Spinal Cord Injuries from Work Accidents in Houston
A spinal cord injury on the job can be devastating, resulting in significant medical bills and considerable time off work. Some people will never be able to work again and will face significant changes in daily life.
If this has happened to you, you could be entitled to compensation for related losses, either through the workers’ compensation system or a third-party lawsuit. The Houston workplace accident lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm are ready to review your case to determine your options and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free case review.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries in Houston
Spinal cord injuries fall into two primary classifications:
- Incomplete spinal cord injury, in which an injured victim retains some feeling and function in the areas of the body affected by the injury
- Complete spinal cord injury, which results in the total loss of sensation and motor function below the location of the damage to the spinal cord
Spinal cord injuries all too often result in some degree of paralysis, which may be further categorized as:
- Paraplegia, or paralysis that affects the legs and potentially the pelvic area and lower torso
- Hemiplegia, or paralysis that affects only one side of the body
- Triplegia, or paralysis of the lower half of the body as well as paralysis of some degree to one arm
- Quadriplegia (tetraplegia), or paralysis affecting the body below either the shoulders or upper chest
How Spinal Cord Injuries Are Caused at Work
Some of the workplace accidents that most frequently result in spinal cord injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heavy equipment accidents including forklift, aerial lift, and crane accidents
- Entanglement accidents
- Building collapse, trench, and underground accidents
Workplace Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in one recent year, 150 cases of traumatic injuries in workplace accidents involved the spinal cord or the nerves and bones around the spinal cord. Traumatic injuries to the spinal cord from workplace accidents caused victims to miss an average of 72 days from work. Each of the 30 incidents that year solely involved injuries to the spinal cord caused the victim to miss more than 30 days from work.
Industries in Houston Where Workplace Spinal Injuries Commonly Occur
In Houston, people in the following professions and industries often face a higher risk of being in an accident that causes a spinal cord injury:
- Construction workers
- Refinery workers
- Chemical plant workers
- Oil field workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Fabrication workers
How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Cost?
A person who sustains a severe spinal cord injury will require extensive, long-term medical care that can cost millions of dollars. Benefits provided through the workers’ compensation system will not be enough. That is why it is essential to have an experienced workplace injury lawyer evaluate whether there is a third-party claim that can provide compensation beyond basic workers’ comp benefits.
Money damages – in the past and future – that can be sought in a third-party claim include the following:
- Medical care expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries, and other medical procedures, physical therapy, occupational therapy, prescription medications, and mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and lifts
- Costs of long-term care for paralysis and other disabilities, including home health services, home renovations such as ramps and accessible bathrooms, living areas, accessible kitchen, and a wheelchair-accessible vehicle
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning ability and job benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
Factors That May Affect Your Workplace Spinal Cord Injury Claim
There are many factors that can affect the financial recovery you may be entitled to. The most significant factor is the severity of the injury. Some spinal cord injury victims will recover after appropriate medical treatment and the passage of time to the extent they can return to work and many activities of daily living. In cases of severe spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis, the injured person will be faced with a lifetime of medical care, physical limitations, an inability to return to gainful employment, and more.
In addition, facts about the incident that caused the spinal cord injury will affect the amount and types of compensation you can receive. If you are injured on the job and your employer carries worker’s compensation insurance, you should receive financial benefits under the workers’ compensation system including payment of many of your medical care expenses and a portion of your lost wages. Workers’ comp benefits are no-fault, which means you don’t have to prove that anyone else was at-fault for causing your injuries. The problem is that workers’ comp benefits are very limited and will pay for just a small part of the damages and losses that result from a spinal cord injury.
If your spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of another company or one of its employees, or if your employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance at the time of the injury, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence or product defect. These types of personal injury claims can compensate for losses not covered by workers’ comp, including past and future medical care expenses, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, physical pain, physical impairment, emotional distress and suffering, and possibly more. To successfully pursue this personal injury claim, it is essential that you have an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer and legal team on your side.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You Seek Compensation After a Spinal Cord Injury at Work
The Callahan Law Firm can help you maximize the financial recovery in your workplace spinal cord injury claim by:
- Investigating the incident that caused your injury
- Securing evidence that can be used to prove what happened and why it happened
- Documenting the extent of your injuries and damages
- Working with accident reconstruction, medical, vocational, and financial experts to establish a strong case of liability and damages
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit and preparing the case for trial, or when possible, settlement
- Taking your case to court and telling our story to a jury when the insurance company does not want to settle for an amount that is acceptable to you.
Reach Out to Our Houston Workplace Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Now
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in a work-related accident, you should do everything possible to ensure you and your family receive full compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact The Callahan Law Firm today for a free consultation with one of our Houston workplace spinal cord injury lawyers about how we can help.
To protect your health and your rights, you should take the following steps after a workplace accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Verbally notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your employer in writing when you are able, and keep a copy for yourself.
- Contact an experienced workplace accident attorney to discuss your legal options, which may include a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation, or both, depending on your situation.
- Keep track of your time off from work and medical providers.
- Follow your physician’s treatment plan.
The legal team at The Callahan Law Firm handles personal injury claims in a wide range of workplace injury cases, including those that involve:
While you can file a workplace injury claim without the assistance of a lawyer, it can be a confusing and challenging process, especially if you are still recovering from injuries. An experienced attorney can provide the guidance you need and handle the details of your claim to help you get the most compensation available under the law.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage or if a third party was responsible for your accident, having an experienced workplace accident lawyer becomes even more crucial as the attorney can help determine who is responsible, ensure a proper investigation is done and critical evidence is preserved, and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party on your behalf.
If a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed because of a workplace accident, under Texas law, the general rule is that the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you will likely lose your right to make your claim. That is why it is important to consult with a workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights when your claim must be filed, and take the necessary steps to maximize your financial recovery.
It depends. If you were hurt on the job because of the negligence of a third party (a person or company – not your employer – who caused your injury), your claim can include compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, physical impairment, and more. If the negligence of your employer caused your injury and your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to make a claim for negligence against the employer for compensation for these same elements of damages. If your employer did have workers’ compensation at the time of your injury, a workers’ comp claim can be made for benefits such as medical care and lost wages. And if a loved one tragically passed away due to work-related injuries, your family could be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim or death benefits from workers’ compensation. In many instances, more than one of these claims can be made. A knowledgeable workplace accident attorney can determine the type of claim or claims that can be made to ensure you and your family are fully compensated under the law.