HomeMaritime Law BlogMaritime InjuriesWhen a Back Injury Claim under the Jones Act Involves Injury to the Spine

When a Back Injury Claim under the Jones Act Involves Injury to the Spine

Louisiana and neighboring states share two things: lots of work for seamen and lots of injuries sustained on the job. Many times these injuries involve the back and neck, leading to spinal cord injuries. This year alone, more than one million workers will incur a back injury on the job and one in five workplace injuries will involve the back, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The question is, will the costs of your back or neck injury be compensated? In short, the answer is yes. Seamen are protected by the Jones Act, which gives you the right to seek compensation from your employer for any preventable injury on the job.

A soft tissue spine injury – also called a sprain or strain injury – is considered much less serious than certain others. This type of injury generally heals by itself over time with negligible amounts of treatment; in all likelihood, you may have to apply hot and cold compresses for a few days or take it easy for a nominal amount of time. At worst, you will be back to your pre-accident capacity within a matter of weeks, or a month at most. Pursuing legal action through a back injury claim under the Jones Act and other maritime laws probably will not be worth your time and effort.

More serious spine injuries, however, can occur to the discs between your vertebrae, called intervertebral discs. The most common disc injuries include:

  • herniated discs (also called a “pinched nerve” or “blown disc”);
  • disc protrusions;
  • disc bulges; and
  • annular tears.

Maritime injuries to your intervertebral discs can have a lasting impact on your life, and especially on your ability to meet the rigorous requirements of seafaring work aboard a vessel. Reach out to a Jones Act lawyer who will file a back injury claim under the Jones Act on your behalf and relentlessly pursue the maintenance and cure benefits you are entitled to as per maritime laws.

It can be difficult, however, to know the difference between a back injury that will heal over time and something that is substantially more serious. A soft tissue injury, also called a sprain or strain, will result in back pain that lasts for a nominal number of days (generally just a few) and will improve on its own regardless of treatment.

However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately because you may be suffering from a more severe condition that could get worse without treatment:

  • difficulty urinating or painful urinating;
  • pain, numbness, weakness or tingling in one or both legs;
  • fever;
  • severe pain that does not get better over time; or
  • unintentional weight loss.

Approximately 85% of Americans will experience some sort of back pain in their lives, so discomfort doesn’t always signal a serious problem. However, if you are in constant pain and the symptoms do not subside after 24 to 48 hours, you should seek assistance from a medical professional.

Contact a Jones Act Attorney Who Can Help You after Maritime Accidents

The Jones Act law provides you with certain protections your employer may not want you to know about. An admiralty law attorney from The Young Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana, can help you if you have suffered boating accident injuries, an offshore accident or other injuries that fall under maritime law. Though we are based in Louisiana, we are ready and able to help injured victims with their back injury claims 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 504-680-4100.

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