You were working a few stories up when your worst nightmare came true: the scaffolding that you were working on suddenly collapsed. You knew that it looked a little uneven today and had mentioned it, but your employer guaranteed that it was safe.

Now, suffering a broken back and lying in your hospital bed, you are frustrated to know that this injury could have been prevented. You don’t know yet if your spinal cord has been significantly damaged, and you haven’t been allowed to move at all. You’re waiting on imaging test results and neurological tests to find out how serious the damage is.

A spinal injury like yours can be life-altering. Even if you don’t suffer spinal cord injuries, the damage to your spine can be serious. You could need surgery to repair broken vertebrae or have to wear a brace for many months while your injury heals. Surgery may be needed before you wear a brace if the spine is no longer stable and could move out of position.

This is a devastating injury that could impact your ability to work, walk, move normally or live a regular life in the future. Even if this is only temporary, you’re going to lose months of time on the job. It’s important that you file a claim for workers’ compensation through your employer so that you can receive coverage for the medical care you need. You may also receive coverage for your lost wages and support with vocational rehabilitation so that you can find a job in the future (if possible and if you can’t return to your own). Our site has more information on what you can do if you’ve been impacted by a spinal injury.