In Pennsylvania and elsewhere, work-related neck and back injuries are quite common. When such injuries damage the spinal cord, the consequences can be rather serious. While there are those who may only require medication, rehabilitation and rest in order to recover, others injuries may cause permanent damage resulting in the need for life-long care. If you suffered such an injury while on the job, workers’ comp benefits may be available to help you get the care and financial help you need.
The treatments for spinal cord injuries can be both extensive and expensive. This, of course, all really depends on the severity of the injury.
What are the common causes and symptoms of spinal cord injuries?
An injury to the spinal cord injury typically occurs due to a significant blow to the back. This can happen in a fall, motor vehicle accident or a hit from a piece of heavy machinery or equipment — among various other causes. Damage to the vertebrae, nerves and/or discs can result in one experiencing a number of symptoms, which may include one or more of the following:
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Respiratory difficulties
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation
The type of symptoms you experience directly correlate to the location and severity of the injury. Some symptoms will show immediately, while others can take time to appear.
How do doctors treat spinal cord injuries?
In order to determine what course of treatment works best for you, a medical provider will need to complete a full examination in order to determine the extent of the damage. Your doctor performs a physical exam and sensory function tests. Your doctor then orders imaging tests such an X-ray, MRI or CT scan. After your physician gets a clear view of what is going on, he or she creates a treatment plan based on your results. Common treatments include:
- Neck stabilization
- Surgical repair
- Electrical stimulation
- Physical therapy
As dealing with a spinal cord injury often causes mental distress, your doctor will probably recommend counseling as well.
What might workers’ comp benefits cover?
Most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer has a workers’ comp policy, your medical treatments may be fully covered, your pay partially covered, and you could pursue disability benefits depending on your circumstances.
What if the insurance company denies any part of my claim?
Sadly, this does happen to employees in Pennsylvania more than anyone would like to think. Insurance companies will do everything possible to pay as little as possible, leaving you in a bad place. This is not something you have to accept, however. You do have the right to fight for fair and full coverage. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you take the steps necessary to fight for the coverage you need.