Each year, millions of people are seriously injured in New Jersey workplace accidents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common workplace injuries involve slips, trips, and falls. For example, in 2019, there were more than 244,000 recorded cases of work-related injuries involving some type of fall.
Like other types of accidents, falls can result in a wide range of injuries. When a worker falls on their back, they may immediately notice a sharp pain in the upper back, middle back pain, or radiating pain throughout their lower back. Initially, it is almost impossible to determine the seriousness of fall-related injuries, and anyone injured in a New Jersey workplace accident should immediately get checked out by a doctor.
Common Back Injuries Caused by Workplace Falls
Many workplace falls involve the injured worker landing on their back. Pain from falling on the buttocks is also common. These falls can cause severe, life-changing injuries. There are several common types of back injuries related to workplace slip and fall accidents.
When a worker falls on their back, the vertebrae, which are the small bones making up the spine, can break. If a vertebra fractures or breaks, it can apply pressure to the spinal cord, causing excruciating pain.
In between each vertebra are cushiony discs that act as shock absorbers. When someone falls on their back, these discs can slip out of place. Compressed discs and herniated discs are also common. Disc injuries are characterized by pain or numbness, usually along one side of the body, that often worsens when walking or sitting down.
Spinal Cord Injury
In severe cases, a fall can result in injury to the spinal cord itself. The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting nerve signals from the brain throughout the body. If the spinal cord suffers damage, it can result in reduced ability to move and may even cause paralysis.
Head and Brain Injuries
Often, when someone falls on their back, the next point of contact is the back of the head. This can result in various severe head or brain injuries. Some head injuries, such as open head wounds, are immediately apparent. However, even if there is no visible damage to the head, an employee may have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are especially dangerous because, if left untreated, they can worsen over time.
Torn Ligaments or Tendons
When someone falls on their back, they will often damage the tendons or ligaments. Tendons are the tough, fibrous bands that connect muscles to bones. Tendons are also fibrous bands but connect bones to other bones. Common symptoms of a damaged tendon or ligament include decreased function, muscle spasms, and pain that worsens when walking or moving.
Workplace falls can cause a host of serious, potentially life-changing injuries. Often, injured employees will require hospitalization, may miss work, and will likely face significant medical bills. A New Jersey workers’ compensation claim can help injured workers cover these expenses.
The New Jersey Workers’ Comp System
Workers injured on the job may be able to obtain medical benefits and income-replacement benefits by filing a New Jersey workers’ compensation claim. Once a worker qualifies for workers’ comp benefits, the employee will typically receive benefits until they can return to work or until they reach maximum medical improvement.
However, long-term benefits may also be available, including benefits to make up for an employee’s reduced earning capacity.
Workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Medical benefits,
- Partial wage replacement benefits, and
- Vocational rehabilitation.
Notably, to obtain benefits, a worker does not need to prove that their employer was responsible for the accident – only that their injuries were related to their job. This can include on-the-job injuries, job-related illnesses, and repetitive-use injuries, also known as WEAR and TEAR injuries.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, families of workers who die on the job may be eligible for death benefits under the workers’ compensation law. These benefits compensate a grieving family for their loved one’s lost income. Death benefits are paid weekly and equal 70% of the deceased worker’s weekly wage, subject to a predetermined maximum. Families can also recover up to $3,500 in funeral and burial costs through workers’ compensation death benefits.
Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
If you suffer a back or other type of injury at work, the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Petro Cohen are here to help.
Petro Cohen, P.C. has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ comp. The firm received the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell – the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials – in Professional Excellence and Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.
In addition to the firm’s stellar reputation, the Workers’ Compensation department head, Frank Petro, is widely respected locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading attorney in this specialized field. A founding partner of the law firm, Mr. Petro has been recognized as an outstanding attorney by Best Lawyers® every year since 1995 and by Super Lawyers® every year since 2005. Moreover, he has achieved a rating of “Superb” on the leading lawyer-review website, Avvo®, the highest achievable rating.
Along with Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, and Daniel Rosenthal, our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases throughout the state. This experience and winning track record means that you are going to have a skilled New Jersey work injury lawyer who will work for you to ensure you receive the medical treatment you need and the benefits you deserve.
We have four offices in southern New Jersey, including Northfield, Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton (Trenton area). All of our offices are open daily from 8:30 AM until 5: 30 PM, and our attorneys are available 24/7 via Live Chat or e-mail at info@PetroCohen.com
To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim, reach out today to our dedicated New Jersey workers’ comp lawyers at Petro Cohen for a free consultation.