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Hickory Work-Related Back Injuries

As the Hickory community has evolved and grown through phases of industrialization along with the rest of the US, so too have the challenges faced by its workers. In a city known for its grit and blue-collar values, a significant number of work-related back injuries, joint pain, scoliosis, disc herniation, and the like are unfortunately all but inevitable. For employees who have been the victims of these accidents, hiring a Hickory work-related back injury lawyer is crucial.

Make Your Workers’ Compensation Process as Easy as Possible

M. Reid Acree, Jr. is an accomplished attorney now offering comprehensive legal services to the injured and wronged workers of Hickory, NC. Acree and his team are committed to ensuring that workers receive rightful compensation for their injuries.

We are prepared to develop and deploy custom-tailored legal strategies to meet your unique circumstances and goals by asserting your rights and interests, both at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. We do this with the end goal of steering your case to the optimal outcome: a significant payout on a reasonable timeline.

You need to focus on getting well and moving forward after a traumatic workplace back injury. Your mental energy during this challenging period should be devoted to seeking medical and chiropractic care, adjusting to life with a debilitating injury, and making plans for the future, which can sometimes mean a total career change for injured blue-collar workers.

Many workers also face significant financial pressures when a back injury or persistent lower back pain leaves them unable to perform their job duties, which can weigh heavily on all other aspects of life. Allow M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, to handle the stress and tedium of pursuing your workplace injury claim with a professional and detail-oriented touch while you heal and regroup.

Putting North Carolina Workplace Back Injuries in Legal Context

Labor regulations and personal injury laws in the state of North Carolina can represent a complicated web of interconnected and overlapping policies. To begin unraveling the confusion, let’s look at some specific laws and statutes that might apply to a workplace back injury situation:

  • North Carolina State Laws
    • Workers’ Compensation Act: North Carolina General Assembly Chapter 97, commonly called the Workers’ Compensation Act, is the primary state law that governs how workplace injuries are handled in North Carolina.

      This code mandates that all qualifying employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all qualifying employees. It additionally sets up a framework for injured employees to access these benefits after an injury.

    • Occupational Safety and Health Act: The Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina, or OSHANC, codified in North Carolina General Assembly Chapter 95, sets workplace safety standards and allows for recourse in court when these standards are not met.

      The opening of this law’s text places a legal burden on employers and employees of North Carolina alike when it comes to preventing workplace injuries and illnesses, but at the end of the day, your employer is legally responsible for providing you with a work environment that is safe, up to standards, and not actively contributing to back injuries through negligence or malfeasance.

  • Federal Laws
    • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA): This landmark federal law sets (and enforces) various standards related to workplace conditions to ensure safe workplaces throughout the United States. North Carolina operates under an OSHA-approved State Plan, meaning our state’s workplace safety laws are largely designed to be in line with important federal regulations.
    • Federal Employees’ Compensation Act: This is a law providing workers’ compensation benefits for federal employees. Some people don’t realize it, but there are over 40,000 federal government employees living and working in North Carolina to support and maintain our state’s infrastructure, industries, and public safety standards.
    • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: With large Atlantic ports at Wilmington and Morehead City, the federal LHWCA, which provides compensation and medical care to injured maritime workers, can also apply to certain North Carolina back injury cases.
    • Family and Medical Leave Act: While not exclusive to back injuries, the FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid but job-protected annual leave. This can be an important resource for workers recovering from serious injuries while facing drawn-out court proceedings or other delays in compensation.

Remember that laws and regulations are always evolving over time. If you or someone you know is navigating the aftermath of a work-related back injury in North Carolina, seeking advice from a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney like M. Reid Acree, Jr. is highly advisable.

What Is the Most Common Back Injury at Work?

While the most high-profile back injury cases tend to involve large, dramatic accidents, a significant number of workplace back injuries actually present as some form of lower back pain, and the majority of these are related to one of the most basic workplace tasks for people in just about any industry: lifting objects.

