Can I Get Compensation for My Back Pain After a Car Crash?August 17, 2021
- 1. The Spine Is Vulnerable During a Traumatic Car Accident
- 2. Common Types of Back Injuries After a Car Accident
- 3. Signs Your Pain is an Undiagnosed Back Injury
- 4. What Is an Average Settlement for a Back Injury?
- 5. People With Back Injuries Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
- 6. Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Demanding Justice for Alabama Car Accident Victims
It’s not uncommon to experience back pain after a car accident, but what might seem like minor aches and pains may actually be a the early signs of a serious injury. Car accidents can damage the spine’s delicate network of soft tissues, connective ligaments, and nerves, leaving injured people with life-altering injuries.
Have you suffered a back injury because of someone else’s reckless behavior? Keep reading to learn about common back injuries, and whether you can get compensation after your motor vehicle accident.
The Spine Is Vulnerable During a Traumatic Car Accident
The spine is divided into three regions: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (lower back).
Injuries to the upper back are relatively rare, as the ribs and other bones immobilize this part of the spine and protect the delicate nerves and soft tissues from damage. However, lower back pain and neck injuries are much more common. These areas absorb the brunt of the impact during a car accident, and without ribs to stabilize them, they can sustain serious injuries.
Generally speaking, the spine is made up of several components:
- Vertebral bodies: The bones that make up the spine, protect the spinal cord, and support your body.
- Spinal cord: The communication highway that sends messages from the brain to the other parts of your body.
- Nerves: Bundles of nerves branch off the spinal cord and into your limbs and other body parts.
- Spinal discs: Also known as intervertebral discs, these are doughnut-shaped shock absorbers that sit in between your vertebrae.
- Muscles and ligaments: Soft tissues that strengthen and support your spine.
Unfortunately, a car crash can damage multiple parts of your spine. For example, you could fracture vertebral bodies, injure discs, and experience muscle swelling that puts pressure on your spinal nerves.
Common Types of Back Injuries After a Car Accident
Car accidents, however “mild,” can have devastating effects on the back and spine, which aren’t designed to absorb the impact of one vehicle crashing into another. When the unthinkable happens, there are a few common injuries that can happen as a result:
Whiplash happens when the head and neck whip forward and backward forcefully, damaging the soft tissues in the neck. Typical symptoms include stiffness, headaches, numbness, fatigue, and sometimes even dizziness and blurred vision. It is one of the most common injuries after a car accident, particularly rear-end collisions.
During a collision, impact forces can push the jelly-like inside of a disc through its tougher exterior, resulting in a herniated or ruptured disc. The rupture can cause pinched nerves or put pressure on the spinal cord, causing pain and numbness in the back, neck, arms, or legs.
Back Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries. A back sprain happens when ligaments (tissues that connect two bones together) are stretched or torn. Strains are similar, but affect muscles and tendons (which connect muscle to bone). Persistent pain and muscle spasms are typical with back sprains and strains. While some mild sprains and strains heal in a matter of months, more serious soft tissue injuries can take a year or more to resolve.
Slipped Vertebra (Spondylolisthesis)
Trauma can sometimes push your vertebrae out of alignment. When a vertebral body is pushed out of place and onto the vertebra below, doctors call it a spondylolisthesis. While a mild slipped vertebra may be painless, a more severe slippage can cause chronic pain and require surgery.
The forces of a car collision sometimes break bones, including the bones in your back. Common fractures include compression fractures, broken spinous processes, and fracture-dislocations.
Degenerative Spinal Disorders
Age-related processes that cause chronic back pain can be made worse by a traumatic car accident. Although the crash might not have been the initial cause of your back pain, it may aggravate symptoms and accelerate the progression of a disorder. In these cases, you should speak with a lawyer about your options.
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Signs Your Pain is an Undiagnosed Back Injury
After a car accident, adrenaline floods your brain. This hormone puts you on high alert and allows you to make decisions and react under traumatic circumstances.
However, adrenaline can also mask feelings of pain and discomfort, which means many back injuries go undiagnosed after a traumatic car accident. In fact, it may take several days before you realize that you have a severe injury.
If you’re experiencing pain in your limbs, tingling, numbness, or discomfort that won’t go away, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will examine your back and may order imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs that can help identify the source of your pain.
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However, if you’re having difficulty walking or have trouble using the bathroom after a car accident, go to the emergency room immediately. You may have a serious condition (such as cauda equina syndrome) that requires immediate medical care. And if you’re worried about medical bills, remember: you can include all of your medical costs in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
What Is an Average Settlement for a Back Injury?
The settlement amount for back injury claims depends on your unique situation and on the severity of the injury. To understand the financial value of your claim, you need to speak with an experienced attorney.
It’s important to understand everything that goes into calculating a car accident settlement. Your attorney will consider:
- Economic damages include things like medical expenses and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, as well as reduced quality of life due to being unable to enjoy favorite activities, may also be considered.
Do not trust an online calculator to provide you with a fair settlement value. These calculations can be very complex, and non-economic damages in particular require human understanding. An experienced attorney can help you figure out what your personal injury case is worth, and fight to ensure you receive fair compensation.
People With Back Injuries Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you make a claim to the insurance company seeking compensation for your back pain, you’ll need to speak with an insurance adjuster. This person works for the insurance company, and their job is to close your accident case as quickly and cheaply as possible. This may mean they use manipulative tactics to get you to agree to a low settlement.
Do not be tempted to take this initial offer. Many people with back injuries underestimate their financial needs, including ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, lost wages, future revision surgeries, and more. Accepting an injury settlement usually means you no longer have the right to seek further compensation, so if you settle for too little, it could leave you unable to provide for yourself and your family over the long term.
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Before you agree to anything, you should speak with a personal injury attorney. They can guide you through the insurance claim process, and help you understand what’s a fair settlement for your injuries. And if the adjuster tries to deny your claim because you had a preexisting condition or because it’s “only whiplash,” you’ll have someone on your side to fight back.
Depending on the nature of your claim, the at-fault driver and their insurance company may owe you compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other costs.
When you work with an experienced car accident lawyer, they can help you estimate your full range of damages. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we frequently consult with physicians, long-term care planners, and other experts before we make or respond to a settlement offer. We’ll also help you gather your medical records and compile evidence, build you a strong case, and negotiate on your behalf. We work hard to either get a higher settlement offer from the insurance company or, if necessary, defend your interests at trial.
To learn more about our detail-oriented approach to back injury cases, contact us today.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Demanding Justice for Alabama Car Accident Victims
We believe that people hurt by the reckless actions of others deserve accountability, answers, and financial compensation. If you’re struggling with life-changing back pain after an auto accident, you deserve resources, peace of mind, and space to heal.
With decades of experience, our law firm strives to get our clients in Alabama and Mississippi the compensation they need after traumatic car accident injuries. Call 251-888-8888 today or contact us online for your free consultation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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