Back injuries are among the most reported injury types in California. Every day, California residents suffer back injuries due to various causes, from workplace accidents to car crashes and even interpersonal violence. Perhaps it’s no surprise that back injuries are also a leading cause of personal injury claims, workers’ compensation claims, and missed days of work throughout the United States. If you or a loved one recently suffered a back injury due to another party’s actions, an experienced attorney is your best resource to determine how you can recover financially.

When it comes to the most common back injuries, any of the following injuries can potentially lead to expensive immediate medical costs as well as long-term damages. As such, it is vital for any back injury victim in California to carefully consider how their back injury occurred, whether any other party bears fault for causing it, and the full scope of the damages they have incurred as a result.

Disc-Related Injuries

The human spine is a series of 33 vertebral bones separated by cartilaginous discs. These rubbery discs are donut-like in their construction, with firm exteriors surrounding softer interiors. A herniated disc occurs when the soft interior pushes through a crack in the internal wall of the hard exterior. This can be incredibly painful, as it causes inflammation in the nerves around the disc. Symptoms of a herniated disc include pain in the extremities, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. While some herniated discs do not require surgical correction, severely herniated discs may benefit from surgical procedures. Unfortunately, these procedures are very risky.

Bulging and herniated discs commonly cause extensive long-term pain and discomfort to those who experience them. It’s possible for these injuries to occur due to acute causes like workplace injuries, but they most commonly manifest from repetitive stress. For example, if your job requires you to lift and carry heavy objects on a regular basis, the repeated motion can strain the discs in your back. Depending on how this condition manifests, you may have grounds for a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim.

Sprains and Strains

The muscles of the back are just as susceptible to soft tissue injuries as the rest of body. These injuries are likely to occur with repetitive stressful motions and acute causes like traumatic accidents. A sprain or muscle strain should eventually heal with rest and appropriate treatment, but they are still very painful injuries that can cause months or even years of misery. Additionally, after a strain or sprain heals, the affected area is more susceptible to future strains and sprains.

Most sprains and strains require immediate rest, and the victim may require pain medication and assistance with everyday tasks until their back injury heals completely. Pain may increase with certain movements, and they may have trouble with their range of motion while they recover. For this reason, sprains and strains can prevent a worker from returning to their job for some time after the initial injury.

Vertebral Fractures

The 33 bones of the spinal column are just as vulnerable to bone fractures as the rest of the skeletal system. Unfortunately, fractured vertebrae can pose the threat of a host of unique medical complications to the victim. For example, some spinal fractures cause small splinters of bone to damage the spinal cord, potentially resulting in catastrophic nerve damage.

Spinal fractures are also exceedingly difficult to treat, often requiring surgical correction, ongoing rehabilitation, or even the use of a body cast to keep the spine rigid in place while the bone heals. Some spinal fractures can even cause the victim to be a bit shorter after they heal. These injuries often result in chronic pain.

Spinal Cord Damage

The spinal cord is a thick bundle of long nerves that extend from the brain down through the center of the bones and discs of the spinal column. These nerves branch at various places and extend into every area of the body, allowing the brain to control conscious and unconscious bodily movements and functions. The spinal cord allows for active control over the human body and is thus arguably the most important physical component of the human body. Unfortunately, the spinal cord lacks the ability to self-repair experienced by the rest of the body. Any spinal cord injury a person suffers is permanent and likely to cause incredibly debilitating effects.

There are two general types of spinal cord injuries a person might experience: complete injuries and incomplete injuries. With an incomplete injury, the spinal cord is left mostly intact, and the victim will likely retain some level of control and sensation over the parts of the body connected at or below the injury site. Complete injuries sever the spinal cord, completely cutting off brain signals at and below the injury site. Complete injuries render a person unable to feel or control the affected region of the body.

What are common back injuries?

Spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis, leaving the victim physically impaired and psychologically affected. It’s also likely that paralysis will prevent the victim from working or living independently for the rest of their life. As a result, these injuries are some of the most severe injuries anyone can suffer. If you or a loved one recently experienced this type of back injury due to another party’s actions you need to know your legal options for holding the at-fault party accountable for your losses.

Taking Legal Action for a Back Injury

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is one of the most important steps toward recovery after you suffer a back injury caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional misconduct. English, Lloyd & Armenta have years of experience providing comprehensive personal injury representation to clients throughout the Coachella Valley area of California. We can leverage this professional experience and pursue a positive outcome for your back injury claim. If you are ready to take legal action in response to a back injury, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a compassionate and trustworthy personal injury attorney.