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Neck and spinal cord injuries can be serious and life threatening. Unfortunately, certain professions come with a high risk of these types of injuries. Construction workers, landscapers, warehouse workers, nurses and any other worker that is required to lift heavy items or work at elevated heights are the most at risk. If you sustain such an injury, you may experience pain, emotional trauma, and the burden of high medical bills. In fact, according to the University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, if a person experiences a spinal cord injury at the age of 25, the estimated lifetime cost of that injury will range from $704,344 and $3.1 million. Fortunately, if you sustain the injury while at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spinal cord is responsible for a variety of your body’s functions, such as breathing, bladder, body temperature, and sexual functioning. Because of this, a spinal cord injury can be devastating and drastically lower your quality of life. A spinal cord injury occurs when the bundle of nerves in your spinal column are damaged. This leads to full or partial loss of motor control and temporary or permanent loss of feeling and sensation. Paralysis, whether it’s in the lower part of your body (paraplegic) or in all four limbs (quadriplegic), can be a serious consequence of a spinal cord injury. More mild symptoms of spinal cord injuries include bruising, inflammation, and pain.
Any type of work that includes physical activity puts you at risk for spinal cord injuries, especially if you lift heavy loads or work at great heights. Some common causes of spinal cord injury include:
- Twisting neck or back awkwardly
- Fragments of broken vertebrae piercing through the spinal cord
- Blood accumulating and compressing the spinal cord
Types of Neck & Spinal Injuries
There are a wide variety of workplace neck and back injuries, ranging from mild to severe. Injuries can happen anywhere on the spine, from the neck to the tailbone and can include damage to nerves, muscles, ligaments, and bones. The most common types of spinal/neck injuries include:
- Herniated disk – Also known as a “pinched nerve,” this injury occurs when a disk in your spine slips or ruptures. This type of injury can lead to pain, numbness, and chronic back pain. Physical therapy, and sometimes surgery, is needed to fix the problem.
- Fractured/dislocated vertebrae – There are 33 bones that make up your spine, consisting of 5 segments (neck, upper & middle back, lower back, pelvis, and tailbone). Fractures or dislocations of any of these segments is most often caused by falls and can lead to serious and permanent damage.
- Whiplash – Usually associated with vehicle accidents, whiplash is neck strain caused by sudden jerks forwards and backwards. This can lead to tears in the muscles and tendons of the neck causing headaches, pain, and tenderness.
Other neck and spinal injuries include:
- Sciatica (leg pain, numbness, & weakness)
- Back spasms
- Sprained/strained back
Rehabilitation for Spinal Injuries
Depending on your level of injury, rehabilitation and treatment of neck and spinal injuries can include:
- Pain medication
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
Available Compensation for Neck & Spinal Cord Injuries
Since spinal cord injuries can be serious and life-altering, workers’ compensation benefits usually cover more than just medical bills and pain and suffering. If you suffered a spinal cord or serious neck injury, you may be entitled to:
- Ongoing rehabilitation and health care such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.
- Cost of devices such as wheelchairs, motor scooters, etc.
- Modifications to your home such as access ramps, stair lifts, etc.
Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered a neck or spinal cord injury due to an accident at work, it’s important for you to contact an experienced attorney. At Powers & Caccavale, we strive to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits to make sure you get what you rightly deserve. From the moment we get involved, we will guide you step by step through your case and do everything we can to achieve the best outcome possible.