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Is neck injury covered under work comp?

FAQs about issues in workers compensation with cervical spine and neck injury claims

Work comp in Michigan is designed to provide lost wages and medical treatment for at-work injuries. But neck injuries are commonly disputed by employers and insurance companies. Below is information about the workers compensation neck injury claim — and your rights.

For help now, call one of our workmans comp attorneys at (855) 221-COMP, or fill out our free consultation form.

How will workers comp handle my neck injury?
Why does workers comp dispute neck injuries?
What should I do if I think I have a neck injury?
What can prove my neck injury?
I've been sent to an IME, now what?

Q. How will workers comp handle my neck injury?
A. Injuries to the neck, (technically called the cervical spine) also cause controversy and are frequently disputed by employers and insurance companies, who do not want to accept responsibility and pay lifetime wage loss and medical treatment. Many times, it will not even matter what your own doctor says.

When a person suffers a neck injury at work it can be the end of his or her career. This is common in jobs that require frequent reaching, pulling, turning and bending. This could mean a substantial loss of lifetime earnings. It can be devastating for a family to lose their primary source of income. Workers compensation should pay wage loss benefits if you are disabled and cannot work.

A neck injury may also prevent any type of employment. A person may find themselves spending the entire day just trying to manage their pain symptoms. Neck surgery could also result in permanent restrictions and extensive follow-up care.

Q. Why does workers comp dispute neck injuries?
A. An injury to the neck could be controversial because it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pain and to prove that it is work-related. This is especially true if you have a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease or some other preexisting condition.

Q. What should I do if I think I have a neck injury?
A. It is very important that you report any work injury to your employer when it happens. Ask to fill out an accident report and to see a doctor.

When you see your doctor, explain any new symptoms. Here's more information on what to do if you've been injured on the job.

Q. What can prove my neck injury?
A. A diagnosis of a herniated or ruptured disc is important evidence of injury. Disc injury occurs when some of the material between the vertebrae is damaged and pushed out.

You may find yourself with an injury to the nerve that causes severe pain and numbness down your arms. This is known as a pinched nerve, slipped disc, or radiculopathy. You also could have spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage of your vertebrae that can be caused from trauma.

Even if you have a preexisting condition, if the medical history shows that you have an injury and new symptoms, you can receive workers compensation benefits. You must show that the work injury changed the underlying pathology in a significant manner. Inflammation may be enough to win your case. Talk to your doctor about whether or not your condition is work-related.

Q. I've been sent to an IME, now what?
A. Employers and insurance companies regularly send people to their doctors for an "independent" medical examination (IME). This is a second opinion exam required by your insurance company or employer by an “independent” doctor.

These "independent" insurance doctors are selected by your employer or a workers compensation insurance company, and they are often paid a lot of money to find "nothing wrong" with seriously injured workers.

It is possible that your work comp benefits will be disputed based upon this report. You should always make sure that you're treating with your own doctor who has your best interests in mind.

Have questions about whether workers comp will cover your neck injury?

All reasonable and necessary medical treatment should be paid for a neck or a cervical spinal injury. It's very important to speak with an experienced workmans comp attorney if your benefits have been denied.

Call us at (855) 221-COMP, or fill out our free contact form. There's no fee or no obligation, and we can answer all of your legal questions for free.

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