over time among people who sit or stand for long periods like truck drivers or wear heavy equipment belts like police officers or electricians. This type of injury is especially common among people who work in warehouses, on construction sites and in trades that routinely require heavy items to be moved and transported.
Back injury workers’ compensation claims
The North Carolina workers’ compensation program covers back injuries suffered during the normal course of employment even if they are caused by a single traumatic incident. However, this does not mean that an injured worker cannot receive benefits when they have back conditions that develop over time. This was established by the Court of Appeals of North Carolina in a 1988 case involving a firefighter who experienced chronic back pain after a long shift. The firefighter’s claim was initially denied because he injured his back over the course of his shift and not in a single incident. The court ruled that the injury should be covered because it developed during the normal course of the firefighter’s employment.
Preventing back injuries
The best way to avoid back injuries and workers’ comp claims is to avoid overexertion and use proper technique when lifting objects. Performing stretching exercises each day, taking frequent breaks and using belts and braces that support the lower back, such as the belts worn by weightlifters, can also prevent these injuries.
Help with workers’ compensation matters
If you hurt your back while you are working, a personal injury attorney familiar with the North Carolina workers’ compensation program could help you to complete your claims paperwork and seek to ensure that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled to. These benefits could cover the costs of your medical treatment and physiotherapy as well as your lost income. If your claim is denied, an attorney could file a Request for Hearing form with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.