A healthy back and spine are critical components of a healthy human body.  The back is perhaps best conceived of as a vast collection of bones, muscles, spinal cord nerves, and related organ infrastructure.  The back is recruited both actively and passively for many applications of the human body.  For example, an injured back will likely cause issues for a desk worker with a career as a software developer in Bethlehem, though these issues may be somewhat less severe than those of a physical laborer with a back injury. Nevertheless, a back injury affects us all.  If you suffered a back injury due to someone else’s fault in a car accident or a fall, you might be entitled to damages as compensation for your injuries. A consultation with our Bethlehem back injury lawyers will shed light on your case and help you decide your next steps.

A mans back being examined by a doctor after a back injury

Common Types of Traumatic Back Injuries

Our Bethlehem back injury lawyers represent accident victims who have suffered all types of back injuries in car accidents, falls, on-the-job accidents, and other types of traumatic accidents. While back injuries can vary in terms of their severity, virtually all back injuries present risks for long-term complications, and the costs of treatment and recovery can far exceed what most ordinary people can afford to pay.

As a result, regardless of your diagnosis, it is important that you speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. At Drake, Hileman & Davis, we help accident victims recover just compensation for all types of back injuries.  Let’s discuss a few of them.  

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is among the most common back injuries suffered in traumatic accidents. Technically, lower back pain is not an “injury” but rather a symptom of some form of damage to the lower back. This could be damage to the soft tissue, nerves, vertebrae or discs in the spinal column.  Bulging or herniated discs are often the culprits of pain following car accidents. 

While some accident victims will find that their lower back pain fades with rest and recovery, for many lower back pain becomes a chronic condition. As a result, the accidents end up impacting all aspects of their lives, and they are forced to live with daily reminders of the trauma they have endured.  The injuries are sometimes chronic, meaning they do not go away, leaving victims to treat with chiropractors or pain management doctors for the rest of their lives.  

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common back injuries that can result from stretching, bending, twisting, or blunt force trauma. All of these can occur in vehicle collisions, falls and other accidents. While many accident victims wait to seek treatment, back sprains and strains are often easily treated, especially if you treat the injury soon after it occurs.  Taking a wait-and-see approach can lead to additional injury that takes longer to heal.  Therefore, it is important that you seek medical attention right away if you are in pain. Signs that you may need treatment for a back sprain or strain after an accident include:

  • Hearing or feeling a “pop” during your accident
  • Experiencing muscle spasms or cramps in your back
  • Experiencing pain that increases when bending, arching or twisting your back
  • Having trouble bending over or standing up straight
  • Having trouble walking

Disc Injuries

The discs in the spine serve as shock absorbers to protect the vertebrae and allow them to move freely. While they have a tough outer layer, this layer can be torn in the event of a traumatic accident. If the tough outer layer of a disc tears, this alone can be a significant injury, but in many cases, it will lead to other complications as well. If the jelly-like center of the disc spills out as a result of the tear (as will often be the case), this can affect the nerves in the spinal cord and the surrounding tissue. This is commonly known as a disc herniation.  Additionally, when a disc tears (or ruptures), this can often cause damage to the vertebrae above and below the damaged disc, causing significant pain both in the back and down the legs.  This is medically referred to as radiculopathy.

Vertebrae Fractures

Vertebrae fractures are serious injuries that can have lifelong consequences. In many cases, surgery will be necessary to stabilize the spine and allow for a maximal recovery. While vertebrae are strong, they are often no match for the forces involved in a serious collision or fall. The Bethlehem back injury lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis have represented thousands of clients who have suffered these catastrophic injuries. In many cases, accident victims who suffer vertebrae fractures will suffer other forms of spinal damage as well.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord runs the length of the spine, from the lower back to the bottom of the brain stem. It is made up of a bundle of nerves and nerve roots that connect to other parts of the body.  The spine and these nerves then control our our ability to move and feel.  Essentially, the spine affects all parts of our body. 

