How Much Does Workmans’ Comp Pay for a Back Injury?

Workers’ compensation is the most common way in which workplace accident victims obtain benefits for their injuries. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. This means that people who suffer work-related injuries are entitled to benefits regardless of fault.

A back injury sustained in a workplace accident can traumatize a victim unfortunate enough to suffer it. Thankfully, in most cases, workers who have suffered a back injury can obtain benefits for their medical expenses and lost income by filing a workers’ compensation claim. That said, victims should always retain a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that they obtain the full and fair value of their claims.

Back Injuries Can Severely Debilitate You

Back injuries often affect the body’s musculoskeletal system, including the soft tissue, cartilage, nerves, joint disks, spine, and even the spinal cord. Common back injuries that occur in the workplace include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Herniated disc 
  • Whiplash
  • Muscular strains

They can lead to all sorts of impairments in a victim’s daily life, from being able to work to even being able to move about properly.

Furthermore, back injuries can lead to additional injuries because of the contorted manner in which a back injury may force one to walk or stand. Jobs that include manual labor tasks are the most frequent sites for workplace back injuries. Beyond that, they can affect employees in jobs across all industries. In one year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics documented 97,990 lost time injuries caused by back injuries due to overexertion from lifting and lowering actions alone.

How Much Compensation Will I Get for a Back Injury?

The insurance company can be hesitant to cover back injuries due to their frequency and potential to be exaggerated or fabricated. When only muscles and ligaments are impacted, the extent of the injury is determined by the patient’s description. It is often difficult to diagnose back injuries, which can make it harder for people who have been hurt to prove their injury happened, thus reducing their chances of getting legal aid. 

Insurance companies can sometimes dispute the seriousness of a back injury due to its subjective nature. This leads to questions about the benefits they should grant for the injury. This suspicion is unfair to victims, but it is simply the nature of the business of insurance companies. 

In the state of Florida, a study of workplace injuries revealed that 8,119 back injuries occurred over the course of a year, with the workers’ compensation insurers settling 2,057 of the claims. This process entails providing the injured employee with a one-time payment and concluding the case.

How Can I Recover?

A worker’s compensation settlement differs from a personal injury claim. Most notably, workers’ compensation does not provide benefits for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or lost quality of life. In addition, injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault.

Workers’ compensation insurance assists with medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, transportation costs to and from treatment, and some lost wages. It offers vocational benefits in some states to help employees return to work. 

However, it does not cover all wages or provide any monetary recovery for pain and suffering. The wages received are not taxable, so the amount of take-home pay should not decrease significantly. The total compensation depends on the disability category.

Categories of Workers’ Comp for a Back Injury 

Disability categories in worker’s compensation claims fall into the following types:

  • Temporary Total Disability prevents you from working for a limited amount of time
  • Temporary Partial Disability prevents you from doing some work duties for a limited amount of time
  • Permanent Total Disability prevents you from ever returning to work
  • Permanent Partial Disability is a permanent injury that constitutes a lifetime impairment from working

When your doctor has determined you’ve reached Maximum Medical Improvement, it means your injury won’t get better with further treatment, or they have rated you with some degree of disability. The insurance company may require you to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME) to verify your back injury impairment rating.

Insurance companies generally provide a one-time payment for any full or partial, long-term disabilities. The average back injury settlement is calculated from an employee’s weekly wage, the medical-determined severity of the disability, and the state’s compensation rate for various body parts and functions.

For example, suppose the examiner rates your impairment level at 50 percent and your weekly wage is $1,000, and in your state, the maximum payout is 500 weeks of earnings for 100 percent impairment. In that case, you’d be entitled to 250 weeks of $1,000 a week pay for having half the impairment fully recognized in that state.

So, what you’re looking at from worker’s compensation for a back injury is:

  • Coverage of your medical treatments and rehabilitative expenses 
  • A cash settlement based on your foregone earnings due to the injury and calculated proportionally on how severe your back injury is.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffer work-related back injuries, you should not hesitate to reach out to an experienced team of personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. The skilled attorneys at Boohoff Law can advise you as to your legal rights regarding your workers’ compensation settlement amount and, if necessary, make an appeal on your behalf.


Q: Why do states calculate the money given out by workers’ compensation based on lost wages?

A: Because it is the easiest way and least expensive for them to satisfy covering your injuries and foreseeable lost wages without having to go to the lengths of compensating you for pain and suffering and other intangible harms left by your injury.

Q: Why do insurance companies investigate the severity of your back injury so closely?

A: Because there is a high prevalence of fraud and feigned injuries when it comes to back injuries, insurance companies want to make sure they are paying to settle a valid claim.

Q: How do insurance companies determine how to classify your injury?

A: They look at reports from doctors and the circumstances your injury has put you in physically, then determine the severity of your injury from this information.

Q: Why can’t I just sue my employer instead of accepting worker’s compensation?

A: Workers’ compensation exists to protect employers from lawsuits while ensuring that injured workers get benefits. As a result, workers’ compensation laws prohibit lawsuits by injured employees against their employers in most circumstances.

February 1, 2023

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