3000 W. Esplanade Ave., Suite 200 Metairie, Louisiana 70002

Railroad Injuries: Spine Injuries

If you or a loved one suffered a spine injury, it is important to seek the proper medical treatment immediately. Many times, when an engineer is in a train wreck, he/she may suffer a spine or disc injury and not be aware of it. The same is true for people in auto accidents. The spine, spinal cord, and nerves are a complicated system.

We work very closely with our clients’ doctors including neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, and pain management doctors to make sure that our clients are getting the best possible medical care available – both diagnostic and therapeutic care.

In doing so, our attorneys have spent countless hours studying medicine and in particular, the spine. Not only did we study pre-medicine courses in our undergraduate courses, we have also audited anatomy and physiology courses to learn the medicine better for our clients and their cases.

When working with our clients’ medical providers, we meet with them not only to understand our clients’ injuries, but also to discern what treatment is being recommended and how are clients are recovering.

ANATOMY OF THE SPINE

The cervical spine, levels C1-C7, comprise the neck. The thoracic spine, levels T1-T12, comprise the upper to mid back. The lumbar spine, levels L1-L5, and sacrum level S1, comprise the lower back.

Between the vertebral bodies in the spine are the vertebral discs, which separate the vertebral bones giving the spine the ability to flex and bend.

Generally speaking, when someone suffers an injury to the neck or back, it may be unclear where the exact pain generator is located. Most doctors will agree that medicine is both an art and a science, and each patient is an individual who will respond differently to medical treatment. That’s why it’s so important to see the best medical doctors who are experienced treating patients who have been involved in accidents such as yours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I had a prior accident, am I precluded from making a claim or a new spinal injury?

Each client’s case is unique and depends on the specific facts of his/her case. We have helped clients who have been in prior accidents, and then were injured in a subsequent accident. We take great pride in understanding our clients’ entire medical history, which is important to show the actual cause of our clients’ injuries. Even though you may have been in a prior accident and had prior neck or back pain, that does not necessarily mean you will be unable to make a claim for your recent accident or workplace injury.

 

My doctor says my condition is degenerative, does that mean I do not have a case?

Degeneration of the spine is a normal condition that nearly all Americans experience. However, most people with degenerative conditions may not have any symptoms of pain their entire lives. If you have never undergone an x-ray or an MRI prior to an accident or a workplace injury, then it is likely that your degenerative condition became symptomatic because of the accident.

In Louisiana, accident victims are afforded what is called the Housley Presumption, which provides that the defendant is responsible for any injuries to an individual following an accident if that individual does not have any medical history of those certain pains and symptoms.

Additionally, in Louisiana, individuals are afforded the benefit of “Eggshell” victim theory, which provides that a person or a company takes the victim as he/she finds her. For example, if you’re standing in the middle of the street and someone pushes you – you step forward.  The person who pushed you is responsible for you stepping forward. However, take that same scenario and if you were standing on the edge of a cliff and a person pushes you – you fall off that cliff and may be seriously hurt. The person who pushed you is responsible for all injuries you suffered because of falling off that cliff. This is the “Eggshell” victim theory by way of example.

 

What causes symptoms to radiate to my extremities?

In the medical field, most doctors agree that a “soft tissue” injury will resolve within 3-6 months from the date of the accident or injury. If more than six months have passed since your injury, and you are still having pain such as burning, numbness, or tingling to your arms or legs, then you may have a spinal injury other than just a simple muscle strain.

There are many different types of spine injuries, such as bulging disc, herniated disc, disc degeneration, and nerve root impingement. If you have a disc injury, such as a bulge or herniation, it may be impinging on a nerve root or causing nerve root irritation.  It is important to identify this pain generator not only for your health but also for your case.

The radiating symptoms are explained using a dermatome guide.  A dermatome is the pathway that a specific nerve follows after exiting the spine. The specific nerve innervates (supplies motor function and sensory response) to a particular part of the body. The dermatome is that area of the body that the particular nerve innervates. By determining where the body’s painful symptoms are located, the doctor or surgeon can identify a dermatome, and therefore, a particular nerve root exiting the spine as a potential source of the pain. The following is an illustration of the human body overlaid with a map of the dermatomes. There is considerable overlap between adjacent dermatomes, so that a defect at C5-6 may cause pain in a C4, C5, C6, and C7 distribution.

Spinal injuries can be very confusing, complicated, and scary. It is important that you speak with an experienced trial attorney who has worked with neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, neurologists, and trauma doctors in order to properly evaluate your claim and protect your rights for your spine injury.

We have successfully represented clients with these different types of spine injuries. It is important that your trial attorney is experienced with this complex medicine and can work with your doctors on understanding the exact cause of your injuries. If you’re experiencing radiating symptoms such as burning, numbness, tingling to any of your extremities such as your arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, it is important that you talk to your doctor immediately about the cause of those symptoms.

Feel free to call us to discuss your both your legal and medical issues. Our hope is that you will look to us for help when you need it. We are excited to serve you.

To learn more about clients we have helped please click here.

Get Guidance After a Spine Injury

 

If you or a loved one has suffered a spine injury, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you and help you and your family through these difficult circumstances. There may be claims available under FELA (Federal Employers’ Liability Act) for your loss.  Please contact our office or send us a live chat message to get in touch with one of our FELA trial attorneys.  Our consultations and case reviews are absolutely FREE with no obligation to you or your family, so please give us a ring!

Call us today for more information: (504) 766-2200 or toll free (833) 505-2122.