The human body simply is not designed to absorb the forces associated with a collision between two or more vehicles, which leaves drivers and passengers at risk for car accident back injuries.
Types of Car Accident Back Injuries
Back injuries can take many forms after a car accident.
- Soft tissue bruising and tearing. The force of impact can stretch or tear tendons, muscles, and ligaments surrounding the vertebra. This type of injury can affect thousands of nerve endings, resulting in severe pain.
- Herniated disc. The vertebrae are separated by discs that cushion and protect the spine. When a disc is displaced and puts pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, this is called a herniated disc. This type of injury is characterized by numbness in the legs and sudden, intense pain in the lower part of the back.
- Discogenic pain. When the spinal discs are damaged due to acute trauma, patients may experience sudden, sharp pain that is either isolated in the damaged disc area or radiates to the legs, buttocks, groin, and feet. Bending, sitting, or standing often aggravates this type of injury.
- Facet joint injuries. Facet joints help support the weight of your body and facilitate movement. They are surrounded by a membrane that releases fluid to lubricate the joints and allows the spine to move easily. Muscle spasms during physical activity are the most common symptom of facet joint injuries
- Thoracic spine injuries. Located in the upper back, the thoracic spine connects the ribs and chest. High-velocity car accidents can cause sprains or fractures that create permanent nerve damage to this area.
- Lumbar spine injuries. The lumbar spine is made of the five largest vertebrae and the associated muscles that provide stability for the spine, which means injuries to this area are extremely painful. Lumbar spine injuries are characterized by swelling, bruising, tenderness, and limited mobility.
- Spinal cord injuries. The most severe type of back injury, a spinal cord injury often results in long-term disability due to partial or total paralysis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Injuries
Back injuries can be diagnosed by a physical examination and an assessment of your symptoms, as well as various diagnostic tests. X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, bone scans, and myelograms. These are some of the various tests your doctor may order if physical therapy or chiropractic care does not resolve the symptoms of pain.
Treatment for a back injury will depend upon the type and severity. Mild injuries often resolve over time with rest and pain medication. More serious injuries may require physical therapy, chiropractic care, or injections to control inflammation. When conservative treatment does not offer the desired recovery from the back injuries, surgery may be necessary to reduce excess pressure on the spinal cord or the surrounding nerves.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
In California, when you are not dealing with a government entity, you have up to two years to file a lawsuit to protect your rights to recover from accident-related injuries, although it is best to get your case started as soon as possible so supporting evidence and witness testimony can be collected early while the evidence is available and the incident is still fresh in everyone's mind.
Your claim may include several different categories of damages:
- Medical care. The majority of back injuries require medical care, these costs might include diagnostic tests, medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care, surgery, pain management and continuing doctor visits.
- Lost wages. A back injury can leave you unable to work for weeks, months, or even a lifetime, depending upon the nature of the injury and the type of work you perform. If you have an extremely physical job, a serious back injury could also reduce your future earning potential by making it difficult or impossible to perform your previous duties.
- Other Economic Losses. These losses might include extra expenses you have to spend to care for your needs, such as assistive devices, or such things as damage to credit, etc.
- Pain and suffering. If your injury causes chronic pain, you may have trouble sleeping, performing basic chores, caring for your children, engaging in sexual relations or engaging in hobbies you once enjoyed. Pain and suffering compensation is intended to provide financial reimbursement for all the ways in which your injuries has reduced your overall quality of life.
The legal team at the Inland Empire Law Group is committed to helping California residents who've suffered back injuries in accidents caused by another driver's negligence seek the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation at either our Rancho Cucamonga or our Victorville locations. You can reach us at 909-481-0100, or by submitting your information confidentially.