From the base of the skull to the bottom of the tailbone, the back connects all the human body’s moving parts.
Medical experts divide the back into three segments:
- Cervical spine (first seven bones from skull are called “cervical vertebrae”)
- Thoracic spine (bones in the upper back and abdomen)
- Lumbar spine (between ribcage and pelvis).
Back injuries can occur at any point in any of the three segments of the back.
The location of a back injury is significant because back injury victims often lose movement below the location of the injury.
Types of Back Injuries
Back injury is a broad term that can refer to a number of different types of trauma to the back.
Sprain or Strain
Strains are when a muscle is overextended and sprains are when a ligament is damaged or torn away from a joint or muscle. The affected area then becomes inflamed, which can lead to spasms and difficulty moving.
Less severe sprains and strains are often treated with cold compresses and stabilizing the joint where the sprain occurred. Whiplash is one severe form of a strain or sprain.
After an accident, many neck and lower back pains can be strains. Other pains may signal a more serious injury.
Vertebrae (bones) form a stacked column from the base of our skull to the tailbone. Vertebrae are hollow in the middle, and running down the inside of this spinal column are spinal nerves.
In between each vertebral bone sits a spinal disc. Spinal discs have a fibrous outer layer that surrounds a gel-like inner layer. A herniated disc or bulging disc can occur when the inner gel squeezes through the outer layer. When the gel touches spinal nerves, the pain can be excruciating.
Herniated discs are often caused by traumatic injuries, like the impact of a rear-end collision or sudden strains. They could be from excessive pressure causing the inner gel to squeeze out. They can also result from a tear in the fibrous outer layer that allows the inner gel to leak out.
Symptoms of herniated discs include numbness or tingling, arm or leg pain, and weakness. Herniated discs can be treated with medication, therapy, or surgery.
Surgery for a herniated disc involves the removal of the damaged disc. After removal, the two vertebrae are fused together.
Back injury victims living with fused spinal vertebrae may suffer a decreased range of motion and increased stiffness.
Fractured vertebrae are broken bones in the back. Some breaks are compression fractures, in which a vertebra collapses on itself. Others are burst fractures when splinters of bone are expelled into spinal tissue, nerves, and the spinal cord.
When bones are broken in the back, they are usually in the thoracic or lumbar spine. They can be the result of a high-impact trauma, like being hit by a motor vehicle, or a fall from a significant height.
Spinal Cord Injury
Damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves in the back is a spinal cord injury.
Some symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Weakness, loss of feeling, and loss of bodily function below the site of the injury
- Neurological impairment that’s severe or permanent
- Full or partial paralysis
Depending on where the spinal cord injury occurs and the severity of the injury, spinal cord injuries can be the most damaging of all back injuries.
Spinal cord injury severity is classified as “complete” or “incomplete.” With a complete spinal cord injury, the accident victim suffers a total loss of sensation and ability to move below the point of the injury. If an accident victim suffers a partial loss of sensation and ability to move below the point of the injury, it is said to be incomplete.
Spinal cord injuries can be caused by defective construction equipment, unsafe flooring, or other defective products. For these reasons, spinal cord injuries are often part of product liability cases.
How Are Back Injuries Diagnosed?
After an accident, you have the right to medical treatment.
Usually, medical treatment involves a diagnosis, a treatment plan, and ultimate recovery.
When doctors evaluate patient reports of back pain, one major component of the diagnosis is the symptoms reported by the patient. Doctors may also use medical imaging to diagnose.
Symptoms of Back Injury
Symptoms of back injury can range from mild inconveniences to signals of a serious medical emergency. Some symptoms of serious back injury include:
- Shortness of breath or labored breathing
- Numbness of extremities (hands, arms, feet, legs)
- Tingling or “pins and needles” in the extremities
- Blood in urine
- Loss of normal bladder or bowel function
If you have any of these symptoms and you recently suffered trauma to your back, you should seek immediate medical treatment.
Other signs of back injury include:
- Soreness to the touch
- Pain that worsens when you move, cough, sneeze, or laugh
- Stiffness and difficulty movement
- Muscle spasms
- Pain that radiates down one or both legs
- Muscle spasms
Of course, one of the most severe signals of a serious back injury is paralysis.
Medical Imaging Tests Used to Diagnose Back Injury
In addition to the symptoms, doctors use medical imaging to diagnose back injury. Some medical imaging used to diagnose back injuries include:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- CT Scan
For some kinds of injuries, doctors may order a myelogram to complement the X-ray or CT scan. If nerve injury is suspected, nerve conduction studies may be ordered.
Common Causes of Back Injuries in South Florida
Back injuries can occur whenever you are involved in a traumatic event. This includes:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Boat accidents
- And more
No matter how or why you got hurt, Lavent Law can help you seek just compensation from those responsible.
Call our Miami personal injury attorneys to get started with a free case evaluation today.
How Long Do I Have to Seek Compensation For a Back Injury in the State of Florida?
There’s a legal deadline for filing a personal injury case in court. The statute of limitations is the law that sets the deadline.
In Florida, there’s a four-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases.
After the statute of limitations expires, an injured person can lose their right to recover compensation.
It might seem like four years a long time, but each part of a personal injury case takes time to develop. Depending on the type of case you’re facing, you may have other time limitations:
- If you were in a car accident, you may have a limited time to file an insurance claim, under Florida’s 14-day rule.
- If you were hurt at work, there may be a limited time to claim workers’ compensation.
- There may be a limited amount of time to give notice of a medical malpractice claim.
When you’re hurt, time is critical. If you have suffered a back injury through no fault of your own, you should take the time to reach out to our Miami, Florida personal injury attorneys.
What Florida’s Comparative Negligence Rules Mean For Your Back Injury Case
Many people believe that they cannot recover compensation if they had any part in their own injury. In Florida, that’s not true.
But your fault does impact your case. Florida law compares each person’s percent of fault for an accident.
Under Florida’s theory of “comparative negligence,” your recovery may be reduced by the amount of fault you have for your own injuries. This means that if the person you sue claims that you caused your own injury, and you are 25% responsible for the accident, your total recovery will be reduced by 25%.
If the person you sue claims that your own behavior caused your injuries, their responsibility for your damages might be reduced by the amount of fault you bear for your own injuries. Under the theory of comparative negligence, if an injured person is 25% responsible for their injuries, their total settlement value can be reduced by 25%.
Get in Touch with Our Miami Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Maybe you were hurt at work. If you suffered a back injury, you may be able to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Boris Lavent and the Miami personal injury lawyers at Lavent Law are ready to get you the compensation you deserve.
Every client gets personal attention at our personal injury law firm. We even make house calls. Contact our office for your free consultation.