In common with most of the rest of the world Australians take more time off work as a result of spinal problems than for any other reason. Similarly back injury accident compensation claims account for more personal injury actions in Australia's court system than almost all other personal injuries added together. Apart from injuries sustained at work there are tens of thousands of settlements obtained by back injury compensation solicitors as a result of motor collisions every year. Over 80% of adults under the age of 50 have suffered from traumatic lumbar damage with lifting accidents being involved in a very significant number of cases.
Our back injury solicitors deal with compensation claims using the no win no fee scheme. If you would like expert qualified advice on injury compensation claims just use the helpline or email our offices. A back injury compensation claim solicitor will speak to you on the telephone with no further obligation and will advise you on liability issues and the amount of compensation that you may expect to be awarded. Do yourself justice and give us a call.
Muscle Sprains and Strains
Sprains are common in workplace situations involving heavy lifting or moving of heavy objects. Lumbar sprain/strain occurs to the lower back region, causing stretching or tearing of the muscle/tendons/ligaments. The muscles are large in this area and when a strain occurs, severe pain is the result.
The cause is damage to the ligaments in the lower back from lifting and twisting movement. The symptoms include sciatica and/or pain and tenderness of the buttocks.
Fracture of the Spine<
Fracture of one or more parts of the spinal column (vertebrae) is a serious injury. The spinal cord may be injured depending on the severity of the fracture. Whilst fracture injuries involving paralysis are quite rare they usually give rise to very high value back injury compensation claim settlements.
Vertebral discs act like cushions between the bony vertebrae. Their walls are made of rubbery ligaments and cartilage. The centre of a disc is filled with a dense fluid which acts as a shock absorber when walking or running. If excessive amount of pressure is put on a disc from heavy lifting, long term wear and tear or other injury, it may collapse or bulge out between the vertebrae, placing pressure on nerves or the spinal cord. Discs at the bottom of the back are normally affected but any disc from the skull down may be involved. Symptoms of a slipped disc include severe pain in the buttock or leg (sciatica), numbness and other altered sensation. In extreme cases there may be muscle weakness and paralysis.
A ruptured or herniated disc can cause pain. A bulging disc can compress, irritate and damage the spinal nerve root next to it, causing more pain. A ruptured or herniated disk also commonly causes sciatica. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine, behind the hip joint, down the buttock and back of the knee. When the sciatic nerve is pinched, inflamed or damaged, pain (sciatica) may radiate along the length of the sciatic nerve to the foot. Sciatica may cause a pins-and-needles sensation, a nagging ache, or a shooting pain. Numbness may be felt in the leg or foot. Walking, running, climbing stairs, and straightening the leg increases the pain, which is relieved by bending the back or sitting.
The term “manual handling” refers to activities which require the employee to use their physical strength to move, lift, carry, hold, push, pull or restrain an object. Lifting accidents whilst at work account for a large proportion of back injury solicitors work and are generally caused by either an employers failure or in some cases an employees failure to comply with the Manual Handling Regulation which are federal law and apply throughout Australia. The basis of these regulations relates to the necessity for employers to make risk assessments of all manual handling operations and to ensure that systems are in place to reduce the risk of injury preferably by the implementation of mechanical solutions. If you have been injured at work due to the negligence of another do not delay in contacting one of our back injury solicitors - time is at a premium.
If you have been injured at work and intend instructing back injury compensation solicitors to make a claim you should ensure that you do everything possible to preserve evidence in support of your claim :-
The employer must perform a risk assessment of any job that involves significant lifting. If any potential hazards are identified, the employer must then take reasonable measures to eliminate the risk of back injury. Often, in order to eliminate the risk, the employer must implement mechanised lifting operations in place of the manual handling.
If you are the innocent victim of an accident at work or are only partly to blame our back injury compensation solicitors are able to make a claim on a no win no fee basis. Our back injury solicitors utilise a no win no fee scheme, which means you pay no legal fees or expenses if we are not successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf. There are no upfront costs for you to pay and you do not have to finance the claims process. If your back injury compensation claim is successful, you will receive the full amount of the award with no deductions. Risk free – win or lose no charge. Contact our back injury solicitors today for free legal advice about your personal injury compensation claim. There is no charge for the consultation, regardless of whether you decide to proceed with your claim.
