Back and Spinal Cord Injury Accident Attorneys
Back and spinal cord injuries, even when they initially seem minor, can end up being debilitating and can prevent a person from working for months or even years after an accident. These injuries typically take months to recover from, and in many cases, people never make a full recovery.
Once a person’s back has been injured, it often means the person is more susceptible to back injury in the future. When this happens, accident victims may experience ongoing pain and problems for the rest of their lives.
Back and spinal cord injuries aren’t only painful physically and challenging emotionally, they are also costly to treat. If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to ease this burden. Our dedicated Texas back injury attorneys can review your case for free and explain all your legal options for seeking the money you need to move forward with your life after an accident. Contact us now to learn how we can help.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury is any damage caused to the spinal cord, or to the nerves within the spinal canal. These injuries typically cause permanent changes in a person’s strength, sensation, and other bodily functions, depending on the site of the injury. Some victims may suffer from full or partial paralysis.
Back and spinal cord injuries have historically been very difficult to treat. Over the years, however, there has been a lot of research done that will hopefully one day make full repairs of the spinal cord possible. Today, those suffering from a back injury have many options for treatment and rehabilitation that can help them lead productive and independent lives.
What Are the Types of Back Injuries?
There are many different types of back injuries a person can suffer in an accident. The most common include:
- Spondylolisthesis: This injury occurs when vertebrae slip out of position, typically near the base of the spine. A defect or fracture of one or both parts of the vertebrae can cause it to slip forward, backward, or over a bone below.
- Slipped or herniated disc: Slipped discs are also known as herniated discs, prolapsed discs, and ruptured discs. This injury occurs when the soft jelly-like tissue inside the disc pushes against, and eventually out of, the harder exterior. This can create pain, weakness, or numbness in the area of the body served by those nerves.
- Bulging discs: These injuries are only a step away from becoming herniated discs. This occurs when the soft interior of the vertebrae pushes against the hard exterior, but does not break through.
- Radiculopathy: This is more commonly known as pinched nerves and occurs when nerves in the back or spine become damaged, pinched, or squeezed, which prevents them from working properly.
- Muscle strains or sprains: These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. A sprain occurs when there is a stretch or tear in the ligaments of the spine or back. Strains on the other hand, are stretches or tears that occur within a muscle or tendon.
All of these injuries have different symptoms that can greatly impact a person’s life. If you have suffered a back injury in an accident, you should learn about your legal right to compensation to cover treatment costs and other losses. Contact our back injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Back Injuries and Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many ways a back or spinal cord can become injured. The most common causes of back and spinal cord injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are a top cause of back and spinal cord injuries. During a motor vehicle accident, the back and spinal cord can become crushed, compressed, and otherwise injured in a variety of ways.
- Falls: Due to the fact that people often land on their back during a fall, it’s easy for the spinal cord and back to become injured in these accidents. Those over the age of 65 are likely to be most seriously injured in a fall. When a person falls due to dangerous conditions on a property, the victim can demand compensation for injuries.
- Workplace accidents: Whether you work in construction or in an office, back injuries on the job are extremely common. These injuries can make it difficult to work and may result in long-term treatment expenses and loss of income.
- Nursing home accidents: People trust nursing homes to care for their vulnerable loved ones, but injuries can and do occur in these facilities. Any type of nursing home accident resulting in a back or spinal cord injury should be investigated.
- Acts of violence: Unfortunately, violent acts such as stabbings and shootings are another common cause of back and spinal cord injuries. When a property owner fails to provide adequate security, and a person is injured as a result, the victim can take legal action to seek payment for their injuries.
No matter how you were injured, if you believe negligence was to blame, you should learn about your legal rights. Contact our spinal cord injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
Symptoms of Back and Spinal Cord Injury
The back is an extremely important part of the human body. It’s responsible for many functions, including sending signals to the brain and other parts of the body. When the back or spinal cord become damaged, a person can experience many symptoms, including:
- Loss of mobility in the affected area
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to detect heat, cold, and touch
- Lack of bowel or bladder control
- Irregular reflexes or spasms in certain parts of the body
- Loss of sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and loss of fertility
- Pain or an intense burning sensation
- Difficulty breathing, perhaps with bouts of coughing resulting in secretions from the lungs
- Difficulty with balance and walking
If you experience any of these symptoms, either immediately following an accident or in the weeks after, you should seek medical attention right away.
