Get Help from an Experienced Miami or Fort Lauderdale Back Injury Attorney
Back injuries are extremely common. As the Mayo Clinic explains, “[b]ack pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical help or miss work . . . [and] is a leading cause of disability worldwide.” In many cases, back injuries result from job-related accidents, and the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that more than 15 percent of all injuries resulting from time away from work are back injuries.
If you have suffered a back injury that prevents you from working, you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale or Miami back injury lawyer about your legal rights. You may qualify for benefits, and if you do, you will need to work with an experienced work injury lawyer to maximize the amount you are able to collect. At The Gallagher Law Group, we regularly represent workers who have suffered all types of back injuries, and we can use our experience to fight for maximum benefits on your behalf.
Common Causes of Back Injuries
While there are several different types of back injuries, most back injuries involve damage to the spinal column. The spinal column is fragile, and even seemingly minor incidents can cause significant damage. As a result, back injuries are a regular occurrence, and workers regularly suffer back injuries (both on the job and off the job) in a broad range of scenarios.
For example, some of the most common causes of back injuries include:
According to the NSC, almost 75 percent of all back injuries resulting in time away from work are the result of overexertion. Many of these overexertion injuries occur on the job.
Overexertion injuries occur in two primary ways. The first is overexerting the back in a single occurrence—such as attempting to lift a heavy box or bending down to pick something up off of the floor. The second is overexertion over time. Back injuries caused by repetitive stress are extremely common. Depending on the nature of an employee’s job duties, repetitive stress can lead to an overexertion injury (most commonly in the lower back) over a period of weeks, months, or years.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Following overexertion, the NSC reports that falls are the next most common cause of back injuries. This includes slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents as well as falls from heights.
Falls can cause back injuries in multiple ways. In some cases, workers will hit their back while falling, and this direct trauma will cause damage to the soft tissue, nerves, vertebrae or discs in the back. In other cases, landing awkwardly or in a sitting position can apply a significant amount of force to the spinal column, and this can result in various types of potentially serious injuries.
Transportation accidents are the third most common cause of back injuries resulting in time missed from work according to the NSC. Similar to falls, these accidents can cause back injuries in a variety of different ways. While direct trauma is a possibility, many back injuries suffered in car, truck and SUV accidents result from the extreme forces involved in the collision. These forces can bend and stretch the spinal column beyond its limits, and this bending and stretching can lead to all sorts of injuries. Compression of the spine during a transportation accident can cause internal trauma as well.
Other Common Causes of Back Injuries
Based on the NSC’s data, overexertion falls, and transportation accidents account for approximately 95 percent of all back injuries that force employees to take time off. The remaining five percent of serious back injuries result from a broad range of causes. This includes work-related and non-work-related accidents such as:
- Slipping or tripping without falling
- Being struck by a falling or flying object
- Colliding with a stationary object
- Getting caught in machinery
- Being assaulted or attacked by an animal
Common Types of Back Injuries
Both work-related and non-work-related accidents can cause many different types of back injuries. Depending on their severity, the effects of these injuries can range from temporary pain and discomfort to permanent paralysis. All back injuries that prevent you from working (or that make it uncomfortable to work) are potentially serious, and if you are suffering from one of these injuries, you should see a doctor and consult with a Fort Lauderdale back injury attorney promptly.
Some of the most common types of back injuries include:
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are injuries to the soft tissue in the back. There are three types of soft tissue: muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Injuries to each type of soft tissue can cause pain and other symptoms, and treatment options will vary depending on the nature, location, and severity of the injury. Along with pain, typical symptoms of back sprains and strains include muscle spasms, loss of muscle strength, and swelling. In most cases, treatment involves rest followed by physical therapy, though medications, compression, and other more invasive forms of treatment (i.e., surgery) may be necessary as well.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs from the base of the neck to the pelvic region, and the nerves in the spinal cord connect to other nerves that run throughout the body. When the back suffers trauma in an accident, this can damage the nerves in the spinal cord, and this can trigger pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of functionality not only in the back but in other areas of the body as well. While nerve impingement injuries are most common, severe traumatic accidents can sever the nerves—potentially with permanent or even life-threatening consequences.
The spine consists of two main components: vertebrae and discs. The discs serve as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, and a herniated disc (also commonly known as a slipped disc) occurs when one of these discs gets damaged. Similar to other types of back injuries, this damage can either result from trauma or wear and tear over time.
In either case, it is not necessarily the damage to the disc that causes pain but rather the effects of this damage on other parts of the body. As Cedars Sinai explains, “[w]hen a patient has a symptomatic herniated disc, the disc itself is not painful but rather the material leaking out of the inside of the disc is pinching or irritating a nearby nerve.” Still, treatment involves repairing the disc itself, which may require rest, corticosteroid injections, artificial disc replacement, a spinal fusion, or laparoscopic spine surgery.
Fractured vertebrae are typically the most serious type of back injury, as these injuries can result in full or partial paralysis in some cases. The risks associated with fractured vertebrae vary depending on where in the spine the fracture occurs, with fractures affecting the body above the level of the injury:
- Cervical Vertebrae Fractures – The cervical region is the uppermost region of the spine, beginning at the base of the brain stem in the neck.
- Thoracic Vertebrae Fractures – The thoracic region sits below the cervical region and makes up the majority of the upper and middle back.
- Lumbar Vertebrae Fractures – The lumbar region is located in the lower back. Fractures in the lumbar region have the potential to result in total paralysis.
What You Should Know About Your Back Injury
If you are struggling to cope with the effects of a back injury, there are some important facts you need to know. Here are five things you should know about your back injury:
- Back Injuries Can Be Expensive – Regardless of the severity of a back injury, treatment can be expensive. For back injuries that require long-term care, the costs can be astronomical.
- Back Injuries Can Have Long-Term Effects – Unfortunately, long-term care will be necessary in many cases. From chronic pain to permanent loss of mobility, back injuries can have a variety of long-term effects.
- Back Injuries Can Get Worse Without Treatment – If you are experiencing back pain or other symptoms, you should see a doctor promptly. Back injuries can get worse without treatment, and this can add to the costs and challenges of recovery.
- You Should Not Ignore Your Back Injury – Even if you are concerned about the costs, you should not ignore your back injury. You need to prioritize your health, and a Miami back injury lawyer can help you explore the financial options you have available.
- Your Back Injury May Qualify You for Benefits – Individuals who suffer back injuries will qualify for benefits in many cases. This includes both workers’ compensation benefits and disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).
Talk to a Fort Lauderdale or Miami Back Injury Lawyer About Your Legal rights
If you need to know more about your options after suffering a back injury, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at The Gallagher Law Group. To speak with an experienced Miami or Fort Lauderdale back injury attorney about your legal rights in confidence, please call 954-637-7976 or tell us what we can do to help online today.