Work Related Spinal Injury – How does it happen?
A spinal fracture occurs when the bones in your spine (vertebrae) collapse or break. This can be as a result of trauma or injury, such as being involved in a car accident or experiencing a bad fall.
Symptoms of a spinal fracture
Symptoms of this type of injury can include sudden onset back pain that can last for longer than a few days. . It is important to tell your doctor about these symptoms so that he or she can examine your back and ask the appropriate questions and subsequently recommend an x-ray or other specific imaging tests if needed.
Spinal fractures are twice as common as hip fractures and are most common in postmenopausal women over the age of 55.
Consequences of Untreated Spinal Fractures
If a spinal fracture is left untreated, the vertebra may heal in a ‘caved in’ or ‘broken’ position. This can lead to an increased forward curvature of the spine, which people refer to as ‘dowager’s hump’ or ‘hunchback. A misaligned spine can also compress the internal organs and lead to health problems that may seem unrelated to the spine including:
- Reduced ability to take care of yourself
- Decreased appetite and sleep disorders
- Chronic back pain and fatigue
- Feelings of isolation and sadness
- Decreased quality of life
- Increased risk for future fracture
- Reduced mobility, loss of balance and increased risk of falls
There are two main surgical treatments designed to repair these particular type of fractures:
- Vertebroplasty – minimally invasive procedure where liquid bone cement is injected into the affected vertebrae to relieve the pain and stabilize the fracture.
- Balloon kyphoplasty – minimally invasive procedure that uses a balloon to lift the vertebrae and create a cavity for bone cement to stabilize the fracture.
Back injury related claims
The back is a complex structure of bone, muscle, tendons and other soft tissue. Unfortunately many back injuries are complicated and serious.
Your first priority if you find yourself in a situation where you have injured your back is to get yourself examined by a medical practitioner. The best option for transport to a hospital is via ambulance as moving when you have hurt your back can increase the damage cause and may reflect on any possible back injury settlement.
A report of the accident should be recorded in an ‘Accident report book’ by either the Gardai, the proprietor of a premises or an employer and you should try to obtain a copy of same. This would accompany a copy of medical notes that would need to be submitted to support a claim.
Seeking the advices of a personal injury solicitor would allow for a claim form to the Injuries Board to be comprehensively completed and submitted in order to maximise the potential amount of compensation you may receive.
A large part of a back injury settlement will comprise of ‘special damages’ on foot of rehabilitation, loss of earnings and ongoing care provision. A solicitor would ensure that additional costs were integrated into a settlement.