Back injury solicitors issue legal proceedings for compensation in a number of situations where the damage has been caused by the negligence of a third party. The most common claims are as follows :-
Every year car accidents account for tens of thousands of whiplash neck and back injuries in Australia ranging from minor to severe however most people who suffer a whiplash injury make a full recover within two years. More severe back injuries that do not resolve mainly occur to certain classes of vulnerable individuals including the elderly and those with a pre-existing back condition.
Slips, trips and falls may cause serious back injury and tripping and slipping accidents are a major cause of damage to the vertebrae, discs and tendons particularly to the elderly and those with a pre-existing back condition. The cause of slipping accidents frequently rests with the owners and occupiers of property where the incident took place.
Back injuries sustained in the workplace account for more time off work than all of the other types of work related accidents added together. Employers must adopt mechanical handling methods where reasonably possible and must carry out proper risk assessment and ensure the provision of adequate training in materials handling and in addition supply adequate protective equipment where necessary. Even if the accident is caused by the negligence of a co-worker, a claim for workers compensation can still be made as all employees are entitled to expect a safe system of work.
Defective furniture including chairs and stools may collapse under a persons body weight causing severe back injury. There are also numerous accidents every year caused by defective ladders and step ladders. If you have suffered a back injury due to a defective product we may be able to assist you to claim compensation from the seller or manufacturer.
Falls from scaffolding, cranes, roofs and ladders is a major cause of back injury compensation claims both in the home environment and whilst at work. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a third party or whilst at your workplace we may be able to make a claim for back injury compensation. We deal with both negligence claims and workers compensation claims including Workcover using the no win no fee scheme.
Lumbar spine injuries occur in about 150,000 individuals in North America and that only includes those injuries that result in lumbar fracture. Millions of individuals have minor injuries of the lumbar spine to muscles or ligaments that are helped by over the counter medications and chiropractics. There are about 5000 cases of paraplegia per year that occur due to lumbar spine injuries.
Lumbar spinal injuries happen during sports injuries, falls, twisting injuries of the back, and motor vehicle accidents. Gunshot wounds and stabbing injuries can result in damage to the lumbar spine and the lumbar spinal nerves. The spinal cord stops at the level of L1 but many spinal nerves, called the cauda equina, travel through the lumbar spine and exit out of the various spinal foramina. Pelvic injuries are also common when you have a spinal injury to the lumbar spine.
Lumbar spinal trauma often occurs as a result of an injury that causes multiple bodily trauma, including other spinal injury, extremity fractures, internal bleeding and rib fractures. The most frequently injured spinal areas in the lumbar spine are the L1, L2 and T12 levels. The injuries are most common in those of age 30-39 years and is least common in those under the age of 18. The most common bony injury is a compression fracture which can burst into the spinal canal and do damage to the spinal nerves.
Pain in the lumbar area is the most common side effect of a lumbar injury. You can also have weakness or paralysis of the legs or part of the legs as well as bowel and bladder dysfunction. Most people dont die from the disease itself but die from related injuries such as spleen rupture, aortic damage or pelvic injuries with excessive blood loss. Delayed mortality is also due to urinary tract infections if bladder control is affected.
The demographics of lumbar spine injury includes that the injuries are greater in whites, the elderly female and postmenopausal estrogen use. It is more common in men if it is related to trauma and more common in females if the trauma is associated with osteoporosis.
Lumbar spine injuries can be caused by overuse injuries such as heavy lifting. This can result in a disc injury or just ligamentous injuries to the back. Injuries to the supporting muscles and tendons can cause low back pain that responds well to local ice and/or heat and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. You can also damage a nerve as it exits the nerve root outlet. This is made worse when you have stenosis or narrowing of the spinal nerve root outlet or if a disc ruptures and damages the nerve as it exits the cauda equina in the nerve root foramen.
Diagnosis of lumbar spine injuries includes a careful history and physical examination of the back. Localized swelling can be seen in the back in some cases and the back may be artificially straight due to muscle tension. There can be weakness or paralysis of the lower extremities. X-rays of the back may show subluxation of the lumbar vertebrae and a CT scan or MRI scan of the back may show the exact abnormality of the back which is going on. A myelogram can be done using dye and x-rays to see where there is narrowing of the spinal canal or nerve foramina.
