Neck injuries can be minor, but some injured workers aren’t so fortunate and may have to take a lot of time off work to recover, or even end up with disabilities as a result.
If you suffer a work injury that results in neck pain, you may be asked to take the Neck Disability Index, a questionnaire used to determine the extent of your injuries, and how they affect your personal life.
Neck injuries can be minor, but some injured workers aren’t so fortunate and may have to take a lot of time off work to recover, or even end up with disabilities as a result. In these cases, the injured worker is entitled to additional disability benefits meant to provide them with additional financial support.
However, to know how much you’re entitled to, you may be asked to take this Neck Disability Index questionnaire. Here’s how it can affect your claim.
What the Index Looks at
There are 8 areas covered in the Neck Disability Index:
- Activities of daily living
- Attention and working memory
- Functional mobility
- Life participation
- Occupational performance
- Quality of life
In total, there are 10 sections each with 6 potential answers. The injured worker will have to choose the answer that best describes how they feel or what they experience. Here’s an example of an NDI section:
Section 9: Sleeping
- I have no trouble sleeping
- My sleep is slightly disturbed (less than 1 hr sleepless)
- My sleep is mildly disturbed (1-2 hrs sleepless)
- My sleep is moderately disturbed (2-3 hrs sleepless)
- My sleep is greatly disturbed (3-5 hrs sleepless)
- My sleep is completely disturbed (5-7 hrs sleepless)
The injured worker will therefore choose which of the 6 answers best applied to them. You can see a more detailed questionnaire example here.
Does It Impact Your Claim?
Yes. The index will determine how severe your condition is, and how much your neck injury has affected your life. While it will not be the only factor that goes into your worker’s comp settlement, it can hold a lot of weight.
It’s essential to always answer honestly, and ask for explanations if you do not understand the question. Exaggerating or guessing the answer on the questionnaire may end up hurting your credibility with the insurance company, in which case you will have a harder time negotiating a settlement.
Pain is subjective, yes, but minor neck injuries, for instance, usually cannot score high in pain intensity, for instance. The insurance company may suspect you are exaggerating your answers just to get a higher settlement.
What Should You Do?
An experienced lawyer can ensure your rights are protected throughout the entire negotiation process and can get you a fair settlement. Additionally, your lawyer can also prepare you for other steps in your claim negotiations. If you haven’t already, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible after a work-related injury.
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