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Spinal Injuries in the Workplace

The spine consists of a series of vertebrae that house the body’s sensitive nerves. The spine protects these nerves from damage and allows the nerves to communicate to other parts of the body.

A spine injury can produce anything from pain and nerve damage to paralysis and even death. Spinal injuries can occur at work for many reasons and require immediate medical attention.

Spinal injuries can occur in multiple situations. Ranging from mild to severe, spinal injuries have the potential to be life threatening and often result in a lengthy recovery process. The majority of spinal injuries occur from trauma to the body, a fall, or an accident while driving. Spinal injuries are treatable in most cases, but can result in an inability to work for an extended period of time.

Treatment for a spinal injury can be a long process. Because damage to the spinal cord may affect the entire body, even basic tasks, such as walking or standing, may be impossible. If you sustained a spinal injury at work, it is essential to receive immediate medical care to start the recovery process and prevent further damage.

Miami Attorney for Work-Related Spinal Cord Injuries

If you suffered an injury to your spine or spinal cord in a work related injury, then contact us to discuss your benefits under Florida Workers' Compensation laws. With offices in Miami for Miami-Dade County, Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, and West Palm Beach in Palm Beach County, FL, we serve all of South Florida.

After sustaining an injury, it can be difficult to keep track of the Workers’ Compensation process and gain approved for benefits. The Hoffman Firm represents clients for a wide range of complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries.

If you are having a hard time navigating the process of applying for and receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, call (305) 940-2307 today to speak to a knowledgeable legal professional at The Hoffman Firm about your case. 


Types of Spinal Cord Injuries in the Workplace in South Florida

If you sustained a work-related spinal injury in South Florida, you must file a Workers’ Compensation claim within 30 days of the event, according to Florida Law. Failure to file a Workers’ Compensation claim in a timely manner may result in an inability to receive work-related injury benefits. As the recovery process for spinal injuries is generally long, it is important to ensure you can remain financially stable and receive appropriate medical care.

Complete spinal cord injuries can result in complete paraplegia or complete tetraplegia.

Complete paraplegia is defined as a permanent loss of nerve and motor function at T1 level or below, which results in a loss of sensation and movement in the legs, bowel, bladder, and sexual region. In cases of complete paraplegia, the arms and hands retain normal function.

In some cases, a person with complete paraplegia retains partial trunk movement that allows him or her to stand or walk short distances with assistive equipment, although most use a self-propelled wheelchair.

A person classified with "complete tetraplegia" also suffers from the loss of hand and arm movement as well. In some cases, a person classified as tetraplegic will require a ventilator system in order to breathe. Some tetraplegics retain some arm and hand movement, depending on the location of the spinal injury.

The most common types of spinal cord injury (SCI) is classified as an "incomplete" spinal cord injury. Incomplete spinal cord injuries result in some degree of sensation and movement below the point of injury. In many cases, the extent of an incomplete injury cannot be determined after the accident, but must be measured six or eight weeks after the injury.

Spinal cord injuries can result from obvious or not-so-obvious events, including a slip and fall accident. Each injury is different. Some people with incomplete spinal injuries have some feeling with little movement or some movement with little feeling.

The different classifications of incomplete spinal cord injuries include:

  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome involves damage to one side of the spinal cord, causing the loss of movement on one side of the body and the loss of sensation on the other side of the body. 

  • Posterior Cord Syndrome involves damage to the back of the spinal cord, which causes poor coordination but good muscle power, pain, and temperature sensation.

  • Central Cord Syndrome involves damage to the center of the spinal cord, which causes the loss of function in the arms but some leg movement.

  • Anterior Cord Syndrome involves damage to the front of the spinal cord, which causes impaired temperature, touch, and pain sensations below the point of injury.

  • Cauda Equina Lesion involves damage to the nerves located between the first and second lumbar region of the spine, which causes partial or complete loss of sensation.

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Damages That May Be Recovered in a Spinal Cord Injury Case

In an SCI cord injury lawsuit, an attorney may be able to help you recover the following damages:

Wrongful Death: If a spinal cord injury suffered in the workplace results in death, the victim’s family may be able to sue the employer for negligence. The family may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, as well as lost wages resulting from the death due to its financial effect on the family.

Medical Bills: An employer is liable for medical bills when a worker suffers a spinal cord injury in the workplace. Any medical bills resulting from a spine injury, including hospital bills, doctor visits, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, as well as any future medical expenses, may be covered.

Pain and Suffering: A spinal cord injury may result in chronic physical and/or emotional pain. Victims are entitles to benefits for pain and suffering for monetary damages sustained after SCI occurs.

Lost Wages: Spinal cord injuries are often debilitating to the extent that they prevent a person from returning to work, if at all. Compensation for missed work, as well as the loss of earning capacity into the future, may also be awarded after a spinal cord injury.


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Additional Resources

South Florida Spinal Cord Injury Model System — The University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, in conjunction with Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, together serve as home for the South Florida Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SFSCIMS). Jackson Memorial Hospital is the third largest medical center in the U.S., and it serves a diverse community.

Spinal Cord Injury Support Group (SCISG) — The Spinal Cord Injury Support Group (SCISG), which has offices in both Miami and Broward County, is a nonprofit organization that promotes camaraderie through friendship, education, advocacy and recreation to enhance the quality of life for those affected by spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders and other disabilities. Its website offers information about the latest research and medical progress on spinal cord injury.


Workers' Compensation Attorney in Miami for Spinal Cord Injuries

Let The Hoffman Firm help you with the claim for benefits under Florida Workers’ Compensation laws. Applying for and receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits can be a confusing process. If you need help receiving benefits through Workers’ Compensation, contact The Hoffman Firm today to get the help you deserve.

With offices conveniently located in Miami in Miami-Dade County, Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, and West Palm Beach in Palm Beach County, FL, an attorney at The Hoffman Firm can represent you in a workers' compensation case after a knee injury. We represent injured workers for workers' compensation claims throughout the City of Aventura, North Miami, Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas throughout South Florida. 

The more serious the injuries, the more you can benefit from having an attorney help you navigate Florida's laws for workers' compensation. Call (305) 940-2307 to discuss your SCI today with an experienced South Florida workers' compensation lawyer.

This article was last updated on Thursday, May 26, 2016.

 

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Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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