Back injuries are one of the most common injuries after a car accident. Even something as minor as a fender-bender can cause problems for your back because of the unnatural motion of a moving car hitting a slower or stopped car.
Suffering a back injury, like a fractured vertebrae or lumbar sprain, can sharply interfere with your life. You deserve a fair settlement that will cover all damages, including medical bills and lost wages.
Common Back Injuries after a Car Accident
Here are several common car accident injuries that may cause back pain.
- Whiplash is when your spine whips backward and forward rapidly. It’s a common condition in any sudden jolt, especially in car crashes, and it can require surgery to fix.
- Herniated discs tend to vary in severity, but the worst cases can also require emergency surgery, lest they result in dangerous conditions like cauda equina syndrome, which can lead to paralysis in your lower extremities.
- Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe traumas your body can sustain. Secondary problems are common, like muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, infections and ulcers. Spinal cord injuries may lead to paralysis or long-term disability.
- Thoracic or lumbar spine fractures take a long time to heal but may only cause moderate pain, which may lead you to underestimate the extent of the injury and delay treatment.
With any of these back injuries, early diagnosis and treatment is key—not only for your well-being, but also to ensure your settlement is fair.
Seek Medical Treatment Sooner, Not Later
You may be fortunate enough to walk away from a car crash with no immediate back pain. But symptoms of some injuries can take a few days to manifest.
If you have lingering pain following an accident and mask it with painkillers, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Soft tissue injuries may not be noticeable for days following the trauma. If you only take painkillers but don’t diagnose or treat the underlying injury, it could lead to lifelong pain. That’s why you should see a medical professional as soon as possible.
Once you file a personal injury claim, the insurance company will comb through your medical records for any issues or health concerns that they can use to minimize your pain. They may also try to claim that an unrelated accident from your past, like a slip and fall, caused your back injury.
Not only will your doctor determine the full extent of your back injury, but they will also provide documentation that proves the severity of your injuries. If you don’t seek medical treatment, you will have nothing to defend yourself against the insurance company.
What is a Fair Settlement for a Back Injury?
If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve a fair settlement that covers:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Treating a back injury—even a simple sprain—can become expensive. It may be impossible to fