Back and neck injuries usually fall under the category of soft tissue injuries, which include contusions, lacerations, sprains, strains, and repetitive strain injuries like tendinitis. In contrast to fractures and broken bones, most soft tissue back and neck injuries usually resolve themselves with time—often after completing physical therapy regimens or other types of conservative medical treatments. Common examples of soft tissue injuries include muscular sprains, strains, and whiplash injuries caused when a person’s body is abruptly thrown forward and backward inside a motor vehicle during a collision.
Unfortunately, while the majority of soft tissue back and neck injuries do not require surgeries, some do. In fact, long-term complications after a soft tissue injury are not uncommon. When complications arise, injured accident victims may find themselves struggling with long-term disability, pain, and suffering. It can make it difficult to work, enjoy your active lifestyle, and even maintain relationships.
If you or someone you love suffers soft tissue injuries sustained in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, Florida law may entitle you to monetary compensation. The Florida back and neck injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can investigate the facts and circumstances of your case—including your medical treatment—and can represent you during settlement negotiations or, if necessary, in court.
Finding the Best Florida Injury Attorney Near You
Choosing the right Florida injury attorney near you is not easy. Florida contains many lawyers. Yet, finding the right lawyer for your case is a personal decision. After all, the best attorney for you may not be the one that your co-worker recommends. When choosing the right attorney for you, here are some things to consider:
- How many soft tissue injury cases like yours have they litigated?
- Are they familiar with your type of back or neck injury and accident?
- Are they seasoned and experienced litigators, as well as negotiators?
- What type of fees do they charge?
- Do they have time for you and your case?
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we want to be the first—and only—call you ever need to make. We know that you have questions and concerns after your accident. That is why we offer FREE initial consultations to all injured clients. We want to meet with you and learn more about your injuries and how they affect your life. We will then offer you honest feedback you can trust, so you can choose the legal pathway that is best for you.
We have offices all across Florida, which enables us to be there for you no matter where you live. While we deliver big law firm results, our clients are often impressed with how personalized our attention truly is. We strive to make every client feel like they are our number one priority, and it shows.
Please call us at (866) 790-6557 or contact us online today to begin exploring all your legal options. We are ready to help you through this difficult time and will work tirelessly to protect you and your future every step of the way.
Sustaining Soft Tissue Injuries
Many types of incidents can result in sprains, strains, or tears of the soft tissue in your neck or back. Common injuries include:
Whiplash – Whiplash injuries are soft tissue injuries to the neck (that is, the cervical spine) or upper back. Whiplash occurs when a person’s neck and upper back are thrust forward and then immediately backward, or vice-versa, as in a classic rear-end car accident. Whiplash injuries sustained in car accidents often happen with additional back injuries and head injuries (such as when the accident victim’s head strikes the steering wheel or headrest).
Back injuries – A person may sustain back injuries to the cervical (upper), thoracic (mid), or lumbar (lower) spine. If you experience back pain or symptoms following an accident, immediately seek follow-up care at a hospital or urgent care facility, at which time you may undergo an X-ray or MRI to determine whether you suffered any fractures.
A person may sustain a soft tissue back or neck injury in many ways, but most often in the context of a motor vehicle accident. Rear-end collisions are especially common causes of these injuries, which makes sense when considering the abruptness and forcefulness of being struck from behind when sitting in a vehicle.
These collisions typically occur when someone is driving carelessly or negligently, such as by texting or making phone calls while driving, listening to loud or distracting music while driving, roughhousing with others in the car while behind the wheel, or violating Florida traffic laws and other Florida rules of the road.
When a person operates a motor vehicle in a distracted or negligent manner, that person is more likely to cause a rear-end accident—and to cause the driver and passengers of the other vehicle to sustain soft tissue back and neck injuries.
Other Causes of Neck and Back Injuries
While neck and back injuries often arise from motor vehicle accidents, they can have many other legally actionable causes. Therefore, if you have sustained a neck or back injury in an accident or because of your work, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Other than traffic accidents, common causes of back injuries include:
Slip and fall accidents
Property owners must keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition at all times for the benefit of their business invitees or social guests. Specifically, they must warn about or correct known dangerous hazards on their properties within a reasonable amount of time. In the case of business premises, they may need to inspect their properties for previously unknown dangerous conditions and warn about or correct those conditions.
Slip and fall accidents—which can happen both indoors or outdoors—typically occur when a property owner fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner. When a person slips and falls, they could land directly on the neck or back, resulting in serious injuries. The extent of the fall typically affects the extent of the injury or injuries sustained. While some slip and fall injuries can result in relatively minor soft tissue back injuries, others could leave the accident victim with paralysis or in a wheelchair.
Falls from heights
Construction workers and other individuals who work on tall equipment or atop scaffolding and ladders run the risk of falling. When a worker or other individual falls from a high place, they could suffer a serious neck or back injury—especially if the person lands on their back. Potential back injuries under these circumstances include fractures, broken bones, paralysis, and soft tissue injuries. The nature and extent of the back injuries that the person suffers depend largely upon the fall distance and the degree of force with which the person’s back strikes the ground.
