Yes, a slip and fall can cause sciatica.
How a Slip and Fall Causes Sciatica
Sciatica can be a result of a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine. When you slip and fall, the trauma of the impact can cause a disc in your back to herniate (e.g., when a disc between the vertebrae tears and the nucleus pushes through that tear, pinching nearby nerves). If a disc herniates near the sciatic nerve, you may develop sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The symptoms and pain associated with sciatica can vary greatly depending on the person. But knowing what symptoms to look out for is the first step to determining if you have sciatica and the cause of it. Sciatica occurs when there is irritation at the sciatic nerve, which causes significant discomfort.
The sciatic nerve controls the muscles in the legs and buttocks, leading to significant weakness when irritated. The following is a list of symptoms associated with sciatica:
- Constant pain in your lower back
- Persistent pain in your buttocks or leg
- Muscle weakness or numbness
- Bowel or bladder issues
- Sudden sharp pain (often when sneezing, coughing, or sitting for a prolonged period of time)
In many cases, you will only feel symptoms on one side of your body. Knowing the symptoms associated with sciatica is not only important for you to seek out treatment. Identifying these symptoms and seeking medical attention can also directly impact your ability to file a personal injury claim.
Treating Sciatica after a Slip and Fall
Of course, simply knowing the symptoms of sciatica is just the first step. You will want to visit your doctor to confirm your symptoms are indeed sciatica. Hospitals use a variety of methods to confirm that you have sciatica. Those methods include:
- CT scans
These tests will confirm your injury and begin the treatment process. Depending on the severity of your sciatica, there are several available treatments. Those treatments include:
- Physical Therapy: Therapy can involve exercises intended to loosen muscles and improve flexibility.
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and more to address your symptoms.
- Steroid Injections: For serious cases of sciatica, steroid injections may be necessary to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to remove the part of the herniated disc that is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
While getting your symptoms addressed and getting yourself well is your primary goal here, it is not the only one. Like we briefly mentioned above, seeking medical attention can directly affect your personal injury claim.
Recovering Compensation for Your Sciatica from Your Slip and Fall
In the aftermath of slip and falls, your primary objective will be demonstrating fault and negligence. In most cases, that is a matter of establishing the elements of negligence which are:
Duty of Care
The at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care. For example, per premises liability laws, all property owners owe a duty of care to keep their homes or businesses safe for invited guests and visitors.
Breach of Duty
The party breached that duty. For example, the manager of a grocery store knows their fridge is leaking. The manager does not get the fridge fixed or place a “Wet Floor” sign in front of the spill. You slip and fall in the spill.
You must prove your injury resulted from the slip and fall. In some injury cases, demonstrating this is relatively simple. For example, if you slip and fall and break your arm, it is reasonably easy to prove causation in this case. But sciatica presents a different brand of issues.
Because sciatica is generally a degenerative condition, it is likely that the responsible party will argue that you had a pre-existing condition and that your fall did not cause it.
This could substantially lower what you can collect in a settlement. Particularly if you are someone above the age of 50. But this is also where your medical records and seeking treatment becomes valuable. If you can compare your MRIs, x-rays, etc. after your accident to your records from before the slip and fall, you prove that your condition is new.
Lastly, you must prove you suffered damages. This might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Discuss Your Case with an Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorney
Sciatica can be an expensive, often life-altering injury. After suffering such an injury, it is common to wonder how you will make ends meet. While S. Burke Law cannot guarantee you a particular dollar amount in a settlement, our injury attorney will fight to get you every cent you deserve.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury like sciatica in a slip and fall recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our slip and fall accident team will do everything in its power to get you the settlement you need. Call us at 404-842-7838.