Manual labor takes its toll on the backs of California workers. But, that doesn’t mean only heavy laborers can suffer back injuries. Unfortunately, people who spend the majority of their workday in a chair, or perform repetitive duties with less than heavy objects can also injure their back.
Spinal Cord Injuries
When an injury to the spine occurs, there is always the risk that the nerves of the spinal cord can be affected. In short, the spinal cord is composed of nerve fibers that connect all parts of the body to the brain to form the central nervous system. Injuries that damage the spinal cord can be catastrophic, and accordingly workers’ compensation benefits are available in such a situation.
Spinal Cord Injuries Can Affect Other Parts Of The Body
Because the spinal cord connects all of the body parts to the brain, an injury to this area must take into account multiple systems of the body. While an injury to the spinal cord will typically affect one’s ability to use either or both arms and legs, complications may develop including bladder function, bowel reflexes, sexual functioning, respiratory infections, the digestive system skin problems and the vascular system.
It is vital that all of these areas are effectively treated and monitored by the medical professional(s) involved in a case involving spinal cord injury. Our office has handled numerous claims involving injury to the spinal cord and we have recovered millions of dollars for those individuals who have lost function in their arms/legs and related body systems.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Workers' Compensation Benefits
As an aside, it is important to analyze a situation where a spinal cord injury is involved for a potential third party case. In other words, when someone is injured at work the exclusive remedy is workers’ compensation benefits. But, if you are injured while working due to the fault of someone who is not your employer or under the control of your employer you may have a case against that person directly. An example would be if you drive a truck for your employer and are injured in a car accident caused by another driver on the road. You would have a workers’ compensation claim against your employer’s insurance company, but also a potential civil claim for personal injury against the other driver. This can be important because a civil action may allow you to obtain much higher damages than a workers’ compensation claim on its own. We will discuss third party claims in further detail in a future blog post.