There are many treatments for the condition of lumbar spinal trauma. Immobilization may be necessary in order to keep the spine stable until the back ligaments heal. It is also helpful in controlling pain. In minor cases of lumbar spine trauma, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be utilized to control pain and inflammation. Stronger pain killers containing codeine or oxycodone are necessary if the injury and pain are severe.
If the spinal cord is injured, the person needs immediate corticosteroid therapy to shrink the swelling of the spinal nerves and spinal cord. It is infused into the system for about twenty four hours after the initial bolus of corticosteroids by IV. Surgery is used to fuse unstable portions of the spine and to remove fragments of bone from the spinal canal. Disc injuries are also sometimes treated with surgery.
The thoracic spine is relatively protected by the thorax and injuries to the thoracic spine are less common than injures to the cervical spine. The injury can involve a fracture to the back with subluxation of the spinal canal and disc injury to the spinal area where there is a bulging disc that interferes with the functioning of the spinal cord. Thoracic disc injuries were initially described in the early 1800s and it was felt to be an uncommon site of injury due to the stabilizing effect of the rib cage.
Fractures of the thoracic spine can occur whenever the spinal column is subjected to great forces, such as in a fall, sports injury or motor vehicle accident. Penetrating injuries can also cause spinal cord damage. Thoracic spine injuries are only secondary to aortic injuries when it comes to thoracic traumatic injuries. Thoracic spinal injuries occur in 5-6 percent of motor vehicle accidents and compression fractures are the most common type of injury to the thoracic spine. The lower thorax is the most common thoracic injury. The most common injured patients are between 30 and 39 years of age and least common in those who are under the age of 18 years. Compression injuries of the thoracic spine are most common in elderly women with osteoporosis.
The thoracic spine injury is often associated with an aortic injury, which is nearly always fatal. A thoracic spinal cord injury alone is not usually fatal but leads to paraplegia of the lower extremities. There is a loss of bowel or bladder function (or both) and paralysis of the lower extremities.
Diagnosis of spinal cord injuries of the thoracic spine include a myelogram, which is an x-ray given after dye is inserted into the spinal space. CT scans or MRI scans of the spinal cord area can show subluxation, fractures and narrowing of the spinal canal in disc injuries. Doctors can do a thorough neurological examination to see at what level the spinal cord injury is located. All thoracic spinal cord injuries lead to bowel and bladder dysfunction as well as paralysis. Partial transection of the cord may lead to partial injuries of the lower extremities.
Thoracic injury due to osteoporosis is more common in white females and least common in blacks. Elderly women are more likely to have osteoporosis and spinal cord injury to the thoracic spine. A kyphosis degree of 15 degrees or more increases the degree of permanent spinal cord damage. There are two common age groups that are affected by thoracic injury. The first is young athletes which can damage their thoracic spine in ski jumpers and football players. Those who are climbers, motor cycle racers, or skydivers have a higher risk of spinal cord injuries to the thoracic spine. The second most common age group is women of older age who are at high risk for osteoporosis. The condition is rare in children.
Treatment of thoracic spinal injuries includes fusion of the spine in its proper alignment in order to stabilize the joints affected by the thoracic injury. If there has been transection of the cord, however, this does nothing to change the paralysis of the lower extremities or bowel and bladder dysfunction.
Non operative treatment can be done because the spinal cord is very stable in the thoracic spine and the bones can be allowed to heal without difficulty as long as there is not some serious dislocation of the bony fragments. Surgical fixation of kyphosis is done as long as the degree of kyphosis is at least thirty percent or more. A Harrington rod can be placed in the posterior of the spine that will straighten the spine over 5-7 segments. There is also a transpedicular screw that affixes two segments to one another. These can both reduce the fractures and fix them in their proper position. Doctors must remove bony fragments in the spinal canal so the healthy spinal cord does not get punctured by bone fragments.
Physical and occupational therapy are done to determine what it is the patient can do and to improve the abilities of the patient.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here