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Workplace Back Injuries and Workers’ Compensatiom

In California, workplace back injuries can happen in a variety of ways whether the injury is the result of a particular accident or incident, due to cumulative trauma, or a consequence of another workplace injury.  The following discusses more of the specifics when it comes to back injuries and workers’ compensation.

Direct Injury to the Back.  Specific or direct injuries to the back as the result of a workplace accident are the most basic types of back injuries that might be covered by workers’ compensation.  These types of injuries might be the result of a vehicle accident, lifting incident, a trip or slip and fall, or other physical activities.

Cumulative Injuries.  These types of back injuries usually occur over a period of time.  Cumulative back injuries can be the result of prolonged or repetitive physical activities.  Some instances of cumulative trauma might include prolonged sitting or repetitive lifting.

Compensable Consequence Injuries.  Compensable consequence injuries are those that might stem from an initial industrial injury.  What this means is that if a worker sustained a knee injury, perhaps they walk with a limp or a gait.  The limp or the way in which they now walk may aggravate a pre-existing back problem.  When this occurs, the back injury can be considered an industrial injury that might be covered by workers’ compensation.

Presumptive Back Injuries.  Under California workers’ compensation law, there is a legal presumption for back injuries sustained by certain law enforcement personnel.  The California Labor Code provides a special presumption for specific law enforcement personnel who wear duty belts as part of their job.

Aggravations of Pre-Existing Back Conditions.  If a worker’s pre-existing back injury is exacerbated by a workplace accident or injury, it may also be considered a workers’ compensation injury.  Aggravation injuries can either be a specific injury, a compensable consequence, or cumulative trauma.

What Are Some Common Workplace Back Injuries?

Herniated Disks

Disks which are located in the spine can herniate and rupture and tear through their exterior.  A herniated disk and cause pain, irritate nerves, and cause weakness or numbness in the leg.  Herniated disks can also result in problems with bowel movements and urination.

Strains & Sprains

Strains and sprains are lumbar injuries where there might be swelling of local tissues when muscles, ligaments, tendons, or a mix of them experience trauma by being overused, overstretched, or torn.  The swelling caused by these injuries can result in tenderness, pain, and stiffness.


Fractures of the spine can range from a painful compression fracture that might happen after a minor accident to a much more serious injury such as a fracture dislocation or burst fracture that may occur after a fall from heights or a vehicle accident.  These types of injuries often result in spinal instability.

Treatments for these types of back injuries can include aspirin, acetaminophen, heating pads, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, steroid injections, back braces, and surgery.

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California

If you or someone you know has sustained a back injury as a result of a workplace accident, particularly if the injury occurred in the Hemet, San Bernardino, or Inland Empire areas, it is possible that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under California law.  Albert E. Hirst, III, has dedicated many years of his law practice to assisting those who have sustained on-the-job injuries and illnesses and he can help you with recovering the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.  Call our office today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free initial consultation and learn what we can do for you.