There are a lot of different injuries that can occur in the course of your employment and that will involve long term pain and treatment for pain management. South Carolina workers’ compensation should cover your long term pain management treatment, in most cases, whether the pain is caused by tissue damage (nociceptive) or nerve damage (neuropathic).
Some of the work related injuries that lead to chronic pain include burns, soft tissue injuries, broken and crushed bones, repetitive stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel and generalized back pain), acute back injuries, and various traumatic injuries.
One form of treatment for long term pain management involves both over the counter and/or prescription medications, such as corticosteroids, opioid pain relievers, and antidepressants. Another form of long term pain management treatment involves physical therapy and/or aquatic therapy. Some people will require surgery to reduce their pain, and many will require psychological support and treatment to learn methods of coping with long term pain, such as relaxation techniques.
For many patients, some combination of these methods will be used, with the goals of getting the patient to a point where they can return to work (even if it is light duty work) and of minimizing the amount of pain medication required to manage their long term pain.
How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Used To Manage Long Term Pain
The worker’s compensation system in South Carolina can be complex and difficult to work with, though if you know what you’re doing (or work with an attorney who does), you can absolutely ensure that your long term pain management needs are provided for. However, it is important to understand that workers’ compensation laws require that any treatment you receive be approved by the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. This can make it difficult to get the treatment that you need, and to have long term pain management treatment covered. Call the South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Bryan Ramey & Associates for assistance with seeking the benefits you need.
The Most Common Work Related Injury Requiring Long Term Pain Management
On the very top of the list of most common work related injuries in the US are back injuries. These injuries include strains and sprains from lifting, pulling, or otherwise maneuvering heavy objects, as well as damage to the spine, like slipped or herniated disks and fractured vertebrae. These are also among the leading work related injuries that require long term pain management treatment, including physical therapy, prescription medication, and even surgery. You may be dealing with this pain for the rest of your life, and it can limit your ability to function at work. With a back injury that leads to chronic pain, you may never be able to return to your former work duties, and you may end up out of work or working in a lower paying light duty job.
When Work Related Injuries Lead to Light Duty Employment
In the aftermath of a serious work related injury that prevents you from working at your usual occupation, you’re going to be facing tremendous expenses along with the inability to earn income to pay those expenses. Beyond the cost of your medical care, you have to deal with your regular everyday expenses and bills that you may not have any income to cover. This is where workers’ compensation medical and wage benefits become essential to your survival.
The medical benefits of workers’ compensation coverage will address your healthcare expenses, as long as they are deemed reasonable and necessary and are approved by your employer or their insurance company, typically based on the assessments of their approved physicians. The wage benefits will pay 2/3 of your average weekly wage while you are out of work (tax free).
However, the goal is to get you back to work. In many cases, this means returning to a light duty job that accommodates the restrictions associated with your injury, as outlined by your treating physician. These light duty positions often pay less than your former position, so workers’ compensation wage benefits will still be provided at a rate of 2/3 the difference between your former pay and your new light duty position pay. When your employer is able to offer a light duty position that meets your restriction needs, you are required to accept that position, or you will forfeit your right to receive benefits. If you feel that the light duty position is still too much for your injuries, discuss this with your doctor to reevaluate your restrictions.
Receiving Temporary Total Disability Benefits After a Work Injury
Sometimes, an injured worker will be released to return to work in a light duty position, but the employer will not be able to provide such a position. If they are able to, then they must, even if it involves creating a new position. However, if they cannot find or create such a position, then they will have to pay temporary total disability benefits. These are wage benefits that are provided at the same rate as a permanent disability (where you cannot return to work at all), being 2/3 of your former average weekly wages, until such time as you can return to work.
Do You Require Long Term Pain Management for a Work Injury?
If you have sustained a back injury or other injury at work that requires long term pain management, then you will benefit from the experience of the dedicated South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Bryan Ramey & Associates. We know how to help you to pursue your workers’ compensation claim, with or without the help of your employer, and we know how to fight for the benefits that you deserve and are entitled to under the law, even when your needs are difficult to prove. If you require an independent medical examination because you don’t believe that you are receiving the appropriate diagnosis or care from the company approved physician, then we can help you to take this step and ensure that you are being properly cared for and accurately diagnosed.
Contact Bryan Ramey & Associates for a FREE consultation to learn your rights.