The back is one of the most complicated parts of the body, made up of muscles, bones, joints, nerves, and other tissues. If you were in a catastrophic accident, then a back injury can cause intense pain and potentially render you immobile. To recover, you’ll need the responsible party to pay for medical expenses and rehabilitation, and to replace lost wages. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we help back injury victims fight back and get the compensation they deserve.
Common Back Injuries
Because of your back’s complexity, any number of things can go wrong with it. But people involved in slips and falls or automobile accidents tend to suffer the following injuries:
- Sprains. You get sprains when you stretch or tear a ligament, which is tissue that connects bones and holds joints together.
- Strains. When muscles or tendons stretch or tear, you can end up with a strain.
- Herniated disks. In between your spine’s vertebrae are jelly-like disks that cushion the vertebrae. When you injure your back, these disks can rupture.
- Spinal fractures. Your vertebrae can fracture in several places under a sudden blow. Some fractures cause the vertebra to collapse onto the vertebrae below, but other impacts will shatter the vertebrae.
These injuries not only cause intense pain, but they can also keep you from getting up and walking around. As a result, you might need to take time off from work and could even end up withdrawing from family and friends. Victims report sleeping difficult, which can cause depression, loneliness, and anxiety.
How to Treat Back Injuries
If you were in an accident, you might begin feeling pain in your back immediately—or after a few days. Contact a doctor as soon as possible to check out your back. Some back injuries develop slowly, and it might take days after an accident before you feel the first signs of pain. At the hospital, a doctor will rely on visual examinations and imaging tests to properly diagnose you.
Treatments for back injuries depend on the severity and type of injury. For example, a strain might only require regular icing and bed rest. However, more severe injuries often require surgery to repair them. Spinal fractures, in particular, typically require surgeries to restore your spine’s alignment and increase its stability. Severe injuries also regularly require rehabilitation to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.
Ideally, your back pain will go away after a few months of rest and pain management. But when pain lasts for more than six months, it can become chronic—and something you will need to learn to live with going forward.
Documenting Your Back Injury
To win a lawsuit, you need evidence that you suffered an injury, so prioritize collecting evidence. After meeting with your doctor, hold onto copies of all medical records, which you can stuff into a giant envelope. Also, keep a list of drugs your doctor prescribes you for pain management. Your lawyer will rely on these records to show the severity of your back injury.
Accident victims can also receive compensation to replace lost wages, so keep careful records of what days you miss from work and how much money you normally make. Your personal injury lawyer will want to see pay stubs or proof of self-employment income, such as a profit-and-loss statement or invoices submitted to clients.
Recording Your Pain and Suffering
In Florida, you can also receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering. Unlike being reimbursed for medical bills, it’s hard to put a precise number how much money will compensate you for pain and mental anguish. It’s also tricky to convince a jury that you aren’t blowing things out of proportional but are actually in real distress.
To help your case, you should probably keep a pain journal. Every day you can write down where you feel pain and its severity. You should also record how your back pain has disrupted your life. For example, your back pain might keep you from sleeping more than three or four hours each night, which in turn makes you depressed or irritable. Your back pain can also make bathing or cleaning up after yourself more difficult, which might cause you to withdraw from friends.
Don’t forget to record your mental anguish as well. Back injuries often disrupt victims’ daily lives, depriving them of the ability to pursue their hobbies and spend time with their families. Many victims can recover financial compensation for this emotional pain, so you should include that information in your pain journal as well.
Following Your Doctor’s Orders
However severe your back injury, you absolutely must follow your doctor’s orders for recovery. For example, if your doctor tells you to stay in bed for two weeks, you should do everything possible to stay off your feet. If you don’t, then the party at fault can claim you made things worse by not taking care of yourself, which can reduce the amount of money you receive.
Of course, everyone’s lives are complicated. You might live alone and need to get out of bed to buy groceries or medicine. One advantage of meeting with a personal injury lawyer early on is that your attorney can come up with strategies for taking care of yourself. For example, you might switch your prescriptions to a pharmacy that makes home deliveries, or you might order groceries from a store that drops them off at your doorstep. In any event, you must follow your doctor’s orders as closely as possible to make your case as strong as possible.
Call a Clearwater, Florida, Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Accident victims often feel a lot of stress—they are in pain, they can’t work, and they are scared of mounting medical bills. You are not alone. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we help accident victims get the compensation they deserve so that they can put their lives back together. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation by filling out our online contact form or calling (727) 451-6900. All consultations are confidential.