Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord serves as the highway for the central nervous system connecting the brain and the rest of the body. Electrical nerve signals travel up and down the spinal cord to control the body’s functions such as breathing, eating, walking, talking, moving and reacting. Bony vertebrae and cerebral spinal fluid along the spine protect the spinal cord and help keep it stable. The proper health and functioning of a railroad worker’s spinal cord is critical to his/her ability to physically complete the job.
Railroad spine cord injuries can be devastating. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most dangerous, damaging, and potentially deadly for railroaders. An injury near or on the spinal cord may disrupt function and feeling to certain parts of the body. Railroaders who suffer a spinal cord injury should immediately seek out qualified FELA attorneys.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Acute Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
An acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is caused by a traumatic event that bruises or tears the spinal cord. The injury is most likely to happen due to the neck or spine being compressed and subjected to strong forces from impact. An SCI is often debilitating and can lead to permanent paralysis, paraplegia, or even death.
Spinal Stenosis is a medical condition that results in the narrowing of the spinal column. This narrowing of the spinal column is often accompanied by a painful and debilitating compression of the spinal cord and surrounding nerve roots.
Spinal fractures can cause bone fragments to protrude into the spinal cord leading to serious nerve damage, paralysis or even death. Spinal fractures are most commonly caused by high velocity impact such as can occur in train collisions, vehicle accidents and falls.
Cervical radiculopathy, or a pinched nerve, results from a nerve in the neck becoming compressed or irritated to the point it extends away from the spinal cord. This injury results in pain and muscle weakness that may be focused in the shoulder and/or arm area.
A cervical dislocation refers to a ligament injury in the neck area that leads to separation in the spine bones and instability in the overall structure and function of the spinal cord. This injury can accompany a traumatic spinal cord injury which is also associated with paralysis, paraplegia and even death. High velocity impacts are often the cause of the dislocation and may arise following a train or vehicle collision.
Spondylolisthesis is a lower back injury that results from vertebrae in the spine slipping out of place and putting pressure on other vertebrae and the spinal cord. The slipping of the vertebrae pinches the spinal cord and presses the nerves in the spinal column causing pain in the lower back or legs.
Spinal disc issues refer to the discs that compose the spine having any type of excessive movement, break or dysfunction. The discs of the spine, when out of place, can put pressure on the spinal cord and pinch the nearby nerves leading to temporary or permanent loss of function.
Spinal tissue damage can be the outcome of soft tissue injuries in the back and neck affecting the spinal cord and surrounding muscles. Tears, strains and sprains are potential injuries that can put pressure on the spinal cord area and lead to discomfort or loss of function. Time can heal tissue damage, but medical treatment may be required depending on the severity of the injury.
FELA Claims vs. Workers Comp
FELA claims are not part of a regular workers’ compensation program. FELA laws apply only to those specifically in the railroad industry whereas workers’ comp is much more generalized for other occupations. FELA and workers’ comp claims also significantly differ in what they provide and what rights are granted to the employee. While a workers’ comp claim is generally filed through the employer’s insurer, a FELA claim can be filed as a lawsuit in state or federal court with a guaranteed right to a jury.
Additionally, there are further caps for the amount of workers’ compensation a railroader may receive, but in a FELA lawsuit there are no limits to the amount the jury may reward. The main drawback of a FELA claim is that you must show negligence by your employer to successfully pursue your claim. Workers’ compensation claims generally are accepted if the injury
FELA Spinal Cord Attorney
Railroaders who suffer a spinal cord injury not only have to worry about their health and potential long-lasting effects, but also their careers and potentially the financial future of their families. Our team of attorneys at The Youngdahl Law Firm, P.C. and Doyle Dennis LLP proudly fight for our clients to ensure you get what you are entitled to where the railroad has failed to provide you with a safe workplace. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation regarding your FELA spinal cord injury claim.