One of the really common kinds of injuries that all blue-collar workers suffer is a lifting injury. Whether it is loading or unloading trailer, carrying a tarp or tools, or doing anything where you are lifting, carrying, or pulling something, as a truck driver you are at risk for a lifting injury.
Lifting injuries come in many forms from hernias to back or neck strains, to bulging discs to herniated discs which require surgery.
Many times lifting injuries are the ones that are most hotly contested by the defense. There are a number of reasons for this, starting with the fact that after age 30 or so, most people start to show degenerative changes or wear and tear in the back or neck – and it tends to be worse when someone holds a physically demanding job.
Insurance companies will look at signs of degenerative changes and see another explanation for someone’s pain other than a workplace injury – usually it will be framed as calling someone a fake and a fraud, claiming that they always had a bad back and are trying to milk the system. If you think you know someone who did – wait until the insurance company tries to do that to you!
One reason that these cases are often defended aggressively is because there is a long delay between when the injury happens and when it is reported and when treatment begins. Why is there a long delay? Sometimes the injury is just a “tweak” in the low back that you do not think much of but the pain grows steadily over the next several days before you decide to do something about it. That window of time when you are trying to tough it out is where the insurance company casts a shadow of suspicion on you, pointing to the fact that you kept working or that you were off for several days when you could have done it some way off the job.
Medical records are often a source of ammunition for the defense. If you do not tell the doctor clearly that the work accident was the starting point for your pain or cannot properly describe the starting point for your pain, the defense will use the words which the doctor says came out of your mouth to create a defense.
To recap, a couple of points you should keep I mind about lifting injuries:
1. These are likely to be contested cases – which means that getting skilled legal help is a good idea. There will likely be something in your medical records that the insurance company can hang their hat on. Unless you know how to address this, you should be getting help.
2. You should promptly report an injury and seek medical care, even if you do not think that it is serious at first. Any delay is reporting the accident or getting care can come back to bite you later.
3. You need to be careful about how you report the accident to your doctor in terms of when the pain started but also the mechanics of it. This is something that will be reviewed by the insurance company with a fine tooth comb to find something you said to use against you.
If you have a current worker’s compensation issue which you need help on, please feel free to reach out to our office by calling us at 312-263-1080 to discuss your issues and what options you have. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and there is no charge for the call.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you know anyone who can benefit from this kind of information, please feel free to share this information.
We are here to help truck drivers after an on-the-job accident. Knowledge is power, and the first step in protecting your rights is to know what they are.