Workers’ Comp Back Injury Settlement Amounts in South Carolina

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Back injury workers’ comp settlement amounts in South Carolina vary based on the severity of the back injury and the victim’s ability to work. A person may receive total and permanent disability compensation with an impairment rating for back injury of 50% or higher.

If you suffered a back injury at work, get in touch with our Beaufort workers’ compensation lawyers at Schiller & Hamilton to request a case review regarding a settlement.

Causes of Back Injuries on the Job

Common causes of back injury on the job include:

  • Poor posture, being bent over for long periods
  • Lifting a load that is too heavy
  • Repetitive lifting
  • Incorrect lifting technique
  • Blunt force trauma, crushing injury
  • Overreaching, straining
  • Awkward positioning in manual lifting
  • Compensating for a lack of personal protective equipment
  • Slip and fall accidents, falling from an elevated height
  • Improper footwear or lifting on uneven or hazardous flooring
  • Improper clothing that strains the back
  • Working when tired or beyond physical limits
  • Sitting for long periods with poor posture or inadequate padding
  • Excessive twisting and rotating

Back injuries are the result of force, repetition or inactivity. A back injury may have multiple causes. In addition, there may be indirect causes of back injury on the job, including inadequate staffing, poor training and failure to provide appropriate supplies for work.

Back Injuries that May Qualify for Workers’ Comp

Herniated disc

The discs of the back are rubbery cushions between vertebrae. When displaced, a person may experience weakness, numbing and pain in the extremities. Injuries may prevent lifting. A herniated disc may be the result of strain or injury. Surgery isn’t needed in most cases.

Fractured vertebrae

The vertebrae of the back protect the spine and give the body structural integrity. Fractures may occur in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral or coccygeal spine. They may be stable or unstable, depending on whether the back is out of alignment.

There are different types of fractures, including compression fractures that result from osteoporosis, burst fractures that result from force and chance (flexion/distraction) fractures that occur when vertebrae are suddenly and traumatically pulled apart.


Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of joints. It can cause pain, stiffness and immobility. Lifting large loads, body vibration, squatting and bending can all contribute to osteoarthritis. It is often related to osteoporosis. Receiving workers’ compensation for osteoarthritis requires strong proof that the injury is work-related.

Paralysis, spinal cord injury

The severing of the spinal cord may result in paralysis. Immobility and bodily dysfunction may vary depending on the extent and location of the injury.

Nerve damage, nerve compression

Damage to the nerves of the back may impair voluntary motor movement, the senses and involuntary functions of the body. Muscle weakness, numbness and sensitivity may occur. Nerve damage may include spondylolisthesis, which involves vertebra slipping forward, and putting pressure on nerves.

Discogenic pain

Discogenic pain is low back pain. It may be caused by trauma, chemical exposure, vibration or mechanical loads. It may also be caused by aging or inadequate nutrition.


When the back is extended beyond its normal range of motion, a person may experience muscle tears and broken vertebrae.


Exposure to harmful chemicals on the job may result in a tumor that is work-related.


When the body is thrown forward quickly, it strains the muscles in the neck. Whiplash may limit the range of motion. It may cause pain, tenderness, swelling, headaches and trouble swallowing.

Benefits You Can Receive for a Workplace Back Injury

Workers’ comp benefits that you can receive for a workplace back injury depend on three things:

  1. How the injury prevents you from working — wage replacement
  2. The medical care that you need — medical benefits
  3. Permanent injury — disability compensation

Medical benefits may include all reasonable and necessary care, including surgery, therapy, braces and medication. To receive paid medical treatment, you must go to your employer’s doctor of choice.

To the extent that your injury prevents you from working, you may receive wage replacement benefits.

It’s paid as 2/3 of your average wages, subject to a maximum amount and number of weeks.

Factors in Settlement Amounts

Factors that may impact a back injury settlement amount include:

  • Extent of medical care needed, cost and duration of care.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Your impairment rating – whether it is 49% or less or above 50%.
  • Whether the back injury is your only injury or you have other injuries, too.
  • Your ability to work while you recover, either fully or in a limited capacity.
  • The disability award that may result from a hearing.
  • Other questions of eligibility, such as causation of the injury, intentional injury or intoxication.

S.C. Code § 42-9-30(21) discusses the loss of the use of the back for workers’ comp purposes. Loss of use of 49% or less is compensated as a percentage of total loss. Benefits are paid at 2/3 of the average weekly wages for 300 weeks.

When the loss is 50% or more, the person receives total and permanent disability, with compensation stated in S.C. Code § 42-9-410(a). Benefits are paid for 500 weeks. They are usually paid in a lump sum.

In addition to the back injury, an award may be based on a back injury and injury to another body part.

Pain and suffering are not awarded, but they can factor into a disability award.

How an attorney can help

A back injury workers’ comp settlement is a calculated liability assessment. When the insurance company knows that you’ve hired an attorney, and you’re ready to fight your claim, they may respond with a generous settlement. As your attorneys, we build your case and pursue settlement negotiations on your behalf.

If Your Back Injury Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied

If your workers’ comp claim for back injury is denied, there are things that you can do. You can request a hearing in front of a neutral commissioner. You can also pursue the case in mediation.

Getting workers’ comp for back pain

A common challenge with getting workers’ comp for back pain is showing that the injury is work related.

You may present medical evidence. As your attorney, we work with medical experts to prepare this information.

Talk to a Lawyer About Workers’ Comp Back Injury Settlements

At Schiller & Hamilton, our attorneys pursue workers’ comp back injury settlements.

To talk to an attorney and start your case, contact Schiller & Hamilton now.

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