Spinal cord injuries are a risk for workers across a variety of fields and can affect any employee. A spinal cord injury can make work difficult or impossible, and can leave a injured worker paralyzed, depending on how severe the injury is. Around-the-clock medical care can become necessary after a spinal cord injury. This care is very costly.
If you are hurt, you need to make certain you get the best possible treatment for a spinal cord injury so you can maintain as much movement and functionality as possible, and so you can reduce the significant pain spinal nerve damage can cause. Workers' compensation should provide you with benefits for your spinal cord injuries, but it is up to you to take the appropriate actions to make your work injury claim and to prove your spinal cord injuries were related to work tasks.
There are two primary categories of workplace-related causes of spinal cord injury: acute injuries and repetitive stress damage.
Acute injuries happen when you suffer trauma that does immediate damage to the spine. For example, you could sustain damage to the spine as a result of an automobile accident while you are driving for your job. You could also sustain spinal cord damage after a fall in a workplace, if you are crushed between objects, if you become caught in machinery, or as a result of workplace violence.
Overexerting yourself can also cause acute injuries, including damage to soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, or tendons, and damage to the discs that cushion the vertebrae in your spine. You can also injure yourself by stretching too far, tearing or damaging the soft tissues in your neck and back.
On the other hand, repetitive stress injuries occur when you put too much strain on your body over a period of time. Repetitive stress results from doing the same motion over and over, like repeatedly bending forward to pick items up off the floor in a work setting, or frequently lifting objects.
Generally, it is traumatic injuries that cause broken vertebrae, and which can result in partial or full paralysis. The extent of paralysis is going to depend on which vertebrae are effected. Depending on the level of the spinal cord injury, you could suffer either complete or partial paralysis. For the most severe spinal cord injuries, you may be unable to breathe without a machine. For more minor spinal cord damage, you may experience nerve damage causing pain and limiting mobility, but will not be fully paralyzed.
The workers' compensation benefits available to you will depend on what kind of medical care you need, and how badly you are disabled, including whether you can work with your injuries