Back injuries are common, painful and, if serious, can lead to partial or total immobility.
Common but potentially serious back injuries include slipped or herniated discs, fractured vertebrae and spinal cord damage. Often these are the result of accidents or assaults.
If you’ve suffered a back injury due to negligence, a direct act or an omission by another person, or a private or public entity, you may be able to claim monetary compensation.
When to claim
You may be able to claim compensation if your back injury is a result of an accident or incident that was not your fault.
For example, if you slip on a wet floor in a shopping centre, trip over an uneven section of pavement in a public area or are injured in a faulty elevator, you may be entitled to compensation.
The onus lies with you to prove negligence. As a result, you will have to identify the party or parties that may be at fault. You will also have to collect evidence to support your claim.
Pursuing a back injury claim is complex and time consuming. By seeking the advice and services of an attorney specialising in personal injury law, you’ll ensure your claim has the best chance of success.
Who to claim damages from
How and where the back injury occurred determines who you can institute a claim against. If the accident happened on private property, such as a shop, office or in someone’s home, you may have a claim against the property owner.
If you’re injured in a public area, you may have a claim against a local, provincial or national government department, or a city or town council.
In the case of police assault, you may pursue a claim against the South African Police Services.
You can pursue a claim against a surgeon, doctor or hospital if you believe your back injury is a direct result of medical negligence.
If you were injured as a driver, passenger or pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident, you can lodge a claim against the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
What compensation to claim
Provided you have documentation and medical records to support your claim, you may be able to claim for:
- past and future medical expenses
- past and future loss of earnings
- general damages for pain and suffering.
How to pursue a back injury claim
The best way to pursue a back injury claim is to get professional help from a suitably qualified personal injury attorney.
The attorney can assist you in gathering evidence, including witness reports and expert medical opinions, to support your claim. You can assist by keeping your medical records and police reports, along with any other evidence – such as photographs – of your injury and how it occurred.
An attorney will also represent your interests in legal proceedings, helping ensure you get the compensation you deserve.