About 65 million Americans have recently experienced back pain and about 8% of all adults have chronic or persistent back pain that limits their ability to perform everyday activities.
For some people, back injuries are caused by bad posture, arthritis, or osteoporosis. For others, a back injury results from an acute injury such as a slip and fall or a car accident.
Existing back problems can also be worsened by an accident.
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What Are the Different Types of Back Injuries?
Back injuries are among the most serious types of injuries for many reasons. Back injuries often lead to chronic or persistent pain and may limit your ability to perform everyday activities. Many types of back injuries are also difficult to correct or treat and there is even a name for this: failed back surgery syndrome.
The following are some of the most common types of back injuries our experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyers see on a regular basis.
Back Strain or Sprain
These soft tissue injuries are very common in accidents. Strains happen when soft tissue, usually tendons, is damaged by force, unnatural stretching, or impact. Sprains are damage to ligaments of the back.
Slipped or Herniated Disc
The discs of the spine cushion the vertebrae, allow movement, and absorb shock. In an accident, an extreme amount of force can be absorbed by the discs which causes them to shift or slip out of place. This can cause compression of nearby nerves. Too much pressure can even cause discs to bulge out of place or rupture completely.
Fractured vertebrae are usually caused by car accidents, slip and falls, sports injuries, and gunshots. There are three common types of fractures that can occur.
One type of spinal fracture is a spinal compression fracture. This occurs when the bone along the spine collapses due to an extreme blow or force. These fractures can be painless or excruciating and may make it difficult to even stand or walk.
An extension/distraction fracture is a common seat belt injury. It happens when the vertebrae are pulled apart, often in a head-on crash when the upper body moves forward and the lower body stays in the same position.
Rotation fractures can be caused by extreme sideways bending or rotation.
There are 31 major nerves in the spinal column that allow the parts of the body to communicate to each other. Trauma to the spine can cause damage to these nerves that may be permanent and impair your ability to control part of your body. Nerve damage can cause not only partial or total paralysis and limited function but also significant pain.
This condition happens when vertebrae shift out of alignment due to fractures. This compresses nerves running through the spine which can cause extreme pain and difficulty walking. Degeneration due to overuse and fractures can cause this condition.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The most serious type of back injury is a spinal cord injury. These catastrophic injuries can leave victims permanently paralyzed. They can also be life-threatening and require extensive recovery and treatment. Victims who suffer a spinal cord injury may be left permanently disabled.
What Are Common Causes of Back Injuries?
Back injuries can result from all types of accidents. Sometimes back injuries are the result of long-term stress, such as years of heavy lifting or physically challenging work.
They can also be caused by a traumatic accident.
The following are some of the most common causes of Baltimore back injuries.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slips and falls are one of the leading causes of both back injuries and personal injury claims. Falls are responsible for the most non-fatal injuries in the U.S. that require medical treatment. Among seniors, falls are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries. A slip and fall can be powerful enough to cause trauma to the spinal cord, spinal discs, or vertebrae.
Depending on the severity of the fall, it may cause a slipped or compressed disc, nerve damage, spinal cord injury, or strained or torn ligaments in the back.
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, including at home, at work, on a sidewalk or parking lot, or at a business. When a slip and fall happens on someone else’s property, they may be held responsible under premises liability for dangerous conditions.
Traffic accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, and pedestrian accidents, are one of the leading causes of sudden and traumatic back injuries. Even a seemingly minor car accident at relatively low speeds can be enough to damage the vertebrae and spinal discs which absorb shock. An accident that causes a sudden back and forth movement or twisting can also damage delicate structures in the spine as well as ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the back.
One of the most common consequences of a car accident is a herniated disc which, while treatable, can’t be completely repaired. Car accidents may also cause sciatica, spondylolisthesis, spinal compression fractures, and, most seriously, spinal cord injuries.
Back injuries are among the most common work-related injuries. Back injuries are responsible for 25% of all workers’ compensation claims and more than 1 million U.S. workers suffer an on-the-job back injury every year. These injuries can occur due to heavy lifting or physically demanding work, repetitive but non-strenuous activities like working long hours at a desk, or even a slip and fall at work. Nursing assistants, laborers, and hand material movers alone accounted for almost 16% of back-related injury cases in 2016.
If you have suffered a back injury on the job, you may be entitled to benefits through workers’ compensation. It isn’t necessary to suffer an acute or sudden injury; you may also file benefits if your job has caused a back injury over time or even worsened a pre-existing back condition.
Sadly, not all back injuries are the result of an accident or a natural condition. Many victims of assault are left with serious and life-changing back injuries after an attack. If you have suffered a back injury after an assault, Baltimore law gives you the right to hold the responsible party accountable through a personal injury claim.
Our law firm handles all back injury cases. So, whether you’ve suffered trauma due to a medical malpractice case, a birth injury, or another type of accident, we’re here to help you demand the money you deserve. Give our law office a call to learn more today.
What Damages Are Available for Baltimore Back Injury Victims?
Back pain is responsible for over $12 billion in costs every year and it’s the sixth most expensive condition in the United States. It’s also a leading cause of lost work days and work limitations. At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the devastating effect a back injury can have on your life. We are here to fight for you.
Depending on the nature of your accident and who was to blame, you may be entitled to many forms of damages to make you as whole as possible. These damages can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those with an intrinsic financial value. Your economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses such as surgery, emergency treatment, physician visits, medication, hospitalization, and medical devices. This includes not only your current medical bills but anticipated future medical costs for your injury.
- Lost wages, including lost benefits of employment like pension contributions
- Loss of future wages if you are left disabled and unable to return to work
Non-economic damages are harder to define but they may even be greater than your economic damages. Common non-economic damages for a back injury include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
In Maryland, non-economic damages are capped at $875,000 but economic damages have no cap.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Have you suffered a serious back injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence? Whether you were hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or workplace accident, WGK Personal Injury Lawyers are here to help. We have proudly represented Baltimore injury victims for over 40 years to fight for maximum compensation.
Our Baltimore back injury law firm is here to aggressively represent you in seeking the compensation you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis which means you pay no fees unless we recover for you. Contact the Baltimore, MD law office of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, give us a call today at (410) 837-2144 for a free case review.