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Immediate Actions for Back Injury After Car Crash

Experiencing back pain after a car accident can be incredibly challenging. Whether it's a minor car crash or a severe collision, the impact on your spinal cord can lead to serious injuries. The pain can range from mild to severe, from herniated discs to muscle strains, affecting your daily life.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for approximately 46% of new spinal cord injuries each year in the United States. The pain can range from mild to severe, from herniated discs to muscle strains, affecting your daily life.

Even mild back or neck pain shouldn't be ignored after a car accident. Delayed back pain could indicate more severe injuries like spinal fractures or spinal cord damage. Whether experiencing sharp pain, muscle spasms, or numbness, seeking prompt medical attention is key to ensuring your well-being.

Physical therapy and non-surgical treatment options can aid in recovery, but insurance claims and legal procedures may require the expertise of an experienced car accident attorney. You may be entitled to pain and suffering compensation to help cover extensive medical care and ongoing treatment for chronic back pain.

Types of Back Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents

Unfortunately, back pain is one of the most common types of injuries suffered from car accidents. Motor vehicle accidents can cause various back injuries, from minor sprains and strains to more severe spinal cord trauma and chronic pain. Whiplash is the most commonly reported injury in car accidents; this involves hyperextension and hyperflexion of the neck muscles, which can cause pain and stiffness.

Other common back injuries from car accidents include:

  • Disc herniation
  • Fractures to vertebrae
  • Ligament damage
  • Muscle spasms. 

While some back pain may present shortly after the accident, other more severe injuries may take longer for symptoms to appear. So it's important to seek medical attention even if your pain is minor or nonexistent.

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The Dangers of Internal Injuries

Whiplash is one of the most common types of injuries suffered in a car accident. It occurs when the head and neck are suddenly forced forward and backward, stretching and straining the muscles and ligaments in the neck area. Symptoms of whiplash may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Dizziness.

Muscle Strains and Sprains

A muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers are stretched or torn, and a sprain is an injury to a ligament. This connective tissue connects bones at joints. They are common injuries in car accidents due to the sudden force of impact. Symptoms include:

  • Pain, 
  • Swelling 
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Limited range of motion.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition in which the intervertebral discs become weakened or worn down. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain that radiates to the arms or legs
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Weakness
  • Limited range of motion. 

This can occur due to aging but can also be caused by trauma, such as car accidents.

Spinal Cord Injuries

In some cases, car accidents can cause traumatic spinal cord injuries. These can range from minor nerve damage to complete paralysis. Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of sensation or movement in the affected area
  • Pain and weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Difficulty breathing.

Lumbar Spine Injury From Car Accident

Lumbar spine injuries are common in motor vehicle accidents. They can range from minor strains and sprains to more severe trauma, such as fractures or herniated discs. Symptoms may include:

  • Lower back pain and stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Limited range of motion
  • Numbness and tingling in the legs

Thoracic Spine Injury Caused by a Car Accident

Car accidents can also cause thoracic spine injuries. These injuries involve the middle back and are often more serious than those associated with the lumbar spine. Symptoms may include:

  • Localized pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms or legs
  • Limited range of motion.

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Spinal Cord Injury After Car Accident

Spinal cord injuries resulting from a car accident can be some of the most traumatic and life-changing experiences for victims. Damage to the spinal cord, located inside the vertebrae and runs from the neck down to the lower back, can cause:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis 
  • Or even death in extreme cases

A spinal cord injury may occur due to direct trauma from a crash or due to the forceful movement of the body during a collision. Victims need immediate medical attention after an auto accident; early diagnosis and treatment are important for reducing pain and restoring mobility.

 

Herniated Discs From Car Accident

Herniated discs in the lower back can be a common injury following a car accident. Disc herniation occurs when the cartilage between vertebrae is crushed or torn, causing the inner disc contents to bulge through the layers of cartilage. Symptoms of a herniated disc may include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in affected areas

If you experience these symptoms after a car accident, it's important to seek medical attention immediately to determine if you have a herniated disc and begin treatment accordingly.

 

Common Symptoms of a Back Injury 

After a car crash, back injuries may not be immediately evident. But if you experience any of the following symptoms - even mild ones - it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Remember to consider the potential severity of your injury; take proactive steps towards protecting yourself and get help as soon as possible.

Don't take any risks! Back injuries can cause permanent impairments, so it's important to remember the typical signs and symptoms to get fast medical help when necessary.

Symptoms that are warning signs of a back injury:

  • Pain can be mild, moderate, or severe.
  • Pain that radiates down the buttocks and legs.
  • Stiffness.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs, or feet.
  • Difficulty standing or walking.
  • Muscle spasms.

