Motor vehicle accidents are, unfortunately, all too common on our roadways.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,063,428 police-reported non-fatal traffic crashes occurred in 2021, resulting in countless back injuries experienced by those involved.
Back injuries can have a profound impact on an individual’s quality of life, leading to pain, discomfort, and sometimes even long-term disability.
If you’ve sustained a back injury in a car accident, the skilled attorneys at Thistle Law can help you decide whether or not you may be eligible for a settlement.
Read on to learn about the most common back injuries resulting from car accidents, signs and symptoms to look out for, the types of settlements available, the settlement process, and how a car accident attorney can assist you.
Common Back Injuries from Car Accidents
Car accidents can cause a variety of back injuries, and the severity of these injuries can vary significantly.
The most common back injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the neck and upper spine are subjected to sudden, forceful movement, leading to soft tissue injuries, muscle strain, and neck pain. Whiplash can also cause referred pain in the upper and lower back.
- Herniated Disc: A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can happen when the impact of a car accident causes the inner gel-like substance of a spinal disc to leak out and put pressure on nearby nerves, leading to pain, numbness, and weakness in the back, as well as radiating pain into the arms or legs.
- Spinal Fractures: The force of a collision can lead to fractures or breaks in the spinal vertebrae. These fractures can cause severe back pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis, depending on the location and severity of the injury.
- Lower Back Injuries: Lumbar spine injuries are common in car accidents. These injuries may result in strains, sprains, or fractures in the lower back, leading to pain, limited mobility, and difficulties in performing daily activities.
Signs and Symptoms of a Back Injury
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a back injury is crucial for seeking timely medical treatment and pursuing a settlement claim.
Common signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain: Persistent or severe pain in the back or neck, which may worsen with movement or pressure, is a primary symptom of a back injury.
- Numbness or Tingling: Loss of sensation or a tingling sensation in the back, arms, or legs can indicate nerve damage from a back injury.
- Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the back, arms, or legs, or difficulty moving, can indicate a serious back injury.
- Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty bending, twisting, or turning the back, neck, or hips can signify a back injury.
- Radiating Pain: Pain that travels from the back into other areas, such as the arms or legs, may indicate nerve compression or damage.
What Type of Settlement Can You Get for a Back Injury?
The type of settlement you can receive for a back injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident depends on various factors, including the severity of the injury, the impact on your life, and the circumstances of the accident.
Settlements typically aim to compensate victims for:
- Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of doctor’s visits, surgeries, physical therapy, medication, and any other necessary medical treatments related to your back injury.
- Lost Wages: If your back injury forces you to miss work, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income, including future earnings, if the injury leads to long-term disability.
- Pain and Suffering: This category covers the physical and emotional distress caused by the back injury, including chronic pain, mental anguish, car accident PTSD, or reduced quality of life.
- Disability and Rehabilitation: If the back injury results in a disability or the need for ongoing rehabilitation, you may be eligible for compensation to cover these long-term costs.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, you can seek compensation for repair or replacement costs.
The Process for Receiving a Settlement
Receiving a settlement for a back injury from a motor vehicle accident typically involves several steps:
- Seek Medical Attention: It’s crucial to see a healthcare provider immediately after the accident, even if you don’t initially experience severe symptoms. Documenting your injuries and treatment is essential for your claim.
- Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and medical records, to help support your case.
- Consult an Attorney: It’s advisable to consult a PA car accident attorney with experience in motor vehicle accident cases. They can assess the strength of your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and guide you through the legal process.
- File a Claim: Your personal injury attorney will help you file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They will negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement.
- Negotiation: The insurance company may offer a settlement, which your attorney will review and negotiate if necessary to ensure it adequately covers your expenses and losses.
- Litigation: If negotiations fail to yield a fair settlement, your attorney may recommend taking the case to court, where a judge and jury will determine the outcome.
Contact the experienced attorneys at Thistle Law. We can help you successfully file your claim.