Back injury from a car accident – Types, Treatments and why hire a personal injury lawyer?
As we all know, car accident becomes the most common type of accident these days. Sadly, damage from such accidents isn’t limited to vehicles only. In fact, in the list of most common injuries occurred due to car accidents, back injuries are on the higher rank. Back injuries can vary from mild sprains and disk herniation to fractured vertebrae and spinal cord damage.
Even a minor incident can also cause back injuries because our body is not capable of bearing high impact of a car accident. And, in turn, minor back injuries can deliver a great impact on our day-to-day lives. In this article you will get to know about the most common types of back injuries caused by car accidents, cost of dealing with back injuries and how a personal injury lawyer can help you with back injury claims.
Types of back injuries
Thoracic spine injuries
Usually, injuries occurred to the upper back are considered among the most serious injuries. The upper back (also known as thoracic spine) connects to the chest regions and ribs. Fractures and sprains in this area are generally occurred due to high speed car accidents, and might result in permanent nerve damage.
Lumbar spine injuries
The lumbar spine comprises of the five biggest vertebrae. Out of all those, the strongest muscle is responsible for offering stability to the spine. That’s why a strain or a sprain to the lumbar spine can be quite painful. A strain actually involves stretching of muscles, ligaments, or tendons, while a sprain involves damage to the ligaments.
Herniated disc, also known as disc injuries, is one of the most common types of back injuries that occur among car accident victims. People who have been involved in a car accident may also experience herniated disc traumas. Discs are basically the cushions that provide protection to the spine. It occurs when one or more discs get displaced. Usually, herniated discs put pressure on the spinal cord and or nerves. The most common symptoms of herniated discs are intense and sudden pain in lower region of the back and numbness / tingling.
Discs are usually considered small and spongy cushions that protect the vertebrae from each other and provide the spine’s flexibility. A car accident can damage the disc by breaking it down or deforming it. A damaged disc might put pressure on the nerves directly, resulting in the pain, numbness and weakness in different parts of the body, depending on which part of the spinal column affected.
Disc injuries that usually occur in the lower part of the body, lead us to a condition known as sciatica. Pain caused by this condition can be temporary or permanent, and can become worse in near future.
Spinal cord injuries
It is the most serious form of back injuries that involves the spinal cord. The spinal cord mainly connects the brain and the rest parts of the human body. It sends and receives messages back and forth to facilitate the sensitive function and motor control functions. This form of back injuries occurs when an auto accident damages the spine and fragile bundles of nerves inside it.
Spinal cord injuries mean a permanent damage to nerves and the spinal cord. It can further result in loss of reflex function, total or partial paralysis, in simple words – lost of feeling anything in particular parts of the body. However, depending on the quality of treatment received, you can also come in touch with secondary medical problems, such as bleeding, blood clots, infection due to surgery, spinal fluid leaks, and pneumonia.
Spinal cord injuries affect the brain ability to interact with other parts of the body, resulting in lack of sensation and paralysis in major parts of it. When the spinal cord injury is complete, it causes numbness and paralysis in all parts of the body below the injury, and when it is incomplete, it causes loss of some amount of sensation in the affected areas.
The higher the injury to the spine is, the larger areas of the body will be affected. Thus, when an injury occurs in the lower or middle spine, it is known as paralysis. And, if an injury occurred in the neck or upper back, this condition is known as quadriplegia.
How back injuries are treated?
Back injuries, including the ones occurred due to a car accident, can be diagnosed using CT scan, X-Ray, Bone Scan, MRI and Myelography. Once it is determined, proper treatment is given, depending on the type and severity of the injury occurred.
Many back injuries need only temporary treatment, such as injections for inflammation, chiropractic care, pain medications, and physical therapy. However, on the other hand, serious back injuries might require surgical operations to reduce pressure on the spinal cord or across its nerves. Surgical operations also include removal of vertebrae parts and fusion of vertebrae parts together after the elimination of ruptured disks.
Who pays the liability?
See, if you have no fault in the car accident, you must look forward to your insurance company paying you back the cost of lost wages, chiropractic care, medical treatment, and extra expenses related to your back injury. In very specific conditions, you can sue the driver for giving you pain and for the condition you are in.
One, who has been suffering from back injuries after a car accident, can go to the court to demand a compensation from the opposite party, who is actually responsible for the accident. He/she can ask for compensatory damages i.e. a monetary amount that is required to get health back to the condition it was earlier before the occurrence of the car accident. Compensatory damages are often calculated based upon extra expenses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, etc.
