Neck pain can cause a major disruption in a person’s life. In fact, this type of pain is one of the primary reasons why people miss work. Neck injuries can happen all at once because of some type of traumatic event, or they can come on over time and gradually get worse.
For many people, the pain in their neck is the result of a work-related injury. But this is not always easy to prove, especially if it is the type of injury that worsens progressively over an extended period of time.
If you have suffered a neck injury or you have ongoing neck pain that seems to be getting worse, you might have a right to compensation through your employer’s workers’ comp coverage, or an outside party may be responsible. To find out for sure, it is best to speak with an experienced workplace injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Common Causes for Neck Injuries in the Workplace
There are number of reasons why employees suffer on-the-job neck injuries, some of the most frequent causes include:
Those whose work involves a lot of driving are at greater risk of getting into a vehicle accident while on the job. The impact of vehicle crashes can throw the muscles and ligaments of the neck and spine out of place. This is a condition known as “whiplash”. Some of the signs of whiplash include neck stiffness, headaches, and frequent dizziness.
It is important to note that whiplash can happen even if someone is involved in a fairly minor collision, and it can take a few days or a week or longer for the onset of symptoms. This is why it is always recommended that you seek medical treatment immediately after being in an auto accident, even if you feel like you are okay.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Falling is a serious potential hazard in many workplaces. This can happen because of wet and slippery surfaces, areas where there is poor lighting, objects and debris that people trip over, and falls from high elevations, a common issue on construction sites. A serious fall could also happen while an employee is off-site but still on the clock, such as during a company convention that is hosted by a hotel or events center. Slips, trips, and falls can cause whiplash, cervical fractures, and other types of injuries to the neck.
Various other types of workplace accidents can cause on-the-job neck injuries. Examples include getting struck by equipment, tools, or other heavy objects, getting struck against a hard surface, crush injuries, and many others. These accidents are often caused by carelessness, but they could also result from equipment or machinery that is faulty or was not properly maintained.
Many jobs involve repetitive motions that put continual strain on the neck and back areas. For example, if you repeatedly lift heavy objects all day or you spend most of the day on the computer, this can cause gradual wear and tear on your neck. One of the first signs of a repetitive stress injury to the neck is stiffness and/or minor pain. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to determine if you are developing a repetitive injury that is related to your job.
Compensation for On-The-Job Neck Injuries
If you suffer a work-related neck injury, your first legal recourse is usually to file a workers’ compensation claim (assuming that your employer has workers’ comp insurance). Workers’ comp is a no-fault program, meaning that you should qualify for benefits regardless of how your injury occurred. Unfortunately, however, it does not always work out this way.
An employer might push back on your claim that the injury is work-related, especially in the case of repetitive strain injuries that do not happen all at once. This is why it is important not only to seek medical attention at the first onset of symptoms, but also to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss whether or not you qualify for workers’ comp.
During the consultation with an attorney, you might also discover that there are other parties that could be held responsible for your workplace injury. In such cases, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at fault party. Examples of instances in which this might apply include:
- Auto accidents that are the fault of another driver.
- Slip and fall accidents that are the fault of an outside property owner.
- Workplace accidents that are caused by dangerous or defective equipment.
If it turns out that you have a viable personal injury claim against an outside party, you can recover compensation not only for direct monetary losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but also for noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress.
Suffered a Workplace Injury in Alabama? Contact Burge & Burge for Legal Help
If you or someone close to you suffered an on-the-job neck injury in Alabama, Burge & Burge is here to help. For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at 205-251-9000. We look forward to serving you!