When you fall at work, typically it isn’t anything serious. You get up, brush yourself off, and endure a couple hours of heckling from your co-workers. As falls often seen so minor, it might often be called into question if you do find yourself injured. However, after many falls, spinal cord injuries can be a common occurrence. A spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal column, ligaments, vertebrae, disks, or the spinal cord itself is damaged. Even minor injuries to these areas can be painful or even debilitating, which is what makes falls in the workplace no joke.
Typically spinal cord injuries are classified as traumatic and non-traumatic. Non-traumatic injuries are caused by disk degeneration, arthritis or some other kind of inflammation, but traumatic spinal cord injuries always involve sudden blows to the spine. Unless you have pre-existing condition, spinal injuries in the workplace are always of a traumatic nature.
Those who work in construction, particularly roofing, shipping, or manufacturing are most at risk for spinal cord injuries from falls. However, even an employee at a department store can injure themselves if they fall. It can happen to any worker in the right circumstances. As a workplace injury, workers are entitled to workers compensation for it. The good news is that unlike injuring your spine in something like a car crash where you might not feel it right away, even if pain doesn’t occur until the next morning, you can still file a worker’s compensation claim for it with no issue.
However, workers need to be aware that they longer they wait to report the injury will make their claim more suspicious. It will not only be able to be disputed that you hurt your spine in some other way and tried to blame it on the accident, but it will also call into question the severity of the injury itself. Both of these could affect the validity of your claim as well as how much you will receive for it. This is why you should see a doctor as soon as possible so you can start filing a worker’s compensation claim. If nothing else, report the fall to your supervisor so there is at least some proof that you did fall at work and it can be correlated to a spinal injury if the pain manifests later.
A good rule of thumb is if you feel even a little bit of pain, you should try to see a doctor within the first week. While you have a month to file for worker’s compensation, a week is a respectable period of time to realize this isn’t just some pain you can take an aspirin and sleep off, but rather it is something more serious and you need to have checked out. Waiting any longer than the first week after an accident will begin to draw scrutiny to an injury. This is unfortunate because spinal cord injuries can be incredibly fickle. They can be the type of injuries that starts off with little or no pain, but progress slowly. Unfortunately, if the pain waits to grab your attention until after the statute of limitations that governs filing for worker’s compensation, then you are just out of luck and have to pay for it yourself. This is why it is so crucial to get yourself checked out after a serious fall.
If you have been hurt at work and are filing for worker’s compensation, you shouldn’t go it alone. The filing process seems simple, but there are a lot of ways you can lose out. If you need representation, contact us today so we can make sure your work injuries are cared for.