Neck Injuries & Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workplace neck injuries are among the most debilitating workplace injuries, known for their chronic pain and long periods of recovery.
While neck injuries are comparably less common than back or hand injuries, data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry shows that in 2018, neck injuries accounted for 3,686 workplace injuries (2.1% of all workers’ compensation claims). On the national level, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, neck injuries impact over 28,000 workers annually.
In the event of a workplace neck injury, employees may not be aware of their workers’ compensation eligibility. As a result, it is very important for injured employees to understand the specific types of injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the proper steps to file a claim, the forms of and amount of compensation to expect based on their injury, and how an attorney can help maximize the compensation they are awarded.
Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Neck Injury?
Yes, workers who suffer from neck injuries on the job may be eligible to file for workers’ compensation.
The overwhelming majority of workplace neck injuries are the result of overuse and sudden movements or impact, leading to sprains and strains. In Pennsylvania, these types of injuries accounted for 68.8% of all workplace neck injuries in 2018.
Common workplace neck injuries include:
- Pinched nerves
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Cervical dislocations
- Repetitive trauma injuries
- Partial or full paralysis
How Can I Make a Neck Injury Claim?
For employees who’ve recently suffered a workplace neck injury, the workers’ compensation claims process can be confusing. However, to get the best chance at receiving benefits, you must adhere to all of the Pennsylvania worker’s compensation filing deadlines and ensure all aspects of your claim are filed correctly.
To properly file a workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania, a recently injured employee must:
1. Report the injury (immediately) to your employer.
In a perfect scenario, reports should be made within the first 21 days of injury to ensure that your benefits are retroactive from the date of injury. However, if the injury is not reported within the first 21 days, there is a 120-day reporting deadline that will still allow an injured employee to maintain eligibility for benefits from the date of reporting.
2. Seek medical attention immediately and tell your doctor that the injury is work-related.
Informing your medical provider that your neck injury is work-related facilitates documentation of your injury outside of your initial report to your employer.
Under Pennsylvania law, medical treatment must be sought within the first 90 days of notice to your employer. In certain instances, you will be required to choose a doctor from a list of employer-approved medical providers. After that initial 90-day period, you may choose any medical provider you wish.
3. File your workers’ compensation claim.
After your employer submits their First Report of Injury to the state, your claim filing process begins. While claims are rarely filed this late, there is a three-year deadline from the date of injury to file a claim and maintain eligibility.
Consulting with a workers’ comp attorney during this process can help in maximizing your compensation benefits and ensuring your claim is filed with the due diligence required.
How Common is a Neck Injury at Work?
While neck injuries only account for roughly 2% of Pennsylvania worker’s compensation claims, they still rank among the top 10 most common workplace injuries annually.
Despite the prominence of workplace neck injuries, workplace injuries remain in a state of consistent decline overall. In fact, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) data demonstrates that the incidence of total workplace injuries, including workplace neck injuries, has consistently declined (year over year) for most of the last two decades and each of the last 6 years.
Are Neck Injuries Common in Certain Industries?
Neck injuries are most common in industries and occupations which require manual labor, heavy lifting, and the operation of heavy machinery, including:
- Construction (Laborers and Freighters)
- Manufacturing (Stock and Material Movers)
- Transportation (Truck/Tractor-Trailer Drivers)
- Health Services (Nursing Assistants and RNs)
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Get?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, neck injuries resulting from overexertion in the workplace or workplace accidents are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in a variety of forms, including:
- Replacement of lost wages (weekly installments or in lump-sum settlements)
- Payment of medical expenses
- Specific loss benefits (loss of limb/loss of use of limb)
- Disfigurement benefits
- Subsequent injury benefits
The state of Pennsylvania provides protections for employees who suffer workplace injuries in the form of full medical treatment coverage, replacement of lost wages, and specific loss benefits, under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act are generally determined by the type and severity of the injury suffered, as well as lost wages resulting from missed work from the time the injury.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect for a Workplace Neck Injury?
In Pennsylvania, weekly compensation loss benefits are generally provided at between 66.6% and 90% of average weekly wage (AWW) and capped at $1,025.00 per week.
Workers’ compensation benefits are determined based on a set of criteria, including, but not limited to:
- Severity and classification of the injury
- Wage loss from the injury
- Medical expenses
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates the average cost of a workplace neck-injury worker’s compensation claim to be $56,365 in lost wages and medical expenses. These costs will be the primary focus of lump-sum settlement negotiations.
These are the estimated settlement amounts based on the NSC claim cost average for neck injuries:
|Severity of Neck Injury||Estimated Settlement Amounts||Types of Injury|
|Mild||$2,000 – $37,577||Whiplash, pinched nerves, muscular trauma, etc.|
|Moderate to Severe||$37,577 – $56,365||Herniated or ruptured discs, etc..|
|Extremely Severe||$56,365 – $75,153 (+)||Loss of use, paralysis, etc.|
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Neck Injury Claims
To ensure your maximum settlement offer and/or compensation benefits after a workplace neck injury, it is essential to work with a qualified and experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
The highly qualified and dedicated attorneys at Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo are here to assist you in all aspects of your neck injury workers’ compensation claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today via email or call us at (844) 243-4849 or toll-free at 877-794-2396.