When it comes to movement and functionality, the spine is one of the most important parts of the body. Nonetheless, most people take the health and integrity of their spine for granted. However, even a minor injury in this area can cause significant pain and disability. If your back or spine was injured because of another party's negligence or intentional action, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
About Back and Spine Injuries
Your spine is composed of strong bones, sensitive nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The structure of your back is designed to protect your nerves, as well as to provide you with the strength and flexibility you need to move your torso effectively. Unfortunately, because the makeup of your back is so complex and intricate, injuries are always a possibility. When an injury occurs, the symptoms experienced can be severe.
Injuries to the back or spine may occur when:
- Bones become fractured
- Joints may become fractured or inflamed
- Large muscles in the back may be strained, sprained or torn
- Disks between the vertebrae may be protruding or ruptured
- Nerves or nerve roots may be irritated
- The spinal cord may be severed
Diagnosing Injuries to the Back and Spine
In many cases, injuries to the back or spine occur because of an accident, such as a fall or a car crash. When such incidents occur, seeking prompt medical attention is essential. Trained physicians can use various diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the damage and the best course of treatment. Some of the tests that may be used include magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and x-rays.
Can Back and Spine Injuries be Treated
Back and spine injuries may or may not respond to treatment. In some cases, injuries to the back or spine may heal completely other time, while other injuries may persist for months or years. Some patients are able to recover the majority of their original function, while others remained disabled and/or in pain.
The exact treatment protocol prescribed for patients with back and spine injuries is heavily dependent on the nature of the injury. Depending on the specifics, treatment options may include:
- Medication for pain and/or inflammation
- Surgery to repair fractures, ruptured disks or other abnormalities
- Steroid shots to reduce pain and swelling
- Physical therapy
Injuries involving the back or spine may fall into at least one of the following areas:
- Lumbar Spine Injuries: This refers to the lower back and the lower (lumbar) vertebrae. An injury to the lower back may not cause paralysis or nerve damage, but it's usually the most painful type of spinal injury.
- Thoracic Spine Injuries: These injuries are sustained in your upper back and affect the thoracic vertebrae. The upper part of the spinal cord also connects to the ribs and chest. These spinal injuries tend to be the most serious; permanent nerve damage and paralysis may occur.
- Cervical Spine Injuries: The cervical vertebrae are located at the neck. This type of injury is often referred to as "whiplash" after a car accident.
- Other common types of back injuries include herniated discs, soft tissue bruising and tearing, compression fractures, dislocated fractures, sprains -- just to name a few.
- If you are seeking financial compensation for a back or spine injury after a car accident, you don't necessarily have to be suffering from a permanent or debilitating condition. The diagnosis and treatment of back injuries is so complicated that you may need this compensation just to pay for a plethora of x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, and doctor visits.
- As with other car accident injuries, liability will be an important part of your case. You'll need to prove liability in order to determine which driver's insurance company is responsible for covering the costs. You'll also need to show proof of your diagnosis and treatment, including exams and treatments that you've already undergone because of the injury.
Causes of Back and Spine Injuries
Although car accidents are a main cause of back and spine injuries, you may be facing an injury due to another situation:
- Other Motor Vehicle Accidents: Whether you’ve injured your back in a car accident or another type of motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. These types of accidents may include motorcycle, golf cart, or trucking accidents.
- Bicycle Accidents: If you have suffered a back injury from a bicycling accident, it is important you know your rights. Similar to a car or truck accident, you may be entitled to injury compensation because of a bicycling accident.
- Premises Liability: If you have injured your back or spine as a result of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability case. Common premises liability cases include:
- Slips, trips, and falls are common causes of back and spine injuries, especially in individuals over 65.
- Negligent security.
- Athletics or outdoor recreation can easily lead to a serious injury of any kind. These may include trampoline accidents or swimming pool accidents.
- Structural collapses.
- Product Liability: If you have sustained a back injury due to a product that was somehow defective, you may have a product liability claim. You could be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and for your pain and suffering.
- Workplace Accidents: If you have injured your back or spine in relation to your job, you may be entitled to compensation. This can also include injuries on the job sustained due to unsafe weather conditions or defective equipment.
What Can I do about a Back or Spine Injury
If you sustain a back or spine injury and you think another person or an entity is responsible, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages. However, if you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Georgia, you must do so within a specific amount of time after becoming aware of the injury. If you let this deadline expire without filing the lawsuit, you may not be able to recover damages even if you have a solid case.
Although winning a personal injury lawsuit won't eliminate your injuries or your pain, it will force the party responsible for your injuries to pay for what happened to you. In addition, the damages from the lawsuit will provide you with the funds you need to regain financial stability, pay your medical bills and continue to receive the care you need to recover as much as you can. If doctors determine that you are unlikely to recover enough to return to work, these damages can help to replace some of your future earnings as well.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Injury Law Firm
If you find yourself dealing with a back or spine injury, it doesn't matter if your injury is temporary or permanent; minor or severe. Seeking help from one of the compassionate and experienced lawyers at The Champion Firm, P.C. is a good way to start considering your options. Our Atlanta, GA injury attorneys are familiar with the legal processes involved with back and spine injury cases. Contact us online today.