According to the National Transportation Safety Board, an estimated 1.7 million rear-end collisions are reported in the U.S. each year. About 500,000 people are hurt in these crashes, and 1,700 are fatally injured. Whether it’s at high or low speed, rear-end accidents can cause serious back injuries. Many of these injuries can lead to lifelong pain and discomfort. If you are suffering a back injury from a car accident, contact us for a consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and more.
4 Common Back Injuries from Car Accidents
The Mayo Clinic estimates that 40 percent of spine injuries are caused by auto accidents. The impact of an accident can strain and neck and back, particularly in rear-end collisions. Some of the most common back injuries from a car accident include:
- Spinal Fractures – Compressions fractures, better known as a broken bone, may occur in the mid to lower back. During a crash, the upper body may be thrown forward while the lower body remains in place with your seat belt. Unfortunately, a spinal fracture may also cause spinal cord injuries if the broken bone moves out of place.
- Herniated Discs – A disc becomes herniated when the disc (or nucleus pulposus) pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior of the vertebrae. While some people may not experience symptoms right away, others may begin to experience lower back pain that extends down into the lower extremities, numbness and tingling, and weakness.
- Spondylolisthesis – When a vertebra shifts out of place from a stress fracture, the broken bone may press on the nerves or narrow the spine; this is known as spondylolisthesis. When the bone presses on the nerves, it can cause pain, numbness, and difficulty walking. It may also cause loss of bladder or bowel control depending on the location of the fracture.
- Whiplash – Although this is also a neck injury, the neck is still part of the spine. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in an accident. Often the impact causes the head forward, then backward, which can tear the muscles and ligaments of the neck. You can also suffer a herniated disc in the upper spine, causing pain in the neck.
Back Injury from a Car Accident
While there are some symptoms of every back injury, the majority of these injuries are not immediately noticeable after a crash. Just because you’re able to walk away from the scene doesn’t mean you were not injured.
If you’re involved in any accident, seek medical attention. A doctor can request x-rays, MRIs, and other tests to determine if you have suffered an injury that is not noticeable to the naked eye, such as a herniated disc.
For some back injuries, you may not know you’re injured until a test confirms the injury or until you begin noticing symptoms. These symptoms, such as pain or weakness, may seem typical after an accident. However, in the long run, a serious back injury can cause chronic pain, discomfort, and weakness along the spine that can then cause other complications.
Once you have been diagnosed with a back injury from a car accident, your doctor can prescribe a course of treatment. The treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, but will typically involve physical therapy, lifestyle adjustments, low-impact exercises, and more.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Medical expenses can quickly mount up if you suffer a back injury from a car accident. Some injuries can also cause you to miss work. Between lost wages and increasing medical costs, many car crash victims can feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, your insurer may not provide as much as you need. An experienced car accident attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can gather evidence, contact witnesses, obtain medical reports, and file a claim on your behalf for the compensation you need while you recover from your injuries.
According to the NTSB, about 80 percent of rear-end crashes could be avoided with crash avoidance systems. However, this technology is not standard in all vehicles which means hundreds of thousands will continue to be injured each year in rear-end accidents. Don’t take risks with back injuries. If you have a back injury from a car accident, we can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact me today.