Neck & Spine Injury
Your neck and spine work together to support critical daily functions, so damage to either can be severe and even life-threatening.
A traumatic event or prolonged repetitive stress can cause workplace neck and spine injuries. Missing wages, recovery challenges, and fear of unemployment make injuries even more stressful. Whether your injury is minor or severe, you have a right to medical care through workers’ compensation, followed by ongoing treatments and therapy.
Learn more about the causes and common types of neck and spine injuries and how our lawyers can help maximize your recovery.
Understanding Neck & Spine Injuries
Your neck has seven cervical vertebrae, separated by soft cushioning discs. The delicate vertebrae surround and protect the spinal cord, which houses the nerves that send signals from your brain to the rest of your body. Since your neck is responsible for a wide range of motion, an injury can cause pain to your head, shoulders, upper back, and arms.
Some neck injuries are less severe, with side effects including discomfort and temporary pain, while others can cause paralysis or even death.
Common neck injuries include:
- Tension Neck Syndrome. Tension Neck Syndrome can cause pain and discomfort after prolonged stress or poor posture.
- Whiplash. While whiplash most frequently occurs in motor vehicle accidents, it can also happen in the workplace. Whiplash involves a rapid back-and-forth neck movement, causing muscle and ligament strain. It’s common in situations with a risk of sudden acceleration or deceleration.
- Strains and Sprains. Poor ergonomics (like the wrong chair or desk height), overuse, and sudden movements can lead to neck sprains or strains.
- Pinched Nerve. Caused by repetitive motions or awkward neck positions, a pinched nerve can lead to pain, numbness, or tingling in the neck and the arms.
- Herniated Disc. A herniated disc occurs when the cushioning between the vertebrae ruptures, putting pressure on the nerves. Jobs that involve heavy lifting, repetitive movements, or poor posture are more susceptible to herniated discs in the neck.
- Cervical Radiculopathy. Cervical Radiculopathy is the compression or irritation of the nerve roots in the cervical spine. Caused by conditions like herniated discs or degenerative changes, cervical radiculopathy can result in pain, numbness, and weakness.
- Neck Fractures or Broken Neck. Broken and fractured necks are serious and require immediate medical attention. Workplace accidents like falls can result in neck fractures or broken necks.
The spine houses and supports the central nervous system, which is responsible for most necessary functions. Your spine helps your brain send signals to the rest of your body, so injury to the spine can be devastating, long-lasting, and irreparable.
Common spine injuries include:
- Paraplegia. Paraplegia is the loss of sensation and function of the lower extremities. People with paraplegia must use a wheelchair for the rest of their lives, making routine tasks difficult. Paralysis severity can vary from patient to patient, but generally, the higher up the injury affects the spine, the more serious it is.
- Quadriplegia. Also known as tetraplegia, quadriplegia refers to the total loss of sensation and function of the extremities and other parts of the body below the neck. If the injury affects vertebrae that are close to the base of the skull, it may affect a person’s ability to breathe, which means that the victim will need the assistance of a ventilator for the rest of their life.
- Herniated/Ruptured Discs. Between each vertebrae is a spongy disc that helps cushion the space between each bone and absorb shock. When a disc is ruptured, it bulges out of place, causing severe pain and tenderness in the back. Herniated disc injuries are common in the lower back because it supports the most weight.
- Serious Individual Vertebrae Injury. Breaks or fractures to the individual vertebrae can be quite severe. Even a hairline fracture of a vertebrae can seriously impact your mobility and ability to accomplish simple tasks around the home.
- Muscle, Ligament, and Nerve Injuries. Injury to the soft tissues of the back can also be quite severe. Pinched nerves, pulled or strained muscles, and torn ligaments can make basic movements painful and your work duties nearly impossible.
Causes of Neck & Spine Injuries
There are several causes for neck injuries. While age, stress, and overuse are common reasons for vertebrae damage, neck injuries may also stem from preventable workplace accidents, including:
There are many different ways in which spinal cord injuries can occur. Some of the common causes of these injuries include:
- Lifting heavy loads
- Falls from ladders or ledges
- Work vehicle collisions
- Equipment problems
- Repetitive motion injury
Recovery for Neck & Spine Injuries
Recovery from neck and spine injuries ranges depending on severity, accountable parties, and complications. An experienced lawyer can help you maximize compensation.
Damages awarded typically include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Ongoing pain and suffering
Who is Responsible for Neck & Spine Injuries?
If your neck or spine injury occurred at work, someone may be at fault. In severe cases of neck and spine injuries like paraplegia or quadriplegia, appropriate compensation is extremely important because victims will most likely need support for the rest of their lives. An experienced work injury lawyer can help prove negligence in cases where it is present and help you receive total compensation for your injury.
No one may be at fault if your injury is stress or strain-related due to repetitive tasks. However, you can still receive workers’ compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you with paperwork to obtain maximum compensation.
How We Can Help
If you or a loved one has experienced complications from a work-related neck or spine injury, Golitko & Daly can help. Our experienced lawyers fight for the compensation you deserve and hold the responsible parties accountable.
To schedule a free consultation, call us at 317-566-9600 (Indianapolis), 765-865-9300 (Bloomington), or 812-566-2600 (Kokomo), or complete our online inquiry form to schedule an appointment* with one of our work injury attorneys who will review your case.