What Is The Average Workers’ Comp Settlement For A Neck Injury In VA?
Many people don’t think too much of neck injuries, believing that a crick in the neck will soon go away by itself. But if you’ve injured your neck while on the job, you know it’s more than just a stiff neck. A neck injury makes it difficult for you to work and live normally. You may have suffered excruciating pain, requiring you to take days off work and spend some money for pain treatment. If your injury is severe, you may need advanced treatments such as surgery.
Can you claim Virginia workers’ compensation for a neck injury? Generally, yes, but it comes with certain challenges.
A workers’ comp claim for a neck injury can easily be disputed by your employer or their insurance company, especially if the injury occurred while you were doing a routine task. In Virginia, health concerns that develop due to repetitive motions are not covered by the Workers’ Compensation Law, unless you can establish a specific injury during your routine. For example, a sudden whiplash is more likely to be compensated for than a neck strain that developed over time.
Are you unsure about whether your neck injury is compensable? Please don’t hesitate to talk to a lawyer. Getting compensated for your occupational neck injury is largely a matter of establishing that it was due to your work. Your attorney should help you effectively do this.
How much workers’ comp settlement would you receive for your neck injury? The answer depends on various factors that are specific to your case, such as the severity of the injury, the expenses it has incurred, and its impact on your work.
Let’s take a look at some estimated costs of common neck injuries, and an overview of your lost wages benefits calculation.
Types And Costs Of Neck Injuries
A whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) results from a violent back-and-forth movement of the head and neck. This typically happens during motor vehicle crashes and slip-and-fall accidents. Symptoms of WAD include pain, numbness, and tingling around the neck area, as well as sleeping difficulties. These symptoms can sometimes persist for several months.
To manage your whiplash injury, you may need to undergo physiotherapy with a chiropractor or an occupational therapist. A short-term therapy course may cost you $2,200 to $3,500.
Herniated Disc/Ruptured Disc/Slipped Disc/Bulging Disc
Our spine consists of smaller stacked bones (vertebrae) starting from the neck. Layered between these small bones are ‘jelly-filled’ cushions called spinal discs. When a spinal disc ruptures, its ‘jelly’ material slips out or herniates. By itself, a herniated disc causes pain and instability on the backbone. But it can also lead to a condition called impinged nerve root, where a spinal nerve is ‘pinched’ due to the decreased cushioning on the spine.
As a result, you may feel severe pain, numbness, and weakness not only on your neck area but also on other body parts along the nerve’s path, such as your arms and legs. Most cases may be treated with medication and therapy, but some require herniated disc surgery, which ranges from $20,000 to $50,000.
Neck Fracture/Cervical Fracture
The term “cervical” refers to the cervical vertebrae, which are bones that make up the neck and spine. If one or more of these bones are broken, the result can be as serious as paralysis or death.
Initial care is critical for this injury. To keep the neck stable or immobilized, a metal neck brace may be needed, costing almost $3,000. Treatment may then involve traction, rigid cast, or a cervical bone surgery that can cost as much as $26,000.
Other neck injuries that may be compensable for workers include neck lacerations or wounds, neck sprain, cervical dislocation, and neck stinger (a stinging nerve injury caused by trauma to the neck).
The costs described above are only estimates of medical expenses. Apart from these, you should consider your other economic losses such as your lost wages and your reduced capacity to work. You may also be able to claim for your non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
To fully and accurately estimate the maximum compensation you deserve for all your losses, consult with an attorney who is experienced in helping workers’ comp claimants.
How Workers’ Compensation Is Computed In Virginia
Virginia workers’ compensation should cover not only your medical bills and other related expenses, but also your lost earnings. This is generally paid weekly,at a rate that’s 66.67 percent (two-thirds) of your average weekly wages. You can get only up to 500 weeks’ worth of payment, except in extreme cases.
A primary factor in calculating this compensation is how much your injury has disabled you. Here are basic guidelines:
- Temporary partial disability. This means you are able to work but can only earn less than normal because of your injury. Your benefits should be two-thirds of the difference between your earnings before injury and your earnings after injury. For example, you were earning $800 before injury, then $500 after injury. The difference is $300, and two-thirds of that is $200 – that’s your benefits rate.
You may receive your benefits until you’re able to earn your normal wages again, or you reach your maximum medical improvement, or you reach the 500-week cap.
- Temporary total disability. This means you need to miss more than seven days of work due to your injury. Your benefits should be two-thirds of your average weekly earnings until you reach the benefit cap.
- Permanent partial disability. This typically means that you have lost the use of a certain body part such as a hand or an arm. Compensation is also two-thirds of your average weekly wages, but the number of weeks is predetermined by the Virginia Guide for Permanent Loss.
- Permanent total disability. This means that your injury permanently prevents you from working. Examples are total paralysis and severe brain injury. For this, you may be entitled to receive your temporary total rate every week for life.
As you can see, determining your maximum workers’ comp settlement can be exacting and confusing. In addition, you need to anticipate the methods that employers and insurers may use to reduce the value of your case. The best way to fight for your rightful compensation is by getting the help of a workers’ comp lawyer who is not only skilled but dedicated to helping real people instead of companies.
Contact Slominski Law
Based in Lynchburg, VA, Slominski Law is dedicated to helping Virginians who deserve payments for their injuries. Let’s talk about your work-related neck injury. Your initial consultation with us is completely free. Call us today at (434) 384-9400 or reach us through our online contact form.