Sciatica is a fairly common injury after a slip and fall accident. Learn how to protect your right to compensation via a personal injury claim.
The term sciatica is used to refer to a painful condition where there is too much pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that extends from the lower back down the back of each of your legs.
Sciatica is usually the result of a herniated disc, sometimes called a slipped disc or ruptured disc. Sciatica can be caused by a slip and fall accident because the force of impact often causes a spinal disc to bulge out of its proper position.
Sciatica cases vary in severity, but even a relatively mild case can lead to back pain that makes it difficult to perform many of the activities of daily living.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Pain that radiates from the lower spine to your buttocks and down the back of the leg is a classic sign of sciatica. The pain typically only affects one side of the body and worsens when you cough or sneeze. Sitting for long periods of time is difficult, but walking or lying down may relieve symptoms.
A mild case of sciatica may resolve itself over time, However, more serious cases can result in permanent nerve damage. This can cause:
- Diminished sensitivity in the affected leg
- Weakness in the affected leg
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Making a Diagnosis
Sciatica is diagnosed with a physical exam where the doctor asks you to do activities that check your muscle strength and reflexes. Some imaging tests may be ordered as well. For example:
- CT scan
Sciatica can be treated in several different ways, including:
- Self-care. Stretching and using hot and cold packs on the affected area can address mild pain.
- Prescription medications. Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and/or narcotics can be used to help manage moderate sciatica pain.
- Steroid injections. For more serious cases of sciatica, injections can reduce pain by suppressing inflammation near the irritated nerves.
- Physical therapy. Therapy can involve a program of exercises to address flexibility, muscle weakness, and posture.
- Surgery. Operations can sometimes remove the portion of a herniated disc pressing on the nerve.
A personal injury settlement for sciatica that occurs as the result of a slip and fall accident can include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses, including anticipated future medical needs if your case causes a need for ongoing treatment
- Lost wages, including applicable loss of future earning potential if your sciatica affects your ability to return to work
- Pain and suffering, including both physical and emotional distress
Challenges Associated With Sciatica Personal Injury Claims
The biggest challenge associated with a sciatica personal injury claim is establishing causation. Although sciatica is a common slip and fall injury, it can also be caused by degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis, tumors, or pregnancy. Older people, those who are overweight, and those who suffer from diabetes are also considered to be at a high risk of developing sciatica. You may need to provide access to past medical records and testimony from experts who can state that your injury is not a preexisting condition.
Documenting how your pain affects your daily routine is another common challenge in sciatica cases. To maximize your pain and suffering compensation, you need to show how your pain makes it difficult to perform household chores, care for your children, exercise, or engage in physically active hobbies that you once enjoyed.
Protecting Your Right To A Fair Settlement
The best way to protect your legal rights following a slip and fall accident is to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can help assess the value of your case, gather the evidence needed to support your claim for damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with the legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault. Appointments are available at six convenient locations throughout the state of Louisiana.