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What to Do if You Feel Back Pain after a Car Accident

Experiencing a car accident can be a distressing and disorienting event. In the aftermath, staying calm and taking the necessary steps to guarantee your safety and well-being is important. Here are some useful actions to consider immediately following a car accident:

  1. Check for Injuries: Prioritize assessing yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, seek medical attention immediately by calling emergency services.
  2. Move to Safety: If it's safe, move your vehicle to the side of the road to prevent further accidents. Turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers.
  3. Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Note details such as names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy numbers.
  4. Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant signage or landmarks. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  5. Notify Authorities: In many jurisdictions, it's mandatory to report a car accident to the police, especially if there are injuries or significant property damage. Contact local law enforcement to file a report.
  6. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don't feel injured immediately after the accident, seeking medical evaluation is advisable. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal trauma, may not be immediately apparent.
  7. Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance provider about the accident immediately. Provide them with accurate details and cooperate with any investigations.
  8. Keep Records: Maintain a file with all relevant documents related to the accident, including the police report, medical bills, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies.
  9. Follow-up: Attend any follow-up medical appointments and adhere to treatment plans prescribed by healthcare professionals. Keep your insurance company informed of any developments in your recovery process.
  10. Consider Legal Assistance: If facing challenges with insurance claims or liability issues, consider consulting with a qualified attorney specializing in personal injury cases.

By following these useful steps, you can more effectively navigate the aftermath of a car accident. This helps you protect your rights and receive the support you need for recovery. Remember, safety should always be your top priority in any emergency.

 

Treatment for back injuries

Treatment for back injuries depends largely on the severity of the injury. In mild cases, rest and physical therapy can help relieve pain and restore movement. In moderate to severe cases, surgery might be necessary to repair damaged discs or vertebrae. Common Treatments Include:

  • Diagnosis using an MRI, CT scans, or X-rays.

Short-Term Care May Include:

  • Resting for a few days after the accident.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
  • Prescribed painkillers or muscle relaxants.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Corticosteroid injections.
  • Chiropractic care.  

Long-Term Care Which May Include:

  • Surgery may be required for spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, and fractures.
  • Physical, occupational, or speech therapy.
  • Support groups.

By documenting your medical treatment, you prioritize your health and lay the groundwork for securing the compensation you deserve for your back injury. Remember to keep thorough records of all medical appointments, treatments received, prescriptions, and any related expenses to support your claim effectively.

 

Compensation for a Back Injury Due to a Car Accident

You might be entitled to compensation if injured in a car accident. Compensation could come from an insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit and will depend on the severity of the injury and any lost wages resulting from it. It must be proven that the negligence of another person or party caused the injury to receive compensation. Speaking with a qualified car accident lawyer who can advise you on your legal rights and the best course of action is important.

From a motorcycle accident, our client received a remarkable $375,000 in compensation. Additionally, another client, injured in an auto accident involving a Septa Bus in Philadelphia, was awarded $190,000.  These cases highlight our commitment to securing substantial compensation for our clients. Our website provides more examples of successful outcomes and compensation payouts.

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Discuss Your Legal Options with a Personal Injury Attorney

The effects of a back injury can be life-changing, creating pain that can linger for years. When another person's negligence has caused the accident, it is important to seek legal counsel to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The Muller Brazil law firm has the expertise and experience to represent victims of back injury car accidents. An experienced personal injury attorney will consider all factors in your case and fight for the best outcome possible.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Muller Brazil stands by your side, ready to provide you with legal counsel and advice to navigate complicated personal injury claims. Let us help you get the justice and compensation that you deserve.

 

FAQ

Can a back injury from a car accident result in facet joint injuries?

Yes, car accidents can cause various types of back injuries, including facet joint injuries. Facet joints are small stabilizing joints located between and behind adjacent vertebrae in the spine. The sudden impact of a car accident can strain or injury these joints, resulting in pain and reduced mobility.

What are soft tissue injuries, and how are they related to back injuries from car accidents?

Soft tissue injuries refer to muscle, ligament, and tendon damage throughout the body. In the context of car accidents, soft tissue injuries are common and can occur in the back due to the sudden force of impact. These injuries may include muscle strains, ligament sprains, and other soft tissue damage, leading to symptoms such as pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.

How soon should I seek medical attention after a car accident-related back injury?

You should seek medical attention promptly after experiencing a back injury in a car accident, even if symptoms initially seem minor. Delayed treatment can exacerbate injuries and prolong recovery time. Additionally, seeking medical evaluation soon after the accident can help document injuries for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

What should I do if I suspect I have sustained a back injury from a car accident?

If you suspect you've sustained a back injury in a car accident, it is important to prioritize your health and well-being. Seek medical attention immediately to assess the extent of your injuries and receive appropriate treatment. Additionally, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights and explore options for seeking compensation for your injuries.

Are all back injuries from car accidents immediately apparent?

No, not all back injuries from car accidents are immediately apparent. While some injuries may cause immediate pain or discomfort, others, such as soft tissue injuries or internal damage, may take time to manifest symptoms. You must monitor your condition closely after a car accident and seek medical attention if you experience any new or worsening symptoms.

Can I pursue compensation for a back injury sustained in a car accident through insurance claims or legal action?

Yes, if you've sustained a back injury in a car accident due to another party's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the injury. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve.

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Meet the Author

Amy Senerth - Associate Attorney

Amy A. Senerth is a trial attorney at Muller Brazil and My Vaccine Lawyer. Ms. Senerth’s practice includes representing vaccine injury victims, and individuals who suffer catastrophic personal injuries as a result of unsafe drugs and medical devices, defective products, unsafe premises, auto, bicycle, and construction accidents. Prior to joining Muller Brazil, Ms. Senerth worked at a litigation firm specializing in worker’s compensation subrogation, and representing injured workers in third party and product liability cases.

Learn more about Amy Senerth