According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain is one of the most common problems driving Americans to seek medical attention, and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Of course, “back pain” covers a lot of ground, ranging from the aches and pains associated with aging or physical work to serious injuries that may require surgical intervention.
For a variety of reasons, many people have difficulty distinguishing temporary aches and pains from back injuries that require medical treatment. For example:
- Many back injuries worsen over time, or come and go depending on exertion, inflammation, and other factors, making it difficult to know how seriously to take the pain and limitations
- In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the injury victim may be in shock and not fully aware of the pain, and may not connect the pain that develops later to the incident
Because back injuries may continue to worsen if left untreated, it’s important to err on the side of caution and consult a physician when you’re experiencing back pain after a fall, car accident, or other incident.
Common Causes of Back Injuries
Nearly ¼ of workplace injuries result in lost work time involve back injuries. Some of the most common ways injuries occur in the workplace include:
- Heavy lifting
- Repetitive motion
Often, these injuries could be avoided with better safety practices, safe lifting procedures, better equipment or set-up, and other precautions.
Outside the workplace, some of the most common causes of back injuries include:
- Automobile accidents
- Slips, trips and falls
- Sports injuries
- Being hit by a car as a pedestrian or bicyclist
Liability for Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Treatment and rehabilitation after a back injury can be time-consuming and costly, and in many cases the injury victim’s ability to do physical labor is compromised in the long-term. Depending on where and how the injury occurred, a third party may be responsible for losses such as medical expenses and lost income.
Back Injury Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you’ve sustained a back injury on the job, workers’ compensation will likely cover medical care and replacement of lost income. However, securing the benefits you deserve may be more difficult than you anticipate. Because the long-term impact of a back injury and the need for future medical care may be difficult to predict, employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers often attempt to reduce the settlement. This can leave an injured worker in a difficult position if additional surgery or other costly medical care is required.
In addition, although workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy as to the employer, there are occasionally third parties who may be legally responsible for the injury. Some possible examples include the manufacturer of defective equipment that contributed to the injury or another business sharing a jobsite with the injured workers’ company.
Personal Injury Claims in Back Injury Cases
When a back injury occurs as the result of an automobile accident, a slip and fall on someone else’s property, or in some other manner due to the negligence of a third party, that person or company may be responsible for damages. Some examples of common damage awards include:
- Reimbursement for medical expenses incurred
- Projected future medical costs
- Lost income and projected future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering`
However, as in back-injury-related workers’ compensation claims, establishing the extent of the injury, the need for ongoing care, and any long-term or permanent limitations can be difficult. Often, expert witnesses are required to establish damages.
Attorney Kevin J. Broderick is experienced in handling both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims involving back injuries. He has the knowledge and experience necessary to identify responsible parties, secure qualified experts, and build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Schedule your free consultation right now to:
- Learn more about your rights and options so you can make informed decisions
- Find out what steps you need to take right now to protect your claim
- Learn more about the type and extent of damages that may be available
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