When a worker suffers a back injury in a fall from a high place, the worker might assert a workers’ compensation claim against their employer for an injury sustained in the course of employment. In addition—or in the alternative—to a workers’ compensation claim, the person might assert a third-party claim for negligence against the manufacturer of the equipment, scaffolding, or ladder, alleging that the equipment was defective in some way and caused the fall.
Health care providers owe their patients the highest duty of care. Specifically, they must provide safe medical care and perform all medical procedures in a reasonable manner under the circumstances. Doctors who have a specialty area of care, such as orthopedists, are often held to a national standard of care.
When a doctor provides medical care that leads to a back injury or performs a back procedure negligently and the patient sustains preventable injuries, the patient might be in a position to file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and/or the facility where the patient received the medical treatment in question. However, if you are planning on asserting a medical malpractice claim against a health care provider, there is a notice requirement that is in place you must meet before actually filing a lawsuit against the health care provider.
Inadequate training or supervision during sports
Sporting events that involve young people, including both games and practice sessions, must include proper supervision, and organizations must provide players with the proper training and equipment to participate safely. Coaches must also identify when a player might need medical attention for a potential injury and allow them a medical examination.
When a player suffers a neck or back injury in a sporting event because of negligence on the part of a trainer, coach, or some other individual, then the child’s parent could bring a claim or lawsuit against the responsible person, school, or facility.
Defective exercise equipment
Companies that manufacture and design exercise equipment have a duty to the public to ensure that all equipment is made properly and tested before they sell the equipment to the public for purchase. When exercise equipment, such as weightlifting machines, Stair Masters, and treadmills, have defective designs, the person using the equipment could fall to the ground and suffer a serious injury to their neck or back. When that happens, the accident victim could bring a defective product claim against the exercise equipment manufacturer, designer, or someone else who is in the chain of product distribution.
Poorly designed workplace furniture or work equipment
Just as with exercise equipment, the manufacturers of work equipment and workplace furniture should always ensure that their products have careful and safe design and construction. Common pieces of workplace furniture that might lead to injuries include desks or standing desks, tables, and chairs.
When these products do not have safe construction or design, they can break or malfunction, causing the worker to fall to the ground and suffer a neck or back injury. If an accident victim can prove it they suffered the neck/back injury because of poorly manufactured or designed workplace furniture or equipment (often through expert testimony), the injured worker could bring a negligence claim against the product manufacturer or designer.
Pool or hot tub accidents
Manufacturers and designers of hot tubs and swim spas are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe for use and they will not create a slip hazard for users. When hot tub hazards exist, users can slip and fall in the hot tub, often sustaining a neck or back injury in the process. In addition to a potential claim against the manufacturer or designer of the hot tub, an injured accident victim might also have a claim against the owner of the hot tub.
Hot tub owners have a duty to ensure that they properly maintain and clean hot tubs regularly. When hot tub owners fail to do so, fall hazards may exist that could lead to a patron or premises visitor suffering a serious neck or back injury.
Proving Soft Tissue Back and Neck Injuries in Florida
Proving the existence of soft tissue back and neck injuries is sometimes difficult since the injuries are not always observable on imaging studies like MRIs or X-rays. Insurance companies vigorously defend these soft tissue back and neck cases and try to blame the accident victim’s pain and symptoms on prior injuries, preexisting medical conditions, and degenerative conditions rather than on the accident.
Over-Treating Soft Tissue Injuries
Although soft tissue injuries can hurt, treat them consistently—and do not over-treat your injuries. Contrary to what you may think, over-treating soft tissue back and neck injuries will not increase the compensation you might expect from your neck or back injury case. Rather, it is more likely to decrease the value of your case.
In terms of consistency, refrain from long gaps in your medical treatment as much as possible, and follow up with a primary care doctor or family doctor at least once. Finally, never discharge yourself from a medical or physical therapy facility.
Damages Available in Florida Soft Tissue Back and Neck Injury Cases
If you can prove that someone else caused the accident that led to your soft tissue back and neck injuries, you may recover monetary compensation in your case. Florida law may entitle accident victims who sustain soft tissue injuries because of someone else’s negligence to:
Payment of all causally related medical bills
Back injuries typically require a significant amount of medical treatment, including hospital visits, doctor consultations, physical therapy, and surgical procedures, to correct. As part of an injury settlement, arbitration award, or jury verdict in your back injury case, you could recover compensation for all of these expenses. This is true even if you had health insurance in place that paid for some or all of your medical care and treatment.
Moreover, if a health care provider predicts that you will need to undergo a medical procedure on your neck or back in the future—such as back surgery or back injections—you might recover those anticipated costs as part of any damages award you receive.
