Workplace injuries can be catastrophic to the life of any worker, especially when it is severe. One of the most painful and debilitating things that can occur on a job site is a spinal cord injury. Many times, the consequences of an incident like this can be extremely expensive and may affect a worker for the rest of his or her life.
According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 294,000 Americans live with spinal cord issues, and there are about 17,810 new cases each year. Also, an estimated 78% of those affected by SCI are men, and the average age is 43 years. Workplace injuries represent one of the most important sources of this type.
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries are often devastating enough to prevent the vast majority of people who sustain them from returning to work. An estimated 12% of people with SCI are employed, and after 20 years, that figure only increases to about 30%.
As you can imagine, spinal cord can result in extremely costly medical expenses, which can eventually reach a million dollars or more. The only way you can deal with these expenses is through workers’ compensation benefits, but obtaining them can be quite complicated.
If you have suffered a spinal injury, the best way to increase your chances of getting the compensation you need to pay for your long-term rehabilitation and high medical expenses is to work with an excellent los angeles workers compensation law firm, such as C&B Law Group, that is always available to help you with anything you need. In California, you can find many experienced workers’ compensation law firms with track records of success that demonstrate their commitment to their clients, such as www.cblawgroup.com and many more. Most of them offer free consultations, so feel free to call them if you want to know how they can help you.
Similar to the brain, the human spinal cord cannot regrow cells. Therefore, some spinal cord symptoms may appear immediately, and others may appear over time. The symptoms of spinal cord vary depending on the severity of it. Based on the degree of the injury and the location where it occurred, the symptoms usually include the following:
- Numbness of extremities.
- Pain in the neck, back or head.
- Loss of motor functions or loss of coordination.
- Loss of sensation in hands, feet, fingers.
- Partial or complete paralysis of the body.
All spinal cord injuries are unique. To know exactly what type you suffered, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Your spine is home to many vital nerves that connect the brain to many muscles and organs. A damage to this part of your body can expose these nerves to severe consequences, which are often categorized as follows:
- Paraplegia: When a person loses sensation in both legs, and the ability to move them.
- Triplegia: When the person is unable to move their legs and one arm, in addition to losing sensation in those limbs.
- Quadriplegia: This is the most severe case, as the person loses sensation and movement in both arms and legs, and usually needs a respirator since chest muscles may also be affected.
The leading cause of spinal injuries is motor vehicle accidents, which contribute about 38% of all annual cases. On the other hand, falls account for 30.5%, followed by violent acts with 13.5%, sports with 9%, medical or surgical with 5%, and 4% composed of a variety of other causes, such as degenerative disc disease, repetitive motion injuries, being struck by work equipment, inflammation, and infection.
How does a Spinal Cord Injury affect your life?
After a spinal cord injury, your life will change completely. Initially, chances are you won’t be able to work for a while, and if your occupation required you to do any significant physical exertion, as is the case for construction workers and athletes, you most likely won’t be able to return to work ever again and will have to learn another less physically demanding profession. Moreover, you may not be able to enjoy some of your favorite hobbies again.
Furthermore, the little things in life, such as preparing a cup of coffee in the morning, running errands, moving freely in your home, and many other things will become considerably more difficult (or impossible) after that.
The University of Alabama conducted a study to determine the effect of a spinal cord injury on a person’s life expectancy. The results stated that, on average, the life expectancy of someone who suffers a spinal cord is reduced by 5.2 years. Meanwhile, if the injury causes the worker to require a ventilator, their life expectancy is reduced by 33.2 years.
Plus, rest assured that an injury of this nature will affect your financial life. The long-term expenses that a spinal cord issue can cause are very high. That’s why it’s important to make sure you get workers’ compensation benefits to help you afford all those medical and rehabilitation expenses.
What can you obtain after a spinal cord injury at work?
The workers’ compensation benefits you may receive after a spinal cord injury varies depending on the severity of it. These benefits include:
- Temporary total disability: You will receive money for as long as you are unable to work due to the limitations caused by your injury. You will receive benefits until you get a job that accommodates your current condition.
- Permanent or total disability benefits: If your spinal cord injury has made you unable to use your arms and legs for work, you will receive payments permanently.
- Lifetime medical award: An amount of money to cover expenses incurred due to your injury, including home modifications and payment for ongoing medical care.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If you are unable to return to your previous job but are still able to work in some way, you will receive vocational rehabilitation to help you do so.
Obtaining these benefits is often extremely challenging, especially in more severe cases. Therefore, the best thing you can do to increase your chances of getting the maximum compensation for your case is to work with a workers’ compensation attorney near you.