Disc herniation is known as one of the more common forms of lower back injury that can be linked to repetitive lifting. This injury occurs when the soft tissue in the center of your spine bulges out of place, which can result in pinched nerves and severe pain.

While disc herniation can sometimes be the result of a single, jarring motion, these injuries usually tend to build over time from repetitive stress. In these cases, it can be difficult to definitively prove disc herniations as “work-related” without the assistance of talented legal counsel since just about everyone is lifting objects of some sort, both on and off the job.

These common workplace lower back injuries can present as a range of symptoms, although back pain is obviously the main indicator. Pinched nerves and lower back issues can also result in pain radiating down the legs, as well as weakness or numbness in the extremities.

Will My Injury Be One That Qualifies for Compensation?

When seeking compensation for any injury of this sort, it is crucial to remember that, even if the only symptom at this stage is back pain, the spine plays a crucial role in our overall health, far beyond its already crucial implications in the skeletal system and human mobility. This is to say that any spinal injury can have significant long-term implications on your health.

While these types of mundane back injuries are sadly quite common, they are also legally actionable in many instances. Don’t let corporate agents and insurance brokers fool you into thinking you can only file a workplace injury claim for back problems if you’ve been involved in some sort of traumatic accident resulting in acute trauma to the spine. You need not get hit by a forklift or slip from scaffolding to qualify for compensation for your work-related back injury.

Even a passive injury, such as spinal compression or deformation from being made to sit in an inadequate office chair for years, can qualify for workers’ compensation or, in rare cases, personal injury when you bring the right arguments and the right evidence to court.

Whether your injury is a common repetitive stress injury, such as one where repetitive lifting tasks have worn down your spinal tissue and resulted in a pinched nerve, or a one-in-a-million freak accident resulting in traumatic spine injuries and permanent disability, you have rights as an injured worker.

One of those rights is seeking compensation from your employer’s insurance company. M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, may be able to help you put together an airtight legal case for seeking maximum compensation.

What Percentage of Back Injuries Account for All Work-Related Injuries?

Zooming out from the lower back, back injuries, in general, are alarmingly common in the American workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20% of all workplace injuries involve the back, to the tune of around 1 million total workers annually. Many folks in Hickory, NC’s various industries, from office workers to blue-collar laborers, are potentially susceptible to this scourge of the modern workplace.

These high percentages underscore the need for high-quality ergonomic equipment for workers in all industries, as well as comprehensive workplace safety training so that every North Carolinian worker is empowered to protect their spinal health when they clock into the job site.

When safety equipment and training fail to do their job, however, M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, is standing by to provide you with assertive legal representation so that you can get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Can You Claim for a Back Injury at Work?

Absolutely—and M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, is here to help you do just that. It was over a quarter of a century ago now that Acree made a life-changing decision to reject the corporations he had been working for to open a private practice completely focused on representing injured workers. If you have experienced a back injury at work and need help seeking fair compensation, Acree is the right man for the job.

M. Reid Acree, Jr. and his world-class workers’ compensation team can help you efficiently and effectively pursue compensation for a variety of workplace back injuries, including:

  • Slip and Fall Injuries – One of the most common personal injury types; an example would be losing your footing on a recently mopped surface that had not been properly signed.
  • Heavy Lifting – Even with proper lifting techniques, being asked to lift something too heavy can result in an immediate and severe back injury.
  • Repetitive Strain – Lifting tasks do not need to involve overly heavy objects to result in back injuries. Workplace tasks that require continuous or repetitive motions can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues in the back and joints.
  • Vehicular Accidents – With Hickory, NC’s deep roots in the racing scene, it’s no surprise that many blue-collar jobs in the area involve the daily use of motor vehicles, from dump trucks to forklifts and company cars for visiting customer sites.

With a national transportation infrastructure built around the use of personal automobiles, it is an unfortunate reality that car accidents occur every day. When this happens on the clock, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries.

What Are Back Injuries that Can Occur in the Workplace?

