Suffering from pain in your back, you went to doctor. The doctor diagnoses you with a fracture (break) in at least one of your vertebrae. There is just one problem here; you do not know for sure how you got it. While it could have happened during a slip and fall at work, it could also be the result of trying to lift that really heavy load recently, or the car accident you were in a few days ago. So, what do you do? How can you determine how you got the fractures in your spine? Who do you sue and when? Answers follow.
Step One: Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer or Worker's Comp Attorney
The first thing you need to do is talk to both of these kinds of lawyers. Establish a time line leading up to the diagnosis of your back injury. You also need to establish a connection to a lawyer for the purposes of filing a lawsuit, since the statute of limitations is very different for worker's comp versus personal injury cases.
Step Two: Talk to a Forensic Specialist
A forensic specialist is someone who can determine how the fractures in your back came to be. The way that the fracture lines lay across the bones in your back say a lot. Vertical fractures come from lifting or falling onto your back, while horizontal or mixed fractures are typically the result of a car accident. Since this information will be vital in your defense and your case, it is important to have this done as soon as possible.
Step Three: Collect the X-rays and Your Doctor's Professional Opinion
Get copies of the doctor's visit, diagnostic report, and professional opinion regarding the possible causes of the fractures in your spine. Also get copies of the x-rays, so that any expert testimony your lawyer wishes to call can see the fractures on the x-ray and give his/her opinion. If it turns out that the medical professionals have seen and spoken with all agree that your injury is related to the slip and fall at work, then you need to hire the personal injury lawyer for your case.
Step Four: Hire Your Attorney and Request That He/She File Your Case for You
You can hire your workers' comp attorney now that you know what the most likely cause of your back fractures is. Just make sure you have already filed a worker's comp claim at work first. The denial of benefits from your worker's comp claim will probably be based on your lack of filing the claim immediately after your accident, in which case your lawyer can argue that there were other issues involved that needed to be resolved before filing your claim.
Fractures of the spine are considerably painful and they are difficult to heal. It is not as though your doctor can put a cast on the back and let things go. While a body cast is possible, continuing to move and do what you have been doing prevents the bones from mending properly. It also looks bad for your case, since you seem to be moving around just fine with broken vertebrae.
Instead, take as much time off as you can to allow your back to heal. Use up all of your sick time and vacation time, if you cannot afford to take that many days off from work. Then request short-term disability benefits (if applicable), and FMLA leave. All of these will help you take the time you need to prevent further fractures and a more serious disability from developing while your attorney gets your case heard and/or settled. For more information, contact companies like Walz Law Office.