Getting Compensation for Spinal Cord and Back Injury Victims in Minnesota
Back and spinal injuries resulting from accidents have an enormous impact on the victim’s well-being and quality of life. Such traumas can damage the ligaments, muscles, soft tissues, tendons, or bones that the back is made up of and often leave the injured person suffering from intense pain and even paralysis.
Back and spinal injuries require immediate medical interventions as well as on-going treatments, such as physiotherapy. Such procedures are expensive and can leave the victim worried not only about their health but their financial situation too.
Fortunately, in the event of a spinal cord or back injury trauma, compensation is available to alleviate some of the stress that the injured person has to go through.
Learn how you can get compensated for a back or spinal cord injury in the state of Minnesota.
Causes of Spinal Injuries in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
One of the most common reasons for a back injury is the involvement in a car accident. The back and neck of a person are highly susceptible to sudden movement and force and can be easily damaged during a collision.
If you got hurt in a car accident, you might be able to get compensated for your injuries if it was the other driver’s fault. Not stopping at a stop sign, not keeping a distance, or running red lights are all examples of the driver not complying with the traffic laws.
Similar to car accidents, truck accidents can cause severe back and spinal cord injuries to the victim, mainly due to trucks being significantly larger than other vehicles; therefore, the impact more harmful.
Truck accidents refer to accidents involving commercial vehicles, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, etc.
Some possible reasons for truck accidents can be equipment failure, not signaling when turning, or not stopping at a red light, all of which can result in the driver of the truck being held responsible for the accident.
Motorcycles are smaller than cars and other vehicles and sometimes difficult to spot. Therefore, accidents involving motorcycles are not uncommon. Such collisions can result in back injuries for both the motorcyclist and the driver of the car. The fault will be determined based on the behavior on the road of both parties. For example, if the rider was riding recklessly, unexpectedly changing lanes to avoid traffic, or failed to take a tight turn, the responsibility for the accident will fall on them. On the other hand, if the driver of the car demonstrated similar behavior while driving, they may be liable for the damages.
Pedestrians are vulnerable to accidents, especially when they are crossing highways. Every year thousands of people are injured or killed in pedestrian-vehicle crashes. Both drivers and pedestrians need to exercise caution and obey the traffic rules when being out on the road. However, drivers bare somewhat greater responsibility since they are operating a machine. In the case of reckless driving, drunk driving, not complying with the rules of the road, etc. drivers are held responsible for the accident.
Like pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents are another common reason for back and spinal cord injuries. Vehicles are required to follow the traffic laws, not drive in the designated bike lanes, turn their headlights on at night, etc. to prevent bicycle-vehicle collisions and to avoid being held accountable for such.
Rideshare apps, like Uber and Lyft, are becoming increasingly common. Because of this, accidents involving rideshares are also becoming more common. In this case, the responsibility might fall on the driver for driving under the influence of alcohol, for example, or on the rideshare company itself.
Accidents at the workplace are another common cause of back injuries, especially if the job involves heavy lifting or sitting for prolonged periods of time, which can result in poor posture. The injured person might be eligible for workers compensation if they have been injured at the workplace while doing their job.
Medical malpractice due to failure to diagnose or treat a condition, for example, can lead to a back or spinal cord injury. In this case, the medical practitioner is responsible for the damages, and the injured person can be compensated for their suffering.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of back injuries. Such accidents often occur in a property maintained by someone else. In the event of a slip and fall accident, the injured person might get compensated if the owner of the property failed to indicate the danger or didn’t do anything about preventing it.
Common Back Injuries Resulting from Accidents
Sciatica causes intense pain when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched due to an accident. Sciatica, which references back pain associated with the sciatic nerve, is caused when an injury puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg, which is why sciatica pain can be felt in the hip, buttocks, and leg. Sciatica can easily be caused by accidents like motor vehicle collisions and slip and falls.
Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the nerves. Spinal stenosis is most commonly associated with the lower back (lumbar spine) where compression on the spinal nerves causes back pain that can radiate into other parts of the body, like into the legs. Spinal stenosis is commonly associated with older adults, but it can also be caused by accident or injury.
A herniated disc occurs when the soft “jellylike“ substance in the center of the spinal disk (disc nucleus) pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior (annulus). A herniated disc may also be called a bulging disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc. When this herniation occurs, it can put pressure on any of the thousands of nerves in the areas, causing serious back and neck pain for the sufferer. Herniated discs are a common result of car accidents and slip and falls but may be caused by a host of other accidents.
Lower Back Sprain and Strain
Lower back sprain and strain occurs when the fibers of the muscles in the lower back are stretched too far or when the muscle fibers suffer minor tears. Back sprains and strains are often less painful then some of the other injuries listed here, however they can be debilitating, causing serious pain, missed work, and mounting medical bills.
Although compression fractures (fractures in the back bones) occur with age (osteoporosis), they can also be caused by heavy lifting or a fall. Compression fracture symptoms include severe back pain and a host of other long-term issues. Physical therapy, medications, and surgery may be necessary to treat a compression fracture, which can be costly to the injury victim.
Lumbar or Thoracic Vertebrae Fractures
Lumbar or thoracic vertebrae fractures are fractures that occur in the mid-back or lower back due to car crashes and accidents. When a vertebra fractures, just like any other bone in your body, it can be extremely painful. These fractures happen most commonly in the the middle portion of the spine (thoracic spine), but can also occur in the lower back.
Discogenic pain occurs as a result of some damage to the spinal disc and leads to intense pain in the lower back and neck area. It can appear both as a result of sudden trauma or with age. Generally, discogenic pain just refers to pain caused by with some type of issue with a spinal disc. About 40% of all back pain is related to a problem or injury with a spinal discs. If you are suffering from chronic neck or lower back pain, but you don’t have a herniated disc, you may have discogenic pain.
Suffering a Back Injury at Work
Many people become victims of work-related accidents or suffer from back pain due to the nature of their occupation.
Working at construction sites, restaurants, factories, or even offices often requires heavy lifting or standing/sitting for prolonged periods of time, which leads to back injuries and pain.
If a worker manages to prove that their injury has occurred at the workplace and as a result of doing their job, they might be able to get compensated for their medical treatment and loss of wages through the Worker’s Compensation Program.
The state of Minnesota requires all employers to purchase worker’s compensation insurance or become self-insured to limit their liability if an employee gets injured at the job.
Instead of a typical lawsuit, the injured worker is required to file a claim against their employer through a worker’s compensation claim.
Worker’s compensation program is a no-fault system which means that the injured employee is entitled to receive benefits without having to prove negligence or fault against their employer.
What Damages Can You Receive in a Back Injury Lawsuit?
As with any injury, back and spinal cord injuries cause physical and emotional suffering for the victim, along with stress due to temporary or permanent inability to work and care for their family.
Therefore, back injuries and spinal cord injury lawsuits aim to reimburse the person for their psychological, physical, and monetary losses.
Usually, the financial award includes lost wages, medical expenses related to the injury, future medical treatments, and the cost of assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, ramps, etc.
Contact a Minnesota Back Injury Lawyer Today
If you or someone close to you has suffered a back injury as a result of an accident, the skilled attorneys at Sand Law, Minnesota, are here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us online or by calling 651-571-4125 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how you can get compensated for your suffering.
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at Sand Law LLC who have extensive experience practicing and writing about the law in Minnesota. The information in this article comes from this hands-on experience along with extensive research. For information about the author of this page, view our attorneys’ bios.