Can You Seek Financial Compensation for an Annular Tear or Fissure?

An annular fissure tear or fissure is related to the ligaments that connect your vertebrae to the discs in your spine. The ligaments surround the nucleus of the discs with a strong ring of cartilage fibers. These fibers are called annulus fibrosis.

The nucleus that they surround is soft and jelly-like. The nucleus of each disc acts as a shock absorber for our bodies, though it will degenerate over time as it endures the impacts of daily life and the stress we put on our bodies.

Annular tears or annular fissures can have serious consequences for patients. This includes major financial costs as well as non-financial costs. Depending on how a person’s annular tear or fissure occurs, they may be entitled to compensation for their expenses.

How do annular tears of fissures happen?

The annular fibrosis that surrounds a disc’s nucleus is extremely durable. However, like the rest of our bodies, the annular fibrosis can wear down over time. However, the annular fibrosis can also be damaged due to a traumatic accident and repetitive stress caused on-the-job.

Annular tears are associated more with overuse and trauma. Annular fissures are more associated with wear-and-tear injuries (breaking down over time).

Some of the most common traumatic accidents that can cause annular tears include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls (including falls from heights and slip and fall accidents)
  • Forklift or heavy machinery accidents
  • Getting struck by a heavy object
  • Other work-related incidents

Repetitive stress, such as the following, can cause annular tears and fissures as well:

  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Continual lifting of heavy objects
  • Bending at the waist
  • Constant twisting of the lower back
  • Climbing stairs and ladders

Because of the nature of repetitive stress injuries, it may be harder to pinpoint the workplace as the cause of the annular fissure or tear. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney will be able to help assist with proving the injury had a workplace cause.

What are the effects of an annular tear or fissure?

One of the first signs of an annular fissure or tear is localized pain in the lower back that results from the nerve endings in the spinal cord being exposed. A person may also experience leg pain. It is common for back and leg pain associated with annular tears or fissures to become worse with physical strain, when coughing or sneezing, or while sitting. Other signs of an annular tear or fissure include numbness, tingling, and burning in affected areas.

These injuries are treatable. Without treatment, a person’s condition will continue to deteriorate, and a victim may experience debilitating pain.

Many victims with annular tears or fissures may not be able to work, and they often incur tremendous medical bills for treatment.

What kind of compensation could you be entitled to?

If your annular fissure or tear happened at work or due to another person’s negligence, you could be entitled to medical malpractice compensation. Workers’ compensation insurance should cover an employee who sustained their injury on-the-job. A personal injury lawsuit may need to be filed against the at-fault party for non-work injuries.

Those who have suffered an annular tear or fissure may be entitled to:

  • Medical expenses related to the incident
  • Lost wages and benefits if you cannot work
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages
  • Possible punitive damages against those responsible

A skilled Portland personal injury attorney will understand the complexities of these cases and guide you towards the path of maximum compensation.