A back injury can result in permanent impairments that prevent you from working and reduce your quality of life. Many back injuries result from trauma caused by an accident or other personal injury. A personal injury attorney can help if you sustain a back injury caused by someone else.
An acute back injury is a catastrophic injury. The insurance company might try to downplay your damages, but a legal team will fight to ensure you are treated fairly and receive just compensation.
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What Are Common Types of Back Injuries?
Your spinal column is made up of vertebrae (bones), nerves, muscles, and discs.
The back is divided into three sections:
- The cervical region is the vertebrae that make up the neck
- The thoracic region is the vertebrae that make up the upper back
- The lumbar spine is the vertebrae that make up the lower back
Injuries can occur in any of these regions or multiple regions. Damage to any of the components that make up the spinal column can cause several problems.
Common back injuries include:
A broken or fractured vertebra can occur anywhere along the spine. A compression fracture causes the bone to crush and crumple into itself. However, a burst fracture can cause pieces of the bone to propel outward into the spinal tissue and spinal cord.
A broken back can be extremely painful and debilitating. Most spinal fractures occur in the lower and middle spine.
The symptoms of a fractured vertebra include:
- Numbness or tingling
- Uncontrolled muscle spasms
- Loss of bowel or urinary control
- Paralysis or weakness in the limbs
- Limited mobility and flexibility
Injured victims must be stabilized to avoid further damage to the back. After an accident, EMS may place the injured person on a stretcher or backboard. They may also use a cervical collar to prevent further injuries.
Treatments for fractured vertebrae can include surgery, physical therapy, medications, and long-term rehabilitation. Fractures requiring surgery could result in permanent impairments.
The vertebrae in the back are separated by soft discs filled with a jellylike substance. These discs provide cushion and work to keep the vertebrae in place. A herniated disc is a disc that ruptures and allows the inner substance to spill into the spinal column.
When a disc ruptures and the inner layer seeps into the spinal column, it can cause extreme pain as it pinches or irritates the nearby nerves. Medication and physical therapy can help, but some people may require back surgery to treat a herniated disc.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Injury to the spinal cord can cause partial or complete paralysis. The level of paralysis depends on the severity of the injury and its location in the spinal column. A person may be unable to move any portion of the body below the neck or lose sensation and movement in specific areas of the body.
Spinal cord injuries are the most severe type of back injury. There is no cure for a spinal cord injury because you cannot repair the damaged nerves. You can only treat the symptoms of the spinal cord injury.
A person with spinal cord injury could also lose bodily functions, including the ability to breathe and control their bowels and bladder. Anyone who experiences symptoms of a spinal cord injury or sustains severe back trauma should seek immediate medical treatment.
What Are Some Common Causes of Back Injuries in Georgia?
Trauma is one of the most common causes of sudden back injuries.
Examples of trauma that can cause a back injury include:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Recreational activities and sports
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
Regardless of the circumstances, seeking medical treatment for a back injury is crucial. Prompt medical care can mitigate damages from a back injury and give you the best chance of recovering fully.
What Damages Could I Receive for a Back Injury?
If another party caused your back injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. The damages caused by a back injury can be substantial, especially if the injury causes permanent issues.
- The cost of diagnosing and treating a back injury
- Future medical bills and the cost of ongoing care
- Loss of earnings, including lost income, future lost wages, and decreases in earning capacity
- Pain and suffering caused by physical trauma, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- A decrease in quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairment and disability
- Out-of-pocket expenses and costs
Additionally, some accident victims could receive punitive damages. These damages do not compensate the accident victim for losses or harm. Instead, juries award punitive damages to “punish” a defendant for specific misconduct.
How Long Do I Have To File a Back Injury Claim in Georgia?
The statute of limitations for most Georgia personal injury claims is two years after the injury date. However, there are exceptions to this rule. We strongly advise individuals to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident to avoid missing the deadline to file a claim or lawsuit.
Can I Recover Compensation If I Am Partially To Blame for the Cause of a Back Injury in Georgia?
However, insurance companies and at-fault parties look for ways to limit their liability for damages. Contributory fault is often used as a defense to personal injury claims.
Georgia’s modified comparative fault law does not bar an injured party from receiving compensation for damages if their fault does not exceed 50 percent. However, if the party is 50% or more at fault for the cause of a back injury, they cannot recover any money for their claim.
If they are less than 50% at fault, they can receive some compensation for damages. Their compensation is reduced by their level of fault. Therefore, if a jury found you were 20% at fault for the cause of your back injury, you could receive 80% of the total compensation awarded for damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers To Discuss Your Back Injury
A back injury can change your life forever. You deserve compensation for all damages, including future damages and losses. Contact our law firm Hawk Law Group at (706) 722-3500 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers and discuss how we can help you with your back injury case.