In addition to compensatory damages, one can also ask for punitive damages in certain cases, such as when the driver of the opposite party has been behaving irresponsibly or recklessly, or when the car accident occurred because of the manufacturing defect in any of the vehicles involved.
However, if you are in a good state financially, you can turn to your driver’s insurance company to pay you back for the damage. You should make your decision quickly if it is another driver’s fault. If you want to file a personal injury claim, you need to find evidences as soon as you can.
Long term costs
After the occurrence of a car accident, the cost of dealing with a back injury can be relatively high. Seeking medical attention can also be a major expense, especially when rehabilitation, hospitalization and/or any other follow ups are required.
Losing ability to work is also considered as the major concern while dealing with back injury claims. Also, the one who is suffering from a back injury may not be able to perform daily tasks, such as grocery shopping, yard work, etc. In such cases, hiring someone to claim all these additional expenses is a great way to go.
Do you need to contact a personal injury lawyer?
The answer to this question completely depends on the situation. If you have minor injuries like muscle sprains, ligament, tendon or tears, you can deal with your insurance claim yourself. However, if you have serious injuries, such as spinal cord damage, disk herniation, or a fractured vertebra, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Every province has its own laws, which have many differences, including time limits for a plaintiff to file a claim, to settle it and many others. It is generally known as the statue of limitations. This law has a period range of 2 years, so don’t hesitate for even a single minute to act. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call a lawyer. Majority of lawyers won’t charge you for an initial consultation.
Top 10 reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer
- Experience assessing claims – See, it’s very clear that an experienced personal injury lawyer has previously dealt with cases like yours and can advise you in the very beginning if it is ok to pursue a legal action or not. If chances of winning your case are too low, you most likely will be advised not to file any claims in order to avoid expenses and save your time.
- Lawyers don’t charge if the case is not won – Most of experienced personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning that if you lose your case, they will not charge you a single penny. However, you are the only one who is responsible for the expenses that are not related to lawyer’s services such as fees charged by doctors for being interviewed or reviewing your records.
- Red tape – Confusing medical terms, complicated legal procedures and lots of paperwork are the most common things in personal injury cases. An experienced lawyer and his team can smoothly work across all the major areas to resolve your problem so that you can easily get back everything. However, when you meet with your attorney, he/she will ask you to provide all the documents that are related to your injury.
- Investigative team – Generally, experienced lawyers work with investigation teams, which are highly professional in their field of specialization and thorough examination of every aspect of your case. You can ease the work of an investigation team by proving them important and correct information about your incident and injuries.
- Objectivity – Frustration, pain, anger and fear might harm your ability to see the facts clearly. An experienced attorney will be more concerned about your case than you and will never make a wrong decision. For instance, you might want to go for a quick payout in a hurry, but your lawyer will always advise you to sit back, relax and wait for the right time to get an appropriate and fair offer.
- Alternative dispute resolution – Complicated and lengthy methods do not always work to resolve a case. Your lawyer will always know about the other methods that will work best, thereby saving you money, time and other extra expenses. The common examples of other dispute methods are arbitration and mediation.
- They have experience of working with other lawyers – An experienced lawyer can deal with the lawyer(s) of the other side’s in a most effective way. He/she simply knows how to deal with them. This becomes quite important when both parties are required to exchange facts and documents.
- They have experience of dealing with insurance companies – Personal injury lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies in the most effective manner. If insurance company representatives try to mislead a good lawyer, he/she will not get confused by their tactics and will not feel okay to settle for an unfair amount.
- Best settlements – Many experienced personal injury lawyers resolve your case by negotiating a settlement instead of making a trial. A settlement usually means giving up the right to sue the other party in exchange for a payment from the insurance company or the defendant. A personal injury attorney will prefer to negotiate for a fair early settlement first and then, try to resolve your case as soon as he/she can, if you are fine with that.
- Best jury verdicts – If in your case, a trial is necessary, your lawyer will represent your case in front of the judge and strive hard to achieving the best jury result in your favor. After you hired an experienced personal injury lawyer, he/she will prepare a legal strategy to successfully resolve your case and fight for all compensations available.
Avail a free consulation from an experienced personal injury lawyer
As you have studied above, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your claim. If you have ever came across by a careless actions caused by another person’s fault, you should look forward to getting in touch with a good lawyer as soon as you can, right after the car accident you involved in. It’s quite important to discuss your situation in details, sharing everything with your attorney, and to get familiar with the laws which are in effect in the jurisdiction you live in.