Back injuries are a leading cause of chronic pain and disability. Even a seemingly minor back injury can affect your mobility and ability to work while leaving you with significant nerve pain that’s difficult to treat. 

A back injury can be acute or sudden and the result of trauma from an accident. It can also develop over time due to a degenerative condition, other health issues, or repetitive strain while working. 

Learning about common back injuries and your options for pursuing compensation for a back injury in Nashville, TN, caused by someone else is crucial.

Back Injury Overview

Our backs serve as a marvel of biological engineering. The spine allows us the ability to walk upright and engage in an array of bending and twisting motions, all while shouldering nearly half our body’s weight. 

The spinal column is a formidable structure consisting of 24 vertebrae linked with pliant facet joints. Nestled snugly between these vertebrae are soft discs, functioning as vital shock absorbers. 

At the heart of this complex structure is the spinal cord, an integral component of the nervous system. It sends and receives signals to and from the brain and body to facilitate movement. The spinal cord also relays tactile sensations, pain, and temperature information. 31 pairs of nerve roots extend from the spinal cord, passing through tiny openings in the vertebrae. 

The structure of the back and spinal column isn’t just incredibly complex; it’s also fragile. There is a delicate equilibrium that must be maintained as damage to a single part of the spine or back can create a cascade of issues. For example, a vertebra forced out of its place can damage the spinal cord or disc or pinch a nerve exiting a narrow opening. 

Back injuries can be mild to severe and affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or spinal column. 

Strains and Sprains

Sprains are hyperextension injuries to the ligaments that hold the vertebrae together and attach the spine to the ribs. Strains are hyperextension injuries of the muscles or tendons. 

These soft tissue injuries are often minor and heal within six weeks. They may cause muscle pain, spasms, limited range of motion, bruising, and inflammation. However, sprains and strains can be very serious, especially when the injured tissue isn’t just overstretched but torn. In some cases, surgery is required. 

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs, also known as slipped or ruptured discs, occur when the soft inner gel of the disc bulges or breaks through the tougher outer layer. This puts pressure on a nearby nerve and causes intense pain that may radiate to the extremities.

Vertebral Fractures

Vertebral fractures are a common injury in serious motor vehicle accidents and even falls, especially among seniors. Compression fractures are common in the thoracic spine. Seatbelt fractures (chance fractures) are a type of flexion-distraction injury that typically happens in a head-on crash. Burst fractures are among the most serious and happen when the vertebrae are crushed, usually in a crash.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is usually a complication of osteoarthritis in which the space within the spinal canal narrows. This puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It can also happen after traumatic injury from a crash or vertebral fracture. 

After an accident, spinal stenosis may develop quickly due to vertebrae being forced out of position. It may also happen when a pre-existing condition is worsened, or scar tissue develops after the initial injury of a crash.

Pinched Nerve (Radiculopathy)

A pinched nerve, or radiculopathy, arises when nerve roots are compressed or damaged as they leave the spine. This can happen due to a variety of factors, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or bone spurs. 

Radiculopathy often causes weakness or reduced reflexes in the arms or legs and sharp pain in the shoulders, back, legs, and arms. It may also cause numbness or a pins and needles sensation.

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a Back Injury?

Back injuries frequently result in chronic pain and even disability. The delicate structure of the spinal column is difficult to repair, even surgically. 

Herniated discs are one of the most common causes of chronic back pain. About 8% of adults in the U.S. have chronic, severe back pain, and three-quarters of them have pain that interferes with work, mobility, and social activities. 

Lower back pain is the leading cause of work-related disability and one of the top reasons for missed work days and doctor’s visits. 

What Causes Back Injuries?

Back injuries can be the result of degenerative conditions, natural aging, certain diseases, repetitive strain, or an acute injury. 

Common causes of serious back injuries include:  

Every year, nearly one million people suffer a back injury on the job. They are the top cause of workers’ compensation claims and disability. Motorcycle accidents, car crashes, and other types of traffic accidents are also a leading cause of spinal fractures, ruptured discs, and other injuries. Among older adults, motor vehicle accidents and falls are the top causes of back injuries.

What Is My Back Injury Case Worth?

One of the roles of a personal injury lawyer is to help you determine the value of your case. This is not always straightforward. 

The value of your back injury case will depend on many factors, including: 

  • Your financial damages, like medical bills and property damage
  • The severity of the injuries you suffered
  • How your injuries affect your daily life
  • Whether you can return to work
  • Necessary future medical care
  • Lost earning capacity and future earnings and benefits
  • Whether you share fault for the accident
  • Insurance coverage limits

Your attorney can investigate your accident, document the full extent of your losses, and determine all parties responsible.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Back Injury in Nashville, Tennessee?

If someone else’s negligence caused your back injury, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. 

Economic damages are compensation for your quantifiable financial expenses such as: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical needs
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damages
  • Out-of-pocket expenses

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, emotional duress, mental anguish, and disfigurement. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Back Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee?

You have a very limited amount of time to file a personal injury case in Tennessee. The statute of limitations is just one year for personal injury cases, including medical malpractice. This is one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the country. 

If you miss your deadline, you will be barred from recovering the compensation you are entitled to from the at-fault party.

Contact Our Nashville Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Have you suffered a serious back injury in an accident in Nashville, TN? You may be entitled to money, and our Nashville personal injury lawyer at The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help. 

Contact our law office today at (409) 207-9299 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case and what we can do to help you.