Even though neck injuries are some of the most common workplace injuries, they are some of the most challenging to prove. The reason for the difficulty is twofold. First, neck injuries are prevalent outside the workplace. This means that insurers will try to fix the source of the injury outside the workplace. Second, many neck injuries are considered wear-and-tear injuries, the cause of which is hard to pin down. Both scenarios present challenges to proving your neck injury occurred due to your employment and not due to a non-work cause. Although complex and challenging, proving workplace neck injuries is possible. With the right attorney on your side, you will be on your way to receiving the compensation you deserve.
Why are Proving Neck Injuries Difficult?
Proving neck injuries are challenging for several reasons, but two common factors can add to the complexity of neck injury cases.
Other Causes of Neck Injuries
Neck injuries are common occurrences in everyday life. You can suffer a neck injury from potentially any accident, including a car wreck, skiing accident, fall down the stairs, to name a few. Sometimes neck injuries do not result from any accident but are instead a part of the natural aging process. For instance, it is possible for cartilage to degenerate over time or to develop arthritis in your neck joints.
Wear and Tear
Wear-and-tear injuries occur as a result of repetitive use and motion. Certain professions and job tasks require using the same body part in the same manner, repeatedly, daily. This can cause a wear-and-tear injury, including in the neck. Wear-and-tear injuries are notoriously more challenging to prove because they do not happen in a specific accident that is easily identifiable. Instead, they emerge over time and only gradually.
Common Workplace Neck Injuries
Specific neck injuries occur commonly at the workplace or due to a workplace accident. These include:
- Herniated disc,
- Pinched nerves,
- Neck sprain or strain,
- Pulled muscles, and
- Torn tendons.
No matter the injury, always seek medical attention to receive any necessary treatment and prevent further injury.
How to Prove Your Workplace Neck Injury
Proving your neck injury at work involves showing the causal link between the workplace accident and your injury.
Injury or Incident Report
After a work injury, you must report the incident to your employer. We always recommend that you do so in writing to document what occurred adequately. Your employer probably has specific forms that will serve as documentation.
Depending on the circumstances, co-workers, vendors, or other individuals may have witnessed the accident. They may be able to provide an account of what occurred.
Video surveillance and security footage can be beneficial because they provide an unbiased report of what happened. If surveillance cameras capture the incident, this can be a valuable piece of evidence in proving your workplace neck injury.
Your medical records and physician assessments of your injury and the cause are vital to proving the causal connection between the accident and injury. Always keep copies of records for all visits, treatments, etc.
Other examples of evidence you can use to prove your case include police reports, expert reports, and expert testimony.
Don’t worry if you are reading this list and thinking you do not have all this evidence. It’s ok if you do not have a smoking gun. Few work injury cases check off every box. In fact, more often than not, you won’t have the smoking gun but rather several pieces of evidence that, taken together, prove your case.
Remember, the insurance carrier’s job is to pay the least amount of money possible, including denying claims. Even if you believe your neck injury is the apparent result of a workplace accident, insurance companies will often still fight you. Getting the compensation you deserve usually takes the skill, experience, and advocacy of an experienced lawyer.