We’ve already cataloged some of the potential causes of workplace back injuries and talked about a few specific types. Let’s dive into them in a little more detail:

  • Disc Herniation: When the soft central tissue of a spinal disc bulges and protrudes from its casing, this can result in numbness and weakness, in addition to severe pain.
  • Pinched Nerves: Nerve pinching occurs whenever excessive pressure is applied to a nerve by the surrounding tissues. In the case of back pain, this could be bone, cartilage, muscle—or, quite commonly, the sort of herniated disc tissue described above. Putting pressure on a nerve disrupts its ability to function normally, potentially resulting in pain, tingling, or weakness in the extremities.
  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a type of spinal deformation where the spine is curved to one side or the other. While most scoliosis presents during adolescence, and other people have it from birth, the condition and related symptoms can potentially be exacerbated by workplace activities.
  • Joint Issues: The spine can essentially be viewed as a semi-rigid chain of many small joints. Impact or injury to any of these individual components can lead to chronic pain and a reduction in mobility.
  • Sprains and Strains: Stretching too far, lifting something too heavy, or otherwise overexerting your body can lead to the tearing of ligaments or the painful stretching of tendons. Many regions of the human back are highly susceptible to these injuries.
  • Fractures: Fractures in the spine, like so many other injuries on the list, can form after a sudden, severe impact or be the result of years of repetitive stress.

Given the range of potential workplace back injuries and their serious implications, the importance of receiving high-quality medical care in the immediate aftermath of an injury, as well as ongoing therapy through chiropractic services or other care models, is of paramount importance.

Once you have seen to your own health first and foremost, the next step is to reach out to M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, for high-powered legal help getting your workers’ compensation or personal injury claim started.

Understanding North Carolina Workplace Accident Law: Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Compensation

In North Carolina and other states, distinguishing between personal injury and workers’ compensation can be a crucial first step when you’re ready to pursue damages for an injury you’ve suffered. Both avenues can offer legal and financial relief for an injured party, but the circumstances and frameworks have some very important differences:

  • Personal Injury – This refers to the legal action a private citizen can take when the negligent or malicious actions of some other party cause them harm. The injured party in a personal injury suit must prove that another party was at fault for the injury. When this is done successfully, the court will order the defendant to pay damages to the plaintiff for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    You can only make this kind of claim against your employer for a work-related injury in the case that they intentionally caused the injury or did so through severe negligence, so these cases are rare.

    One key thing to remember here is that North Carolina is one of only five states that operates under a “contributory negligence” policy. This means that if you are found to be partially (even slightly) at fault for your own accident, the court can totally void your right to seek personal injury damages.

  • Workers’ Compensation – Employees who are injured in the course of doing their work, on the other hand, can claim benefits without the need to prove their employer’s negligence through a lawsuit.

    The no-fault workers’ compensation system in North Carolina and other states allows faster access to benefits for injured parties and low-profile payouts that do not require a corporation to admit wrongdoing, which benefits all parties.

    The workers’ compensation process can still be daunting, with all of its paperwork and deadlines, but it streamlines the injured worker’s access to benefits by eliminating the need to assign fault through an extensive investigatory process and trial.

M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law: Powerful Legal Solutions for the Working People of Hickory, NC, and Beyond

Drawing inspiration from the resilience of Hickory’s citizens and history (known especially for coming together to build a functional polio hospital in a mere 54 hours during the climax of World War II), M. Reid Acree, Jr. and his team strive to embody that same tireless, community-minded spirit with every case they take on. We pursue justice for injured workers with extreme determination and will not rest until results have been achieved.

Back injuries, whether mild or severe, deserve attention, compassion, and fair compensation. We believe workers should not have to face the daunting system involved in pursuing that compensation alone—and they don’t have to.

With a quarter century of successfully representing injured workers under his belt, M. Reid Acree, Jr. stands ready to assist the injured workers of Hickory, NC, and all surrounding areas, no matter how complex or challenging the situation may be. Don’t let lower back pain or a spinal injury dampen your spirits or your financial future. Access powerful legal solutions now by reaching out to our offices to set up a consultation.