Workers Compensation

Spinal Cord Injuries in the Workplace

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Workers Compensation | 0 comments

Spinal cord injuries can cause pain and discomfort and prevent individuals from participating in activities. At worst, they can result in loss of sensations, paralysis or death. The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves that enables communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The backbone is designed to protect the spinal cord, but an accident can fracture the vertebrae that make up the backbone and damage the nerves inside.

Spinal cord injuries are temporary or permanent, and “complete” or “incomplete.” Complete injuries cause a permanent loss of motion below the site of the injury. There are five main ways spinal cord nerves can be damaged:

  • A concussion occurs when the spine is forcefully jolted, and usually results in temporary movement and sensation restriction
  • A contusion is a bruise inside the backbone that can put traumatic pressure on the nerves
  • Compression is when something presses into the nerves—either a foreign object or a herniated disc
  • A tear means the spinal cord is partially torn
  • A cut means the spinal cord has been severed

A pinch or tear in the spinal cord nerves means the victim may spend the rest of their life as a paraplegic or quadriplegic. Paraplegia refers to paralysis of the trunk and legs, and quadriplegia refers to paralysis of all four limbs and the trunk.

Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include lifting, repetitive motion, falls, faulty equipment, and vehicle collisions. Beyond injury to the spinal cord nerves, individuals can also damage the vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments in the spine and experience painful sensations.

Workers experiencing a spinal cord injury on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to account for their pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and psychological trauma.


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