A back injury can have serious consequences. While many Americans experience some degree of back pain on a regular basis, a back injury can hinder your ability to perform even the most basic tasks without pain.
Moreover, back injuries are often difficult to treat. The nerves, discs, tendons, and even the vertebrae in the spinal cord might be impacted. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be required. You could even suffer long-term chronic pain.
What are the Common Types of Back Injuries?
Back injuries can take on a number of different forms. Some are highly treatable and cause minimal disruption to your daily life. However, even minor back injuries can come back to haunt you later in life—even once you’ve “healed” from the original impact of your accident.
Reports from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) show that complaints of back pain are the third-most common reason why Americans visit the doctor’s office.
Some of the most common types of back injuries include:
Sprains and Strains
Sprains, strains, and soft tissue damage can be extremely painful. While these injuries may seem unremarkable, they can lead to back spasms, cramps, and intense pain that can interfere with your ability to work and enjoy activities.
Generally, strains and sprains happen when a ligament or muscle is overextended. The muscle becomes inflamed and painful. Victims of back sprains and strains often experience limited mobility.
Herniated or Ruptured Discs
Tears or rips in the spinal discs can cause the disc to leak, creating pressure on nearby nerves in the spine. Discs can also cause back problems when they slip out of place.
Disc injuries in the back can be extremely painful. They can also cause numbness and loss of sensation.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Damage to the spinal cord can be devastating. Fractures or dislocation of the spine can lead to permanent paralysis. Broken vertebrae can also damage the surrounding nerves.
Spinal cord injuries can limit mobility, sensation, and strength. The most serious spinal cord injuries can even cause permanent paralysis.
How Common are Back Injuries?
Back injuries are one of the most common causes of disability in the U.S. In fact, about 16% of adult Americans experience persistent or chronic back pain that limits their abilities to partake in daily activities.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Back Injuries?
Most back injury victims experience some level of pain from day one. However, there are a number of additional symptoms that could indicate you’ve suffered a back injury.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of back injuries include:
- A popping or snapping sound at the time of the accident
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Difficulty standing, walking, or bending over
- Difficulty breathing
- Blood in the urine
- Pain that radiates down one or both legs
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Bruising or swelling
- Numbness in your legs or feet
Some back pain will resolve on its own with rest at home. The following symptoms indicate that you should see a doctor immediately:
- Pain that persists more than a few weeks
- Pain that doesn’t improve with rest
- Pain that spreads down one or both legs
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs
- Pain accompanied by unexplained weight loss
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Back pain after some type of trauma, such as an accident
If you notice any signs of a back injury, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Delayed treatment can cause the condition to worsen and limit available treatment options.
What are the Long-Term Consequences of Back Injuries?
About 80% of all people who suffer back injuries are able to return to work within a few weeks. However, some back injuries can have serious long-term consequences.
Even with treatment, some people with back injuries suffer from:
- Changes to the curvature of the spine
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Chronic pain
- Inability to participate in activities
- Loss of balance
- Mental health problems, including anxiety and depression
- Increased medication use
- Wrongful death
Back injuries can be difficult to treat, even if they’re caught right away. If you suffered a back injury in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
What Causes Most Back Injuries?
Some people simply have a greater risk of suffering from back pain. Posture, age, and conditions like osteoporosis may make you more likely to suffer a back injury.
Accidents or heavy lifting at work can magnify the impact of these conditions and cause a back injury to become a real problem.
Common sources of back injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Sports accidents
- Recreation accidents
- Uber or Lyft accidents
- Boating accidents
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Dog bites
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Assault and violence
- Slip and fall accidents caused by a property owner’s negligent maintenance
In reality, any accident that impacts the back can cause a serious back injury.
What Compensation Can an Accident Victim Recover for a Back Injury?
Back injuries can cause a lot of suffering over the long run. Thankfully, an injury victim can recover compensation for such injuries.
Damages are divided into two primary categories under personal injury law: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are financial losses. They offer compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Physical therapy
- Medications and medical devices
- In-home assistance
- Property damage
Non-economic damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Anxiety, depression or PTSD
- Loss of your ability to enjoy life’s activities
- Loss of consortium
Non-economic damages are a bit harder to put a price tag on–but they can be a large part of your overall settlement.
Florida’s shared fault rules can also impact the value of your claim. Victims can recover compensation even if they’re partly responsible for getting hurt. However, a court could reduce their settlement under comparative fault laws in the state of Florida.
How Long Do I Have to File a Back Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
The statute of limitations is a deadline that limits the amount of time an injury victim has to sue for damages. Florida law gives accident victims four years to file a personal injury lawsuit in most cases.
However, you could have more or less time, depending upon the circumstances of the accident.
Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Have you sustained a back injury in Tampa? If you were hurt because someone else was negligent, you could be entitled to compensation. Our Tampa personal injury lawyers can help you take legal action today.
At Catania & Catania, P.A., our team has over 28 years of experience protecting injured parties and their families. In that time, we’ve recovered over $500 million in compensation to hold careless parties accountable.