5 Causes of Workplace Spinal Cord Injuries
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Patrick DiBenedetto with Metier Law Firm.
Spinal cord injuries or SCIs can occur in a variety of situations, and the resulting damages can be short-term, long-term, or even permanent. Workplaces are a common environment in which SCIs occur, with risk factors varying from industry to industry. If you or a loved one suffered an SCI at work, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in addition to filing a personal injury claim if the injury occurred due to another party's negligence, including that of the employer, a co-worker, or even a third-party.
5 of the most common causes of workplace spinal cord injuries include:
- Falls. Falls can occur in a variety of ways at work but are particularly common on construction sites or any work environment where employees work on ladders, raised platforms, or above ground-level. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes strict regulations for safety rules that must be followed whenever there is a risk of fall.
- Struck-by injuries. A struck-by injury occurs whenever a worker is hit by an object like an oncoming vehicle, piece of machinery, or even a moving piece of equipment. Unfortunately, SCIs are common in struck-by injuries and can range from painful and inconvenient to severely debilitating.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Many workplaces require employees to operate vehicles and/or to work near or around other moving vehicles. In these scenarios, workers may be susceptible to any of the risks associated with motor vehicle accidents, including spinal cord injuries.
- Construction accidents. Construction environments are one of the most common places for workplace SCIs to occur. This is largely due to the fact that construction workers often work at heights using heavy equipment, tools, and machinery, creating more opportunities for an SCI when safety regulations are not followed than the average workplace might present.
- Repetitive motion injuries. Repetitive motion injuries are a less discussed but common cause of SCIs. These injuries also referred to as “stress injuries” can occur when a worker performs the same task or movement over and over again either incorrectly or without sufficient breaks in-between. Luckily, repetitive motion injuries tend to be less severe than other SCIs, but they can be extremely painful and debilitating in the short-term.
SCIs can result in a myriad of complications, including:
- Full paralysis
- Partial paralysis
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of function
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel control
- Chronic pain
- Impairment of earning capacity
- Loss of chosen profession
- Lost wages
The spine is a vitally important part of the body for daily function, so when an injury occurs to it the consequences can be significant. This is why it’s important to look into every option for recovery following an SCI, especially one that happened at work. The physical, financial, and emotional damages associated with a spinal cord injury can be long-lasting, and if they occurred due to negligence from one or more parties it may be possible to pursue compensation for the injured worker and their family.
To learn more about SCIs at work or for help investigating your own claim, reach out to an SCI attorney in your area.