How Are Back Injuries Diagnosed?
After learning about your back injury accident, a doctor will begin by seeing how your back performs certain activities. For this, the doctor may ask you to sit, stand, walk, and lift your legs. A doctor will also likely ask you to rate your level of pain on a scale of 1 to 10. These assessments help the doctor understand where the pain is coming from, your mobility, and whether or not you are experiencing muscle spasms.
Your doctor will also likely order one or more of the following tests.
- X-rays: These provide images of your bones, which can help diagnosis if they are out of alignment or if you have any broken bones in your back.
- MRI or CT scans: These scans create images of the back that can show herniated discs, bone issues, and problems with muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels.
- Blood tests: These will look for infections that may be the source of your pain.
- Bone scans: These look for bone tumors or fractures caused by osteoporosis.
- Nerve studies: Also known as an EMG, this will measure the electrical impulses manufactured by the nerves and your muscles’ response to them.
Once a back injury diagnosis is made, your doctor will likely start you on immediate treatment.
Treatment for Back Injuries
Depending on the type of injury, a doctor may recommend that you simply rest at home or pursue a more aggressive treatment approach. Acute back pain may resolve itself in a few weeks. However, if the pain does not get better, a doctor may suggest:
- Medication for the pain and any depression caused by the injury
- Cortisone injections
- Heat treatments
- Electrical stimulation
- Muscle-release techniques
- Physical therapy
None of these treatments are free, and even resting at home can cost you if it means taking time off work. Often, ongoing treatment is needed, and the pain and suffering of a back injury can take a hard toll on the victim. It’s for this reason that you should learn about your right to compensation after any accident that results in a back injury.
Types of Compensation Available for Back Injuries
Back and spinal cord injuries are incredibly unique. The symptoms one person experiences are often different from the symptoms someone else exhibits. Due to this, there is no way to instantly determine the value of a back injury claim until an attorney has fully reviewed the case and documented all related losses.
There are many types of compensation available in a back injury claim, however. Some of the most common are:
- Medical expenses: Due to the fact that back injuries are often ongoing, it’s important to seek both current and future medical expenses in a personal injury claim.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity: People are often unable to work immediately following a back injury. They are also sometimes unable to perform the same kind of work in the future or are unable to return to work at all. The lost income in the days following the accident, and that which was lost for months after, can be claimed as compensation. An attorney can also help you estimate your lost earning capacity for the future.
- Pain and suffering: Back injuries cause immense physical pain. This type of compensation is meant to help accident victims deal with it better.
- Mental anguish: Not only are these injuries physically painful, they also cause feelings of depression, sadness, and anxiety. Those hurt deserve compensation for this impact on their mental health.
- Loss of consortium and companionship: Patients are not the only victims after a back injury. Spouses often lose the intimate relationship with their loved one, and it affects the companionship and support parents provided to their children. This compensation helps accident victims and their families with the burden of the injury.
It’s important to note that these are just a few of the main types of compensation awarded in a back injury claim. Our Texas back and spinal cord injury accident attorneys will fight for the maximum amount of compensation you deserve based on the specifics of your injury.
How a Back Injury Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
After suffering a back injury in an accident, you may wonder how an attorney can help. Truthfully, a lawyer is the most valuable resource you have when you are pursuing a personal injury claim. Below are some of the main ways a lawyer from our firm can help with your case:
- Determining liability, or proving who was at fault for the accident
- Documenting your injury and losses and proving your pain and suffering
- Bringing in expert witnesses and private investigators to help with your claim
- Ensuring all documents are filed properly and on time
- Refuting evidence the defense introduces
- Maximizing your demand for compensation
- Helping you understand court procedures
- Aggressively negotiating for a back injury accident settlement or arguing your case before a jury, if necessary
These are just a few of the ways an attorney can help with your back injury claim. Most importantly, an attorney will act as your advocate when it seems as though no one else is on your side.
Contact an Experienced Back Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve suffered from a back injury after an accident, don’t try to handle your case alone. Contact the experienced Texas back injury lawyers at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund to get the professional help you need. We will act as your ally throughout the entire process and help you pursue the full compensation you deserve. We offer free consultations, so call us today or get in touch with us online.