Spinal cord injuries can result from serious accidents in a variety of different ways. For example, blunt force trauma can damage not only the spinal cord, but ruptured discs can also cause nerve damage.  Fractured vertebrae can impinge or sever the nerves in the cord. Regardless of how a spinal cord injury happens, these are almost always high-risk injuries, and many accident victims will experience life-altering effects—including full or partial paralysis.  It is important to find an attorney who has experience in Personal Injury Law, and has helped clients with spinal cord injuries.  Don’t just go to an attorney who writes Wills and dabbles with injury claim.  Go to the attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, who have been handling spinal cord and back injury cases for the last 35 years.    

Understanding the Severity of Back Injuries

Back injuries are common; however, that does not speak to their severity.  Depending on the nature of a back injury, it can have life-changing, damaging effects (i.e., paralysis, pain, insomnia, headaches, weakness, movement issues, and more).  Some victims’ back pain or injury is serious enough that they are no longer able to work or play with their children.  Their careers and their recreational activities can be greatly altered.

Recovering from a back injury is usually not so simple as taking some medicine and “waiting it out.”  Generally speaking, a person who has suffered a serious back injury must undergo more thorough medical treatment.  This can include physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, pain management, and even surgery.

The Location of a Back Injury has a Significant Impact on Its Long-Term Effects

With all types of back injuries, the location of the injury in the back will have a significant impact on its long-term effects. Generally, the higher in the back an injury occurs, the more serious and widespread its effects. This is because damage to the spine typically affects the body below the level of the injury—so the higher the injury, the more of the body that is affected.

Doctors classify back injuries based on the region of the back in which they occur. They then further identify back injuries based on the specific vertebrae at which the injury is located:

  • Cervical Spine Injuries – The cervical region is located at the top of the back, starting at the neck. It consists of seven vertebrae, identified as C1 through C7.
  • Thoracic Spine Injuries – The thoracic region is located below the cervical region and makes up most of the middle back. It consists of twelve vertebrae, identified as T1 through T12.
  • Lumbar Spine Injuries – The lumbar region is located in the lower back, below the thoracic region. It consists of five vertebrae, identified as L1 through L5.
  • Sacral Injuries – The sacral region makes up the base of the spine, and sits between the lumbar region and the tailbone. It also consists of five vertebrae, identified as S1 through S5.

In general, cervical spine injuries (the neck) tend to be the most serious, and have the potential to result in full paralysis when the damage results in loss of function. Having said that, however, there is no such thing as a “minor” back injury. Injuries in all four regions can lead to substantial medical bills, limited or loss of mobility, extended absences from work, significant pain and suffering, and other financial and non-financial losses. This means that all accident victims who suffer spinal injuries should consult with Bethlehem back injury lawyers about their legal rights, and they should work closely with their lawyers to document both the immediate and long-term costs of their injuries. 

Our Bethlehem Back Injury Lawyers Will Fight for Your Compensation

If you have suffered from a back injury from a car accident, a slip and fall or a work injury, compensation may be available.  Depending on the circumstances and the effect of the injury on your life, you may be entitled to recover damages for:

  • Wage loss
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Quality of life deterioration

Hire an experienced attorney to help prove these damages in different ways.  For example, to prove your medical expenses, your attorney will bring forth medical record evidence and billing evidence of your treatment expenses.  To prove your wage loss, your Bethlehem personal injury attorney will bring forth pay stub and scheduling evidence, often working with your employer to gather these documents.  To prove your loss of future earning capacity, your attorney will likely introduce expert witness testimony about your particular industry and how your injury will prevent you from continuing in the same capacity as before the accident.

Let a Bethlehem Back Injury Lawyer Help

If you have suffered a back injury as a result of another’s negligent acts or failures to act, you may be entitled to damages under Pennsylvania law.  Back injuries can be particularly severe and can lead to a variety of neurological, muscular, and other symptoms that interfere with your ability to work and enjoy a reasonable quality of life.  To ensure that your damage claims are taken seriously, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who handles back injury claims.

The Bethlehem back injury lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, have been litigating personal injury claims and premises liability claims for over 35 years, representing clients who have suffered a wide range of injuries, including back injuries.  To schedule a free consultation with one of the attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, call 888-777-7098 today.  We are ready to help you.