Seeking Compensation for Coccyx or Sacral Fractures

By Roger Foisy on October 23rd, 2015

As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I have helped clients with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses receive the compensation they deserve. A coccyx or sacral fracture is not a common injury; however, it can have a large impact on a person’s ability to carry out their regular activities of living, including their ability to work.

sacrall fracture web version_w_2What Is a Coccyx or Sacral Fracture?

A coccyx or sacral fracture is colloquially referred to as a “broken tailbone”.

Both the coccyx and sacrum are located at the base of the spine. The coccyx is the last section of the vertebrae and the sacrum sits between the two hipbones and forms the base of the spinal column.

A coccyx or sacral fracture is simply when one or both of these bones are broken. Surgeries or other medical procedures are not typically used to repair a coccyx or sacral fracture, as this type of injury is often best left to heal on its own. Unfortunately, this can be a slow process and usually requires downtime and rest.

How Do Coccyx or Sacral Fractures Typically Happen?

The most common cause of these lower back injuries are slip and fall accidents, where someone falls and lands on that part of their back. They are more likely to happen in the winter, when the ice creates a slippery surface.

When someone fractures their coccyx or sacrum in a slip and fall, they can also suffer from lower lumbar back injury, pelvic fracture, or back strain.

Who Is Most Likely to Suffer a Coccyx or Sacral Fracture?

Although anyone can suffer a coccyx or sacral fracture, children and the elderly are more likely to experience this injury.

Most adults have padding and muscle at the lower part of their back that provides protection for these bones. Younger children are still developing, and therefore don’t have as much padding for their lower back. When they are playing and engaged in activity, they can have a fall that causes a fracture.

The elderly also have less padding to protect the lower back, as it deteriorates with age. Further, older adults have more fragile bones and are more prone to falling, which increases the likelihood of this injury occurring.

Seeking Compensation for Coccyx or Sacral Fractures

If you have sustained a coccyx or sacral fracture at the fault of another party and are seeking compensation, you must be able to accurately demonstrate and explain the impact the injury is having on your life in order to receive a fair settlement.

A coccyx or sacral fracture can have an effect on many areas of your life, including:

  • General Pain and Suffering

While a coccyx or sacral fracture is one of the least severe spine injuries, it can still cause significant pain and suffering. Many people find that lying down, sitting, standing, maneuvering, and just finding the right position can be painful.

Since the back is involved in so much of our regular movement, this injury can cause a lot of pain and problems with function.

You are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, which is why it is crucial to accurately describe your pain to your doctors (click here for a video explanation of how to effectively describe pain).

  • Occupation

Whether you work in a sedentary job requiring long periods of sitting or an active job requiring physical labour, this injury can make you unable to work for a period of time while you recover. Depending on the severity of the injury and your specific occupation, you may be unable to return to the work position you had before the injury, even after rehabilitation.

Although this injury tends to heal in time, some clients have lingering chronic pain that can impact their function and ability to work for the rest of their lives.

General damages tend to have a higher award if your injury significantly impacts your ability to carry on your employment or any employment.

  • Daily Tasks

If you have sustained a coccyx or sacral fracture, you may have trouble bending, twisting, lifting things, etc. All of these motions are required for many activities of daily living, such as housekeeping or caregiving.

While you recover, you may need to have help with these activities or modify them to make them easier for you to achieve. You may need to rely on your spouse, a child, or a friend to support you until your injury heals.

  • Recreation

If you enjoyed certain activities or sports before your injury, such as basketball, jogging, dancing, boating, etc., your injury may make it difficult or impossible for you to engage in those hobbies for a time.

Coccyx fracture_w_2Quantifying Damages

It’s important to quantify every bit of damage in your injury case to ensure you receive the settlement you’re entitled to.

As a personal injury lawyer, I find the input of an occupational therapist (OT) invaluable for accurately quantifying and precisely conveying my clients’ claims. I always recommend my clients work with an OT when recovering from injury, as the OT will:

  • Create a comprehensive, detailed medical assessment of your life before the injury and after (including activities you are no longer able to perform or for which you require assistance)
  • Adjust and modify your environments (your home, your workplace, etc.) to accommodate your injury
  • Assess the safety of your environment
  • Work with you toward recovery
  • Provide suggestions and assistance for returning to those activities you can still do

If you are suffering from a coccyx or sacral fracture, in addition to the recommendations from your health care team I would also suggest considering acupuncture. I have had clients with this injury who have found that acupuncture promotes blood flow to the areas of the injury, which can help reduce the length of time for recovery.

A lawyer who takes the time to fully understand your life and responsibilities before and after your accident will ensure you do not under-settle your case. With a thorough lawyer who gives your coccyx or sacral fracture case the time and attention it deserves, you should receive a fair settlement that will help to ease your financial burden during your recovery.

>> If you have sustained a coccyx or sacral fracture, or other personal injury at another party’s fault, please do not hesitate to contact me and my team of experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.

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