A back injury is no small thing. It can disrupt your daily life, affect relationships, and even put you out of work for an extended period of time. If your injury occurred as a result of an accident or workplace incident, you may be entitled to compensation. While bringing a claim cannot heal your injury, it can help you deal with the problems that often accompany personal injury cases such as medical bills and lost wages.
Back Injuries and Symptoms
A devastating back injury can be caused by a number of events. Most commonly, the injured person has been a victim of a serious truck or car accident that has left them in substantial pain.
Some of the most common causes of back injuries include:
Slip and Fall Accidents: A slip and fall injury can happen just about anywhere slick surfaces and liquids mix. For example, you might be walking down an aisle at the grocery store that has just been mopped. If you slip and fall down, you could easily hurt your back, potentially making the grocery store liable.
Negligence: Say you’re enjoying a day at the park with your children. You decide to swing with them but do not see that one of the links on the swing chain is warped or cracked. You start swinging but the damaged chain link is unable to bear your weight and breaks, causing you to fall and land on your back. An injury like this could easily cause serious bruising or even fractured vertebrae and it could have been prevented if the swing had been properly maintained.
Motorcycle Accidents: Driving or riding on a motorcycle can be incredibly dangerous. Even if you or the driver is doing everything 100% right, you can’t predict the actions of others. Motorcycle accidents are often tragic and one involving back injuries could include broken vertebrae or permanent spinal cord injury.
Bus, Plane, Train and Boat Accidents: Though car accidents are far more common, bus, plane, train, and boat incidents do happen. Injuries can be caused by a plane making a rough or emergency landing, a train derailing, or a cruise ship striking a sandbar, suddenly jolting passengers. Whatever the situation, if you are injured as a passenger on board any of these vehicles or vessels, you may be entitled to money for your injuries.
Workplace Injuries: Back injuries in the workplace can be caused by any number of things, including heavy lifting, machinery malfunction, and/or coworker negligence. Depending on the severity of the accident, injuries can range from a twisted back to serious spinal cord trauma. Making a work place injury claim is different from a personal injury claim because workers’ compensation is involved. There are specific rules that govern how injured worker’s can make a workers’ comp claim and there are time sensitive guidelines as well.
Injuries can occur in the lower back, upper back, or spinal cord and damage can include sprains, strains, torn ligaments, pulled muscles, broken vertebrae, and more. If you’ve ever injured your back, you know the pain can become unbearable. Some of the serious symptoms of a back injury can include:
- Loss of feeling
- Difficulty breathing
- Restricted range of motion
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Rapid/slowed heart rate
- Blood pressure spikes/drops
- Sexual dysfunction
- Digestive/bowel issues
Proving Your Back Injury
In a personal injury case the burden falls on the plaintiff (injured individual) to show that the defendant (party alleged to be at fault) did wrong or acted negligently. As if being hurt isn’t tough enough, it will be up to you to not only prove that you suffered an injury but the strength of your case may also be impacted by other factors such as your medical treatment and the ways in which the injury has impacted your life.
So what exactly will you have to prove? That varies depending on the situation, but generally in personal injury cases that involve some kind of negligence, there are a few key elements that must be proven:
Duty – The defendant has some kind of legal responsibility for the plaintiff’s safety (supervisor at work, driver of a vehicle/vessel, etc.).
Breach of Duty – The defendant fails honor a legal responsibility owed to the plaintiff, resulting in a breach of their duty to the plaintiff.
Causation – The defendant’s actions, or lack thereof, were the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Damages/Injury – The plaintiff was indeed harmed by the actions of the defendant.
Additionally, you may need substantial evidence to demonstrate the above four elements. Evidence such as the following can be very helpful to proving your case:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical bills/records
- Documentation of missed work
- Police reports
You might also consider taking notes or journaling about your daily life since you became injured. Having a written account of your struggles in your own words may be helpful to your case. With the possibility that your injury case may go to trial, such evidence could make an impact on your case.
The Value of Your Back Injury Claim
Since the severity of back injuries can vary from strains to paralysis, the potential compensation you could receive varies as well. Damages under consideration can be economic or non-economic. The term “economic” damages refer to things like medical bills and lost income, whereas “non-economic” damages are intangible things like pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. Every case is different but some common factors that can impact the value of your back injury claim include:
- Severity of the injury
- Pre-existing injuries
- Medical expenses incurred
- Recovery period
- Permanence of the injury
- Disruption to daily life
- Lack of shared fault
- Witness testimony
To find out more about your claim, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo have experience with all kinds of personal injury claims related to back injuries and we can help you navigate this difficult process.
Our back injury attorneys have many years of experience and are dedicated to serving those in our community who have suffered injuries because of the negligence of others. Don’t go through a back injury alone, call us at 1-877-529-1222 or contact us through our website.