HomeFAQsMaritime InjuriesWill I have to get surgery if I suffer a severe back injury in a boating accident?

Will I have to get surgery if I suffer a severe back injury in a boating accident?


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Whether you will need surgery to repair your injured back will depend on many variables, including the severity of your injury and the overall condition of your health. Since severe back injury claims are often covered under general maritime law, you should speak with a Jones Act lawyer to ensure that your claim is handled fairly.

Understanding Different Kinds of Back Surgery

After you have been subjected to imaging tests and examined by your medical team, it will be determined whether you are a good candidate for surgery. There are various surgical procedures available for back injuries.

  • Diskectomy – if you suffered a herniated disc, the herniated portion can be removed during open surgery. This can put an end to nerve inflammation. This procedure typically involves the removal of some degree of spinal bone.
  • Laminectomy – bone overlying your spinal canal will be cut away in an effort to increase the size of your spinal canal and ease nerve pressure.
  • Spinal fusion – as the name implies, spinal bones will be fused together, allowing a fracture to stabilize.
  • Vertebroplasty – a special kind of cement is injected into compressed vertebrae to help stabilize fractures, thereby easing pain.

These are only a few surgical options for back pain that does not respond to non-surgical treatment. If you have persistent pain and you think surgery may be helpful, you can schedule an appointment with a physician but always consider a second opinion.

Back injury claims may be filed if negligence was the cause of your boating accident. The claim could compensate you for medical bills and other expenses. Considering this, it is important to: 

  • follow your doctor’s orders;
  • show up at medical appointments; and
  • save detailed records of your medical care.

3 Signs that a Back Injury Requires Medical Care

The following may indicate that you have sustained a fracture or serious condition: 

  • trauma – any trauma, such as a slip and fall accident, can cause a fracture, X-rays or other imaging tests may be required;
  • numbness or tingling – these symptoms usually indicate that nerves are irritated or damaged, and if treatment is not sought, you could suffer permanent damage; and
  • uncontrolled bowel/bladder – may indicate minor paralysis or cauda equine syndrome, which should be treated immediately.

There are several symptoms to be aware of in any type of injury to the back. The symptoms of back injury include two main areas of the spinal cord: chest level (or thoracic) and lower back (or lumbar sacral). Both types of injury exhibit similar symptoms:

  • Loss of control of bowel and/or bladder function
  • Numbness in the back and or legs
  • Changes in sensory function
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Pain
  • A weakness or even paralysis in and around the injury

If you are in severe pain and unable to move, you should see a doctor right away. By doing so, it can protect you and your claim by having an assessment that may be used as evidence.

3 Ways to Aggravate a Back Injury

When injured employees return to work too soon, they risk worsening their injury and jeopardizing their injury claim

Prolonged sitting – Even if you’re allowed to take frequent breaks from your job, you should know that more weight per square inch is exerted on your lower back discs while you sit rather than while you stand. When you stand, your legs bear a lot of weight, but when you sit, your lower back gets the lion’s share.

Bending at the waist – If you bend over without bending your knees, you can easily strain your lower back.

Sudden jolts – Stormy weather can cause sudden jolts on a boat, which could aggravate an injured spine. It would be beneficial to speak with an injury lawyer in New Orleans after you’ve suffered a serious maritime injury. A shipping lawyer well-versed in admiralty law can help you prepare a claim to fight for the compensation you deserve. Although we are based in New Orleans, we represent clients throughout the country.

Contact a Jones Act Lawyer

Attorney Timothy Young in Louisiana understands that general maritime law provides you with certain protections your employer may not want you to know about. The maritime law firm in New Orleans, The Young Firm, can help you if you have suffered boat accident injuries, an offshore accident or other injuries that fall under maritime law or the Jones Act.

Though we are based in Louisiana, we are ready and able to help injured victims throughout the U.S. Order our free Maritime Injury Law guide and/or our guide to what to do when you are injured offshore to learn all about your rights as an injured worker.

When you are ready to get started with your Jones Act injury case, we urge you to contact us today for a FREE case evaluation – call toll-free at (866) 938-6113.

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