If you have had an auto accident that was a significant enough impact to require you needing back surgery there is a good chance you can bring a civil claim for your auto accident against the other driver. This is in part because most accidents involving back surgery involve rear-end collisions. There are a variety of factors that will play a part in whether you can bring a successful auto accident civil suit.
One important piece of evidence in determining whether you have a case is the police report and accounts of any witnesses. If you were injured badly enough that you need back surgery you may not have been able to take witness statements yourself but the police should handle that. If the police charge the other driver or drivers with violations of Pennsylvania’s or New Jersey’s motor vehicle codes it will go a long way to helping prove negligence. But witness statements from people who have no interest in the outcome of your civil case can be helpful too. If you do need back surgery then you were likely rear-ended, and if your car was stopped when you were rear-ended then the striking car or cars are normally at fault. This is because the drivers of those cars must be paying attention to the road in front of them and following at a safe enough distance from you so they can stop in time when your car comes to a stop. Even if the need for your back surgery was not from a rear-end auto accident you can still prove fault through the police reports and witness statements.
Even if you do not need surgery immediately after the accident this does not mean you cannot recover for it. If your injuries are not so significant that immediate surgery is required, your treating doctor (likely a neurosurgeon) may want to try to treat you conservatively at first with physical therapy or injections before attempting more invasive treatment like surgery. Sometimes the seriousness of your back injury may not be immediately evident. If you do need surgery, a common form to fix any issues with your back is spinal fusion surgery. This is surgery to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine, eliminating motion between them. It is essentially a “welding” process. The basic idea is to fuse together two or more vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone. This is done to eliminate painful motion or to restore stability to the spine.
Hopefully, your surgery will be able to heal your back issues. If they do not and you require future medical care as a result, this can be included in your claim for damages. Likewise, if your back injury and surgery require you to miss work you can make a claim for lost wages by showing what you regularly earn through your tax returns.
It will be necessary to prove that the surgery to your back was a result of the accident. The defense may attempt to claim that because you perhaps did not immediately need surgery after the accident, or because there was no significant damage to your car, that the surgery was not related. However you can still prove the surgery was related to the accident in these scenarios through your medical records (which will show you complaining of symptoms of a back injury you did not have before the accident) and by the support for your treating doctor who can provide a report stating how the accident caused your need for back surgery.
Another issue in these cases can be the defendant’s auto insurance. Their auto insurance is meant to compensate you for your injuries from the accident. However they may have mistakenly allowed their insurance to lapse, or they may maintain only the minimum insurance limits – which would not be enough to compensate for back surgery. Or your accident may have been a hit and run. In this scenario, your recourse would be to make a claim with your own insurance. This is called an underinsured or uninsured claim.
The Thistle Law Firm is experienced at handling back surgery auto accident claims. If you or a loved one were involved in an auto accident that required back surgery, the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.