Many people experience back pain after a car accident. The back and spine contain a complex network of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Together, they work to protect the spinal cord and stabilize the body. Any type of back injury can cause pain, weakness, loss of mobility, and long-term disability. Car accidents are particularly jarring, making the structures of the back prone to strains, sprains, tears, and potentially catastrophic injuries.
After a crash, some victims experience immediate back pain. Others develop symptoms over several days or weeks. No matter when your symptoms start, you could be entitled to compensation for a back injury after a car accident if someone else is at fault.
Talk to a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer from Sam & Ash Injury Law. Our legal team is committed to helping you seek the justice you deserve. While no amount of money can make up for what is lost after a debilitating injury, compensation can help relieve the financial burden caused by medical expenses, lost income, long-term disability, and more.
Let us fight to make things right for you. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case review.
Common Symptoms of Back Injuries After a Car Crash
The symptoms of a back injury can sneak up on you. What starts as a mild ache could leave you unable to stand or walk a few hours later. That’s why it’s critical to see your doctor as soon as possible after a collision. A skilled physician may detect certain back injuries before costly complications occur.
Common symptoms of a back injury include:
- Stiff muscles and muscle spasms
- Radiating pain that moves down the legs and buttocks
- Lack of coordination
- Inability to stand properly
- “Pins and needles” in limbs and extremities
Never ignore back pain. If left untreated, these injuries can cause chronic pain and permanent disabilities, potentially preventing you from doing your job and enjoying your favorite activities.
Common Causes of Back Pain After a Car Accident
Back injuries occur due to the force of the collision with another motor vehicle. When a car or semi-truck collides with yours, the sudden jolt of impact can cause significant back and spinal trauma.
The most common back injuries from car accidents include:
- Whiplash: A neck injury that occurs due to the rapid back-and-forth snap of the neck during a crash. Whiplash damages the soft tissues in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. The condition can cause limited range of motion, chronic pain, and headaches that radiate up from the base of the skull. While mild whiplash tends to get better within a few days, severe cases may require extensive treatment and physical therapy.
- Strains and sprains: Back strains occur when muscles and/or tendons get stretched or torn during a collision. Back sprains are similar, except they involve torn ligaments. Doctors rank back sprains and strains by severity. People often suffer from pain, limited mobility, muscle spasms, and weakness while they recover.
- Degenerative disc disease: A painful condition that develops as a person’s spine wears down with age. While car accidents may not directly cause degenerative disc disease, they can exacerbate its onset. Spinal cord trauma may accelerate wear and tear that is already occurring in the vertebrae.
- Herniated discs: Also called ruptured discs, these injuries occur when the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc is forced out through a crack in the outside casing, pressing or irritating the nerve roots. While non-invasive methods are the first line of treatment for any back injury, surgery may be necessary for a herniated disc from a car accident.
- Lumbar back injury: Lumbar injuries occur in the lower back and are more common in side-impact crashes. Like other back injuries, lower back pain can impact a victim’s quality of life and require costly medical treatment. A recent study in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention found that 63 percent of participants with ongoing lower back pain sustained the injury in a prior car accident.
- Middle back injury: Injury to the vertebrae, whiplash, ruptured discs, strains, sprains, and pinched nerves can cause middle back pain after a car accident. Treatment usually involves over-the-counter pain medications, heat, ice, and rest. However, some people may need to seek chiropractic care and physical therapy to fully recover.
Back Injury Compensation After a Car Accident
Las Vegas crash victims could be entitled to file a back injury claim seeking compensation after a car accident. Las Vegas, Nevada personal injury law allows victims to recover money if they can prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident and injury(s).
A successful back injury case could provide money for:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages (in rare cases)
Most back injury claims resolve in settlements with the at-fault party’s insurance company. But when insurers refuse to make a fair settlement offer, your best bet may be to file a lawsuit. Check with an attorney before taking legal action. A skilled back injury lawyer will calculate the full value of your claim and fight for the best possible results, first at the negotiating table and, if necessary, at trial.
What To Do if My Back Injury Leads to Permanent Disability?
Full and fair compensation becomes more important than ever if your back injury results in a permanent disability. Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny disability claims for back pain. Usually, insurers argue there isn’t sufficient medical evidence to prove your case. You can improve your chances of recovering the disability benefits you deserve by:
- Getting diagnosed by a medical professional: An official diagnosis from a certified medical professional is crucial to every injury case. Without proof of injury, the insurance company can easily deny your claim.
- Asking your doctor to document your disability: Ask your physician to draft a detailed report explaining your limitations due to the back injury. For instance, if you’re having issues with lifting, walking, sitting, or standing, your doctor should describe those restrictions in detail. The more thorough your doctor’s report, the harder it will be for the insurer to argue with your claim.
- Collecting third-party statements: Testimonials from people who regularly interact with you, such as friends, family members, and co-workers, can confirm how the back injury restricts your activities and ability to work.
- Providing outside documentation of disability: If you were approved for Social Security Disability benefits, providing proof of your approval can also boost your case.
Finally, consider hiring a knowledgeable back injury attorney. Every insurance company employs scores of attorneys to represent their interests. You should have legal representation, too.
Average Settlement for Car Accident Back Injuries
Placing a fair value on your claim involves calculating all your accident-related losses. Adding up your financial losses is fairly easy. Receipts for medical treatment and rehabilitation, pay stubs, vehicle repair or replacement estimates, and the cost of prescription medications are all evidence of your monetary losses.
But how do you put a price on pain and suffering and other non-economic damages? An attorney will be your best asset in quantifying these intangible but genuine losses.
To determine the value of your car accident settlement, your attorney will add your total financial losses to your total non-economic damages, which are calculated based on the severity of your injuries.
Clients naturally want to know the average settlement amount for a back injury claim. Here’s the truth: It all depends on the facts of the case. Even cases with similar facts can have very different results. However, several factors can impact the size of a settlement, such as:
- The severity of your back injury
- Whether you had a pre-existing condition before the crash, like degenerative disc disease
- Your previous income and projected earning potential
- Your age
- The at-fault party’s policy limits
- Whether you are partly at fault for the wreck
Though most back injury claims are resolved before litigation is necessary, hire an attorney with trial experience and a strong track record of success. That way, you’ve got the best possible representation on your side from the beginning.
Contact an Experienced Back Injury Lawyer in Las Vegas, NV
Insurance companies are notorious for undervaluing back injury claims. Adjusters realize many people won’t know what their case is worth. Here’s the good news. At Sam & Ash Injury Law, we know exactly how much you deserve and can help you fight for it. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a Nevada back injury lawyer.