Back and Spine Injuries
Back and spine injuries are among the most common results of many accidents, particularly vehicle accidents. Nearly 20% of car accidents in Ontario in 2016 resulted in injury or death, with roughly 19% of injuries requiring hospitalization involving the back and spine. However, other accidents, such as falls or bicycle accidents, can cause back and spine injuries, as well.
Back and Spine Injury Symptoms
Regardless of the cause, when back and spine injuries occur, they can be devastating. These injuries frequently limit movement and may put you out of work for quite some time. However, they can be deceptively difficult to spot. If you have been involved in a car accident or any other accident in which you experienced significant physical trauma, you should consult a physician to ensure that you do not have any back or spinal injuries. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention, as they are signs of potential spinal cord injuries:
- Extreme back pain
- Pressure in your back, neck, or head
- Weakness or paralysis in any portion of your body
- Loss of control of bodily functions
- Difficulty breathing easily
- Numbness in any portion of your body
Other possible injuries include muscle strains, slipped disks, nerve damage, and even deep bruising. In general, any pain in the back or spine could indicate an injury to the back or spine. While not considered as serious as spinal cord injuries, these injuries are nonetheless potentially life-altering, at least in the short-term, and require immediate attention.
Back and spine injuries regularly require visits to specialists as well as diagnostic imaging and testing. You may believe that the testing is unnecessary, but it is important to be certain that you know the extent of your injuries. Both your prognosis and the precise treatment varies depending on the exact details of your injuries.
Injuries to the spinal cord are the most severe and can result in full or partial paralysis. Although there is no cure for a severed spinal cord, treatments such as physical therapy can reduce discomfort and improve quality of life. Some other spinal cord injuries may be treatable through surgery or therapy, but it is essential that treatment occur as soon as possible.
Many other back and spine injuries can be more effectively treated. Slipped disks may be treated via physical therapy or surgical options, while nerve damage requires pain medication and physical therapy. Muscled strains are frequently treated with pain medication, muscle relaxers, and rest.
No matter what the back or spine injury is, you will undoubtedly be unable to work for at least a short period of time. The more severe your injury, the more time you will have to take off work. All of those treatments and time off work can create a true financial hardship.
As medical expenses mount and you are unable to work, your attention will certainly turn to finances. If you have suffered a back or spine injury as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of another, you can pursue compensation from the person at fault. This often begins with insurance company negotiations, but a personal injury lawsuit can help you to recover damages if you are unable to come to an agreement with the insurance company.
Whether you are awarded compensation directly through the insurance company or a personal injury suit, the items you may seek payment for are the same. You are legally able to seek compensation for your expenses related to the accident, including:
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses, both present and future
Even though you certainly have a need for compensation, it is not guaranteed. Your ability to collect compensation will depend on the circumstances of the accident. You must be able to prove that your injuries are the direct result of the accident and that the accident was caused by the negligence of the other person. In other words, the cause of your back and spine injuries must be the actions of the other party involved. However, this does not mean that you cannot collect compensation if you contributed to the accident in any way.
Thanks to the concept of contributory negligence, you can be found to be partially at fault for your own accident and injuries, but you can also still receive compensation. The court will simply reduce the compensation awarded to you according to the degree of your contribution to the accident. In simplest terms, this means that, if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, your potential award would be reduced by 20%.
In addition to requiring proof of fault, the law also restricts the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. To be safe, you should file your case within two years of the date of the accident as allowed by the statutes of limitation in Ontario. Even if you spend time attempting to negotiate with the insurance company on your own, the two-year time limit to file suit still applies, subject to discoverability. Therefore, although it is wise to begin by dealing with the insurance company in hopes of avoiding costly litigation, you should consult your Thunder Bay area lawyer immediately to ensure a smooth, speedy negotiation. Bringing your lawyer into the case early will also make the transition to a lawsuit quicker and easier if you are unable to come to an agreement with the insurance company.
Contact a Lawyer
Two years may seem like sufficient time to negotiate with the insurance company and file a lawsuit if needed, but do not let time slip away. The insurance company will be in no hurry to settle and will attempt to reach the lowest possible settlement.
A personal injury lawyer with experience in accidents involving back and spine injuries will be best able to help you recover the compensation you need by assisting in insurance negotiations, as well as filing suit if an agreement is not reached. Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers immediately to assess your case and begin the process of getting your life and your finances back on track.