Back Injuries in the Auto Industry
Workers in the auto industry are at greater risk of occupational injuries and illnesses than workers in many other industries. Many auto workers have jobs that require lifting, pulling, pushing, and handling heavy objects or loads. There may be a need to handle dangerous materials, or to stand or sit for long periods of time. Often repetitive motions are required, whether you're on an assembly line or in an automotive industry office. Back injuries are frequently caused by needing to twist, lift, bend at the waist, or drag a heavy object. If you have suffered back injuries in the auto industry, our skilled Chicago workers' compensation attorneys can help you pursue the benefits to which you may be entitled.Back Injuries in the Auto Industry
Back injuries take many different forms. The spine has three basic regions: the neck, the upper back, and the lower back. Each section of the spine and vertebrae is surrounded by nerves, ligaments, muscles, tendons and discs, and each can trigger different levels of pain if you're injured. The effects of these injuries may be permanent or temporary. Generally, injuries to the thoracic spine are the most serious because they link to the chest and ribs, and can result in permanent nerve damage. Injuries to the lumbar spine affect the largest vertebrae and back muscles, and they may be very painful and significantly restrict one's ability to perform everyday activities. A very common injury is a herniated disc, which can result in additional pressure on the nerves around the spinal cord or the cord itself, such that there is intense pain in the back and numbness in the lower body.
Spinal cord injuries tend to be the most serious injuries to the back. Sometimes they come with permanent nerve or cord damage that results in a lengthy period of disability. They may cause partial or total paralysis, a loss of reflexes, or a loss of feeling. They may also come with a host of other complications.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has guidelines to teach workers how to lift, carry, and lower loads in order to reduce the risk of back injuries. However, whether or not you followed these guidelines, if you sustained a back injury at work you may be able to recover benefits through the Illinois workers' compensation system.Employer Requirements Under the Workers’ Compensation System
In Illinois, your employer is supposed to either buy workers' compensation insurance or get permission to be self-insured, post a notice about workers' rights that lists who the workers' compensation provider is and the policy number, maintain records of work-related injuries, report accidents that result in more than 3 lost work days, and report any work-related deaths within 2 days. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission doesn't act unless you file a workers' compensation claim.
If you suffer a back injury, you should seek out medical care or first aid as soon as you can. You should work with your doctors to try to completely recover so you can go back to work if possible. You can lose benefits if you don't try to get better or do things that might make your injury worse. So, if your doctor tells you that you need to go to physical therapy in order to strengthen your back, this is something you should do to continue receiving your benefits.
Many employers require employees to choose a doctor from a preferred provider network. An insurer may also require you to get an independent medical exam, which is separate and distinct from the treatment you may receive from a doctor from your employer's preferred provider network.Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Chicago Employees
If you are a worker who has suffered back injuries in the auto industry in Chicago, you should consider speaking with a workers' compensation lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our attorneys represent injured workers in Springfield, Aurora, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as Cook, Sangamon, Champaign, Adams, Winnebago, and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online to set up your free consultation.