More than a million people in the U.S. sustain some kind of back injury every year. If another person’s negligence is the reason your back has been injured, you may qualify for compensation, and you should discuss your rights promptly with a Chicago personal injury attorney.
What are your legal rights if your back has been injured because someone else was careless? What do you have to prove in order to receive compensation? How can a personal injury attorney help? If you’ll keep reading, you’ll learn more about back injuries – and more about your rights.
What Are the Leading Causes of Back Injuries?
All kinds of accidents could involve a sudden blow to the back or cause your back to wrench, turn, or twist, but the leading causes of back injuries in the United States are:
1. traffic collisions including car, bus, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
2. falls including slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents and falls at construction sites
3. sports accidents
4. violent crimes that involve physical assaults or attacks, with or without weapons
What Are the Most Common Back Injuries?
Back injuries frequently happen in head-on and rear-end traffic accidents that throw the body backward or forward.
Back injuries may generate constant pain, and many back injuries never seem to heal properly. Some of the more common types of back injuries include:
1. Back strains: Back strains happen when pressure, impact, or blunt force damages the soft tissues in tendons and muscles and causes those tissues to stretch unnaturally. Pain and trouble with mobility can be quite persistent after a back strain.
2. Back sprains: Back sprains also cause damage to some of the back’s soft tissues, but usually with a sprain, ligaments are injured rather than tendons or muscles.
3. Herniated disc: A herniated disk is a problem with a disc located between the spinal vertebrae. Too much pressure or force can rupture or break these discs. If a disc bulges, it may press on the nerve roots along the spine, resulting in pain or numbness.
4. Compression fractures: These fractures are cracks or breaks in the vertebrae that may cause persistent pain, shortness of breath, or even permanent spinal cord damage.
5. Spinal fractures: These fractures occur in the thoracic spine (midback) and lumbar spine (lower back) or where the thoracic and lumbar spines meet (the thoracolumbar junction). The proper treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture.
You can suffer a serious back injury without sustaining a spinal cord injury if the vertebrae – the bones around the spinal cord – are injured but the spinal cord itself is not. The vertebrae are the thirty-three bones that comprise the spinal column.
Can You Prove That an Accident Caused Your Injury?
After any type of accident, seek medical attention immediately. It’s important to get a full medical examination as quickly as possible in case you’ve sustained an injury that is latent or difficult-to-detect.
If another person’s negligence caused the accident where you sustained a back injury, you must be examined at once by a medical professional. You’ll need the medical records to file a personal injury claim and to prove you were injured in that accident and not in some other way.
For many back injury victims, their treatment and pain management needs will be long-term or even permanent. Back injury treatment may include surgery (and sometimes multiple surgeries) physical therapy, and several different prescription pain medications.
What Compensation Can Injury Victims Receive?
It’s only fair that someone who is responsible for injuring you should pay for all of your medical expenses, and that’s what Illinois law provides. You may also receive compensation for:
1. lost wages if a back injury requires you to miss work, and projected lost wages if you are temporarily or permanently unable to work (or forced into a lower-paying position)
2. pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by the accident and/or injury
After many back injuries, a full recovery just isn’t possible, and a back injury victim may be left to deal with soaring medical expenses and a loss of income as well as ongoing physical pain and emotional distress.
How Will an Attorney Help You?
But if an individual, a business, or even a government agency was in any way responsible for the accident that caused your back injury, an Illinois personal injury lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim against that party to seek compensation for your losses.
Injured victims of negligence are entitled by law to compensation, but compensation isn’t simply handed to them. You’ll have to prove that you were injured because someone else was negligent, and you’ll need a personal injury lawyer’s help.
How Are Personal Injury Cases Resolved?
When you file a personal injury claim arising from a back injury, in most cases, the negligent party’s insurance company and your injury attorney will negotiate a settlement amount based on the projected costs of your future surgeries, therapies, prescriptions, and other required treatment.
Most personal injury claims are settled in out-of-court negotiations, but if an acceptable settlement amount isn’t offered, your attorney will take your claim to court and fight aggressively for the full compensation amount that you need and deserve after a back injury.
Can You Afford an Attorney? (The Answer is Yes)
A Chicago accident attorney serves back injury victims on a contingent fee basis. If your attorney is unable to negotiate a settlement or to win a jury verdict on your behalf for any reason, you will pay no attorney’s fee. The first legal consultation is provided without cost or obligation.
If you and your injury attorney agree to proceed with a back injury claim, your attorney will fully investigate how and why you were injured, identify the party or parties who are liable, and develop an effective strategy for obtaining the compensation that you are entitled to.
When Should You Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer?
The statute of limitations in Illinois for a personal injury claim is two years, and for most claims, that two-year period starts on the day you were injured. However, the sooner your case is in the hands of the right Chicago personal injury attorney, the more likely it is that you will prevail.
If you’ve sustained a back injury because someone else was negligent, take advantage of the free first legal consultation. Your attorney will explain your rights and options and will discuss how the law applies in your own case. You’ll get the precise and personalized legal advice you need.