An injury to your tailbone, or coccyx, can cause discomfort, pain or nerve damage. You may be in so much pain that you need to take time off of work to recover. You may also lose work time to attend doctor visits, therapy and follow-up appointments.
What Is a Coccyx Injury?
When you injure your coccyx, you bruise, dislocate or fracture your tailbone. It is the triangle-shaped bone at the base of your vertebrae. The coccyx consists of a few bony segments that joints and ligaments hold together.
A coccyx fracture can lead to coccydynia, which is persistent pain while seated.
How Tailbone Injuries Happen
Coccyx injuries are usually a result of the following:
- A fall onto a hard surface into the seated position. This is the most common cause of coccyx trauma.
- A direct blow, usually during sports.
- Repetitive motions, such as bicycling.
- Trauma during childbirth.
Women are more prone to tailbone injuries because their pelvis shape exposes the coccyx more than men. Women can also suffer a coccyx injury during childbirth.
Coccyx Injury Symptoms
If you experience an injury to your tailbone, you may have the following symptoms:
- Visible bruising or swelling around the coccyx area
- Severe tenderness or pain on or near the tailbone
- Pain or numbness after sitting for a long time
The pain can feel achy and dull. It can also be sharp when you sit or rise to a standing position. Going to the bathroom can also cause pain.
A severe injury could include numbness or weakness in the arms and legs, neck or back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control, or even paralysis.
How Are Coccyx Injuries Treated?
A doctor may perform a physical exam and obtain your medical history. The exam may include the following:
- Neurological exam
- Vertebral column or spine exam
- Rectal exam to check for pain and fractures
The treatment you receive for a tailbone injury depends on the severity of the trauma. You may need to apply ice to the area a few times daily to relieve pain. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe another pain medication. In severe cases, you may require local anesthetic injections or surgery.
A Tailbone Injury May Affect the Way You Sit
You may need to avoid sitting for long periods. When seated, you may need a special cushion to relieve pressure on the tailbone or sit in a position that keeps you from putting weight on the area.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Coccyx Injury?
Trauma to the tailbone happens after falling in most cases. You may slip on an icy sidewalk, for example, or a wet floor that has just been mopped.
If you sustain a tailbone injury after slipping and falling in a public place, you may have a claim. Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to maintain the safety of their buildings and sidewalks. They are required to make reasonable efforts to:
- Repair loose steps
- Fix uneven flooring
- Remove ice, snow and water
- Post signs for wet floors
How a Tailbone Injury Can Affect Your Ability To Work
You may need time off of work following a coccyx injury. If your job requires you to sit for long periods, your injury may compromise your ability to work. You may also experience pain that is too severe for you to concentrate on your job. If you are taking strong pain medication, you may be unable to drive to work or perform specific tasks due to safety concerns.
You may also miss work when you have doctor appointments, follow-up visits, or time off for recovery following surgery. Chronic pain after a coccyx injury may lead to further appointments and treatment.
Your inability to work after an injury may cause you to lose vital income. If you have a claim, you may be able to receive compensation for the money you lose during time off of work.
An Attorney Can Review Your Case
If you slipped and fell in a public place, you may have a case against the property owner. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a claim following a tailbone injury. An attorney can review the details of your accident to see if negligence plays a role.
You may also get help from a personal injury lawyer to deal with the insurance company. Like most corporations, insurance companies want to maximize profits while reducing expenses. They may not offer you the total amount that your case is worth.
Your personal injury lawyer has experience with insurance companies and knows the value of your claim. Working with an attorney can ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your coccyx injury claim.
Seeking Help Soon After an Accident
New York has laws regarding the statute of limitations for filing personal injury cases. Generally speaking, you may have a three-year statute of limitations. However, this time frame is not the same for every case. Exceptions exist that may make your time frame for filing a notice of claim longer or shorter.
The statute of limitations is considerably shorter for government and municipal cases. If you slipped and fell in a government or municipal building, for example, or on a city bus or the subway, you may have only 90 days to file a notice of claim.
The most practical way to determine how long you have to file a claim is to consult a personal injury attorney. The law can be tricky to interpret on your own.
What Damages Can You Receive After a Tailbone Injury?
You can potentially receive economic and noneconomic damages in a personal injury case.
Economic damages are compensation on which you can put a monetary value. These damages include:
- Medical bills for hospital visits, doctor appointments, therapy and other related expenses
- Property damage
- Past and future wages due to missed work time
Noneconomic damages are things that carry value, but don’t have a monetary amount assigned to them. They include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
Factors That Affect the Amount of Damages Recovered
A variety of factors can play into the amount of damages a person recovers in a personal injury claim. Whether the case goes to trial before a jury or a defendant and insurance company settle out of court, these things can affect the final outcome:
- The severity of the tailbone injury
- Mental trauma
- Permanent nerve damage
- Loss of work time
- Available insurance coverage
Amount of Damages Recoverable in a Personal Injury Case
Each personal injury case is unique, and the circumstances among cases can vary widely. Lower settlements can be near $20,000, while higher settlements can be $80,000. However, with each case being one of a kind, it’s hard to predict.
You can get more detailed information by consulting a personal injury attorney regarding your coccyx injury.
Cellino Law Can Help You With Your Coccyx Injury Case
The team at Cellino Law can review your case free of charge. Our initial consultation is free, and you don’t pay us unless you win your case. Our attorneys will work to make sure you recover the amount your case is worth. Call our office today to learn more about your claim.