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Can You Get Workers' Comp for a Back Injury?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 23, 2015 11:02 AM

Nobody wants a back injury. It hurts! But, when a back injury prevents you from being able to do your job, the pain can be felt in your wallet as well as on your back.

Work related back injuries, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), account for one-third of all work related injuries and illnesses each year. The average cost of a back injury worker's comp claim can be as high as $80,000. This covers the cost of medical care and missed work.

So, can you get workers' compensation for a back injury?

Was It Work Related?

To be covered by workers' comp, your back injury must be work related. This usually means the injury:

  • Occurred at the workplace,
  • In the scope of employment.

As always though, there are exceptions:

  • Injuries incurred after work hours, but at a work-sponsored event, are also covered.
  • Injuries during your commute usually are not covered, but there are exceptions such as during business trips, or special errands.
  • Injuries occurring at work, but in violation of the law or company policy, are not covered.

How Do You Make a Claim?

While the actual process and required forms may vary from state to state, you should generally:

  1. See a doctor. Get your injury evaluated and treated as soon as possible. Have your doctor document and diagnose your injury. Medical paperwork from your doctor can help you substantiate your claim that your injury was work related.
  2. Notify your employer. Before you can file a claim, you must first notify your employer of your injury. Some states, like New Jersey, require written notice. Other states set time limits on when you have to notify your employer. For example, in Texas, you have to notify your employer within 30 days of an injury to preserve your worker's comp claim.
  3. File a claim: After you notify your employer of your injury, fill out the workers' compensation claim forms. Employers will usually give you these forms. However, your local workers' comp agencies may have other forms as well, so be sure to check with them as well.

What's The Time Limit For Filing a Claim?

The time limit, or statute of limitation, for filing a claim varies from state to state. When the statute of limitation starts can also vary depending on state statute.

In Florida, for example, you have two years after the injury to file a claim. However, if you didn't know that the injury was work related, then the statute of limitations doesn't start until you find out.

In Texas, you have only one year to file a claim. The statute of limitation starts when the injury occurred, or when the employer knew or should have known the injury was work-related. Be sure to check your state's statute to find out when you have to file your claim.

If you've suffered a back injury, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you assess your options for filing a claim.

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