Lost wage compensation
Back injuries are often so intense that they require accident victims to miss a significant amount of time away from work. This is especially true if the accident victim’s job requires a lot of manual labor, such as in the construction industry. When a health care provider authorizes a worker to miss time from work to treat for a back injury, the worker might be entitled to recover lost wage compensation. Lost wage damages may still be available if the worker’s job allows for sick days or a period of sick leave.
Compensation for lost earning capacity or for the inability to work at the same job
Some workers’ back injuries are so severe that the worker can no longer work at the same job or in the same capacity. For example, if the injured accident victim is a construction worker who suffers a back injury while they are on the job, the accident victim cannot work in the construction industry ever again due to their injuries. As part of a loss of earning capacity claim, the injured worker might obtain compensation for having to take a job with a lower salary or for seeking additional training to obtain a totally new job.
Compensation for pain and suffering
In addition to pursuing and obtaining monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs, back injury victims often have to endure a significant amount of pain and suffering along with their medical treatment. Although there is no exact formula for figuring out the amount to award an accident victim for physical and mental pain and suffering, the award typically depends upon the nature and extent of the neck/back injury, the extent of the treatment the accident victim had to endure, and the extent of the limitations that the accident victim has had to face due to the injury.
Compensation for loss of ability to function
Severe neck and back injuries can also place significant restrictions on an accident victim’s ability to function. This is especially true if the accident results in some type of full or partial paralysis that limits the accident victim’s ability to feel or move. To a lesser extent, some back injuries can prevent accident victims from playing sports, exercise, and engage in other activities that they could regularly engage in before the accident and their neck or back injury. When that is the case, the accident victim might be eligible to assert a loss of use claim or a claim for loss of ability to function.
Payment of related psychological or psychiatric treatment bills
In addition to the physical pain, suffering, and inconvenience that often comes with a neck or back injury, there can be serious psychological effects as well. In many cases, back injuries that prevent a person from working or engaging in social activities can lead to depression, emotional anguish, and mental distress—often resulting in the need for counseling treatment with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If a mental health provider causally connects a psychological or psychiatric condition to a neck or back injury sustained in an accident, then the accident victim could pursue monetary compensation and damages for that treatment. However, when an accident victim alleges emotional distress or mental anguish stemming from a physical injury, they open the door to a defense attorney exploring other potential causes for those issues, including possible drug or alcohol addiction and family circumstances.
Compensation for loss of spousal companionship
Some neck and back injuries can limit a person’s ability to perform sexually or to be intimate with a spouse. When that is the case, the injury victim could bring a claim for loss of spousal companionship or consortium. However, it is important to keep in mind that these types of claims can be difficult to support and prove.
Filing Insurance Claims and Lawsuits for Neck and Back Injuries
If you suffered a neck or back injury in an accident that happened due to someone else’s negligence, you might be in a position to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the person or entity who was at fault. For example, if you suffered your neck/back injury in a slip and fall accident that occurred on someone else’s premises, you might assert a claim against the premises owner.
For an insurance claim for a neck or back injury to succeed, you must satisfy the legal elements of your claim. For example, you must show that the at-fault person owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty, and that an accident occurred in which you suffered a neck or back injury. As the plaintiff in a back or neck injury case, you have the burden of proving all of the legal elements of your claim.
If you prove these legal elements, you might be eligible to receive monetary compensation, in the form of damages, for your neck or back injury. The process of pursuing this monetary compensation typically begins by filing a claim with the insurance company for the at-fault party. You should keep in mind, however, that insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out monetary compensation as part of a claim. After all, insurance companies make their money by retaining premiums paid by their insureds—not by paying out injury claims.
If the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to offer you full and fair compensation for your neck and back injuries, you could file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Just because you file a lawsuit, however, does not mean that your case will automatically go to court. In fact, most neck and back injury cases settle outside of court at some point.
However, if your case does have to go to court, you can rest assured that the Florida back and neck injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, will zealously advocate for you and your legal interests. We will work to help you obtain the best possible compensation award in your injury case.
Contact a Florida Back and Neck Injury Attorney Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you sustained soft tissue back or neck injuries in a car or truck accident that another individual caused, you may recover monetary compensation under Florida law. Insurance companies and their adjusters always look for ways to limit their liabilities in soft tissue injury cases.
Moreover, insurance companies are never on your side in a personal injury case, and adjusters will pick up on any significant gaps in your medical treatment, inconsistencies in your medical or physical therapy records, previous accidents or injuries, and degenerative changes on imaging studies, such as X-rays and MRIs.
The experienced Florida back and neck injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can advocate for you throughout your entire case, including in settlement negotiations, during alternative dispute resolution proceedings, or if necessary, at trial. A knowledgeable lawyer by your side can go a long way when it comes to maximizing the compensation you receive in your soft tissue injury case.
The Florida personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, are ready and willing to represent you and can meet to answer all of your legal questions. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Florida back and neck injury attorney, please call us at (866) 790-6557 or contact us online today.