If you make a Workers’ Compensation claim after injuring your neck at work and require surgery, the amount you may receive will vary. Lump sum compensation amounts for serious neck injuries that need surgery depend upon the extent of the injury, the kind of surgery you need, how much it affects your ability to work and if you can ever work again.

If you are an injured worker with a permanent impairment, you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability payout (TPD). Be sure to speak to a specialist Workers’ Compensation lawyer at PK Simpson as soon as possible if you need to claim compensation or make a work injury damages claim.

Neck Injuries That Require Surgery

A Workers’ Compensation settlement for neck and back injury may be much higher if the injury is so serious and painfully debilitating that surgery is required. The amount will depend on many factors including whether the surgery was a success or not and if the sufferer can return to their job or some employment suitable to their abilities and training.

If not, then a Total and Permanent Disability lump sum payment should be claimed. Speak to our personal injury legal professionals at PK Simpson for advice on Workers’ Compensation claims if this is you.

NSW Workers’ Compensation Scheme

If you injure your neck at work in NSW and claim Workers’ Compensation, the following information explains weekly payments, medical expenses and lump sum settlements possible:

Weekly compensation payments:

While you are off work with your neck injury, receiving weekly payments compensates you for lost income.

Medical expenses:

The expenses covered in this category are ambulance, travel, hospital, medical, and rehabilitation expenses which include home help.

Permanent Impairment payout:

This is a lump sum compensation payment that covers a work-related injury or illness-caused permanent impairment. Whole person impairment (WPI) over 11% for a physical injury and over 15% for a psychological injury entitle you to a lump sum payout.

Work Injury Damages payout:

This category is also called a common law claim, which is a lump sum payout for damages if your neck or other injury was a result of negligence by your employer. This claim is ultimately for past and future economic loss until retirement age (65 or 67).

Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Old Injury

We were successful in reaching a settlement in the case of a man who suffered serious neck injuries while driving to work in a Sydney bakery. However, the accident occurred prior to June 2012 and resulted in our client requiring neck surgery which was covered under the Workers Compensation Act’s “old journey” provisions.

Financial compensation already paid in the past

An injured client had already made a Workers’ Compensation claim and received permanent impairment and pain and suffering compensation for the neck injury pursuant to s66 of the Act. This was before the changes to the Act with regard to Workers Comp for lump sums in 2012. And since his claim for a lump sum payment was lodged before June of that year, he was eligible to make another claim for the deterioration of his injuries because he went on to have neck surgery.

Workers in Different Industries Can Suffer Neck Injuries

People working in physically demanding jobs such as coal mining where ore is loaded onto trucks, new shafts are built and a host of other heavy tasks are carried out, often need surgery for severe neck injuries.

Those working on the docks unloading shipping containers; fruit pickers who reach, bend and stoop, carrying boxes or aprons full of heavy fruit, and paramedics who have to deal with bariatric (grossly obese) patients are also among the many workers in industries across Australia who suffer neck injuries that require surgery.

Most jobs involve doing some type of manual task including pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying heavy loads, all of which can lead to muscle tears, tendon and cartilage damage, and spinal and neck injuries. Many personal assistants or admins who spend their working day in front of a computer in an office, whether the ergonomics are solid or questionable, find they suffer from repetitive motion or repetitive strain injury (RSI) and need to claim neck injury Workers’ Comp.

Weekly Payout Compensation for neck injury at work

Be mindful that the Worker’s Compensation examples below are to show you what may be possible and may not be the same in your case.

Merrilee worked in a busy restaurant as a kitchen hand lifting heavy boxes and reaching for items. One day she slipped on spilt oil and at first, she thought the neck pain was a slight muscle tear and nothing to worry about. But the pain got worse and the stiffness was unbearable so she took time off work, consulted a GP and lodged a Workers’ Compensation claim for a neck injury. Her claim was accepted and she received 130 weeks of payments for lost wages, but the payments then ceased.

When a medical panel found she was not likely to be able to work at the time or in future she was entitled to be back paid weekly payments from the time her payments were terminated and ongoing into the future.

Permanent impairment compensation payout amount for neck injury

Phillip was a process worker at a timber mill when a malfunctioning machine caused him to have to move large pieces of timber by hand which resulted in a neck injury that required surgery. He lodged a claim for a 2-level cervical fusion settlement Workers’ Compensation payout.

This type of neck injury commonly results in the sufferer never being able to return to a repetitive, heavy job. However, his surgery was successful in alleviating most of his pain and despite some restriction and discomfort, Phillip was still not able to go back to his former job. Since he was not able to go back to work he was entitled to make a claim for past and future economic loss. He also made a TPD claim which finalised before the WID claim. Phillip had no idea he could make a TPD claim and was very grateful he opened the claim when he first spoke to us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Three symptoms of the need for neck surgery are weakness, tingling or numbness in your arms or legs, or even in your feet and hands.
In Workers’ Compensation the lump sum payout is related to your WPI assessment. In common law claims the payout is based on your past and future loss of earnings as well as negligence involved in the accident.
Yes, however, all services and treatment – apart from immediate care within 48 hours of the neck injury – should be approved by the insurer beforehand. Reasonable expenses paid by the injured workers are reimbursed by the insurer. Expenses for initial treatments will be paid when the compensation claim is accepted.
A worker’s ability to go back to work and the extent of their disability will influence their Workers’ Compensation settlement amount. So yes, surgery may increase the value of the settlement, although it would depend on the circumstances of the case.
The length of time it takes to recover from major surgery to the neck depends on the kind of operation you have done. For instance, an anterior cervical discectomy, and a posterior cervical discectomy will take between four to six weeks before light work can be accomplished, while full recovery usually takes between two to three months. For fusion surgery it can take between 9 and 12 months.
The amount of neck or back compensation awarded for your injuries will depend on several factors since every case is different so there are no true average amounts.
There are some instances where you can go back to suitable duties after a TPD payout or Workers’ Comp settlement. For example, if new rehabilitation techniques and treatments become available and lead to an improvement in your condition you may be able to work again.
Return to work can impact your weekly insurance payments. Many injured people return to some form of work after a claim.

If you have a neck injury suffered at work and after medical treatment, it’s decided you need surgery and wish to make Workers’ Compensation claims contact PK Simpson where our solicitors are well grounded in personal injury law. We can help you deal with the Workers’ Compensation insurer, and your employer, and refer you for expert medical assessment.

Our personal injury lawyers will take you through the Workers’ Compensation process, a TPD claim or a work injury damages claim.  We can make sure you receive medical expenses and other benefits including weekly benefits including a weekly payment or lump sum payments if you can’t work again. Call 1300 757 467 for further information.