Worker's Compensation and Cervical Spine Injury

A cervical spine injury refers to an injury to any of the seven spinal vertebra (bones) that comprise the neck (cervical refers to neck). Cervical spinal cord injuries occur when a direct force damages the spinal cord tissue or the disks of the spinal column, causing bruising, tearing or crushing of the cervical spinal cord or surrounding tissue.   A cervical spine injury is often stabilized with a rigid collar to prevent further injury to the area.

If a cervical dislocation (a common form of cervical spine injury) is sustained in the scope of your employment duties you may be eligible for benefits and medical care reimbursement under a State Worker’s Compensation insurance program.   However, to qualify, the worker must immediately seek appropriate medical care and treatment and report the injury to his employer as soon as possible.  

Worker’s Comp Temporary Injury Benefits

If the cervical spine injury is temporary or short term, benefits will be paid to the injured worker by his employer’s coverage in a state-based Worker’s Compensation insurance program.  The injured worker is reimbursed, on a tax exempt basis, for (1) approximately two-thirds of the pay the worker was earning each week and (2) the full costs of receiving medical care and treatment of the cervical spine injury.   Medical costs associated with doctors, nurses, physical therapy, dentists, chiropractors and prosthetic devices are covered so long as the claim is not denied.

Worker’s Comp Permanent Injury Benefits

If an employee finds that he has suffered a permanent cervical spinal cord injury, he may pursue his rights under a Worker’s Compensation insurance claim, he may file a personal injury lawsuit for damages against a negligent employer or he may seek to access benefits for a permanent disability condition under the Social Security Disability Insurance program and/or the Supplemental Security Income program.   This may be the point at which to consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action – for example, to pursue one or all of the above possible solutions.   Sometime where there is a permanent disability situation there may be an offer of a lump sum payment by the employer’s insurer. That kind of offer should be reviewed by a qualified attorney to assure the injured worker is being fairly compensated for his injury.

Getting Legal Help

If you or a member of your family has suffered a cervical spine injury while acting in the scope of his employment, consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss the circumstances of the injury.   An attorney can take the steps necessary to appeal a claim denial and protect an injured employee’s right to be provided with fair compensation for his losses.

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