If you have ever been in an accident, then you understand how it can change your life both in the short-term, and the long-term. Some of the most painful types of slip and fall accidents are the ones that result in back pain. More often than not, back pain suffered as the result of a slip and fall accident can be with you for a very long time. If the accident is severe enough, it could completely alter your life.
Recognizing Back Pain After An Accident
What should you do if you experience a slip and fall accident? The first course of action is to get treatment immediately to help with the damage and the pain. It is entirely possible that adrenaline flowing through your body at the time of the accident will prevent you from feeling any initial pain, but you still want a doctor to look you over to minimize the pain when it does hit.
After the doctor looks you over, it is time to assess whether or not you want to file a lawsuit and what you need to do to get your life back on track. To handle a slip and fall accident that involves back pain, you need to understand the potential physical damage you could be up against and what your legal options are to preserve your financial future.
The Types Of Back Injuries
There are several types of back injuries you can sustain, and each type of injury has its own unique long and short-term effects.
- Cervical spine – The cervical spine is the part of the spine located in the neck. These types of injuries can be very sudden and potentially life-altering. In a majority of these injuries, the bones in the spine become dislocated and threaten to damage the spinal cord. The pain can be intense, and often times the damage requires surgery to be fixed.
- Fractures – When you slip and fall on your tailbone, there is a strong likelihood you will fracture that bone. The fracture can be a mild crack, or the bone can burst into pieces. As you can imagine, fractures in the spine can be extremely painful and there is a chance the pain will never go away.
- Disc damage – A slip and fall that causes the spine to twist in various ways can cause damage to the discs. In the spine, the discs are soft tissue rings used as cushioning between each vertebra. The discs can bulge, which means a small portion of the disc extends outward from the spine, or it can become almost completely dislodged in what is called a herniated disc. In either case, the damaged disc will push on the spinal cord and cause intense pain that can be relieved through months of physical therapy, or by surgery.
- Tissue damage – If you are lucky, then your back injury could be the result of damage done to the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that hold the spine together. This would be considered a lucky situation because soft tissue damage in the spine tends to not require surgery, and a full recovery is possible in most cases.
How Filing A Slip and Fall Lawsuit In Pennsylvania Works
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit associated with back pain in Pennsylvania is two years. There are several problems with waiting to file a lawsuit for back pain that people need to be aware of.
- You will have immediate and possibly ongoing financial needs that you should address as soon as possible to avoid financial disaster.
- The conditions where the accident occurred could change over time and make your case more difficult to prove.
- If you wait too long, the negligent party could go out of business and take away your chance to file a lawsuit.
A personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania starts with a demand letter that your attorney will send to the negligent party. If the negligent party has insurance, then your attorney will get a response from the insurance company. If there is no insurance, then your attorney will have to go after the assets of the negligent party to try and get you a settlement.
Most personal injury lawsuits involving back pain are settled before they even get to court, but be careful about accepting a settlement against the advice of your attorney. Once you accept a settlement, the case is closed and you can never get more funding from the negligent party. Allow your attorney to negotiate a settlement that will help you get on with your life, or prepare to go to court.
The Pain Can Change Your Life
Back pain is something you should take very seriously. If your slip and fall accident causes your head to move violently one way or the other, then you could have whiplash on top of other types of injuries. Pain in the lower back just above the buttocks can indicate a damaged disc, while you could also experience a tingling sensation or numbness in your extremities.
Fractured vertebrae could result in lifelong back pain that may increase with age. Herniated discs can be treated with physical therapy, but they also can result in a lifetime of pain and discomfort. With proper treatment, most back injuries do eventually subside to pain levels that are manageable. But in some cases, the pain can be permanent and prevent the victim from being able to do the things they need and want to do.
Should You Sue?
Even the best health and long-term disability insurance has its limits, and a severe back injury could change your life. You may never be able to work in your field again, play with your children, or enjoy activities such as traveling and sports. Your health-related insurance is not going to compensate you for lost income, lost mobility, and a permanently altered lifestyle.
If your slip and fall accident that resulted in back pain was the direct result of someone else’s negligence, then you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. If you or someone you know can go back to the scene of the accident and take pictures, then that will help your attorney argue your case.
Back Pain Lawsuit Wins
Patrick Mohan is a law clerk in Columbia, South Carolina who fell down a flight of marble stairs in the Columbia Court House in 2013. In his lawsuit against the company that maintains the building, Mohan asserted that the anti-slip strips were removed from the steps so the workers could wax them. The absence of the strips and the presence of the wax created a dangerous situation that caused Mohan considerable pain. In the end, he wound up with a settlement totaling $750,000.
In Chicago, railway mechanic Andreas Bakopoulos injured his back when he was forced to stand in a pool of diesel fuel while conducting a routine mechanical inspection. He fell and injured his back, and initially sought $9 million in compensation. The Cook County courts ruled that Bakopoulos would receive a settlement of $5.9 million for his injuries, pain, and suffering.
Winning a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit that involves a back injury can be extremely difficult. If you get injured because of someone else’s negligence, then it is important to hire an experienced attorney who will be able to put a case together that will get you the compensation you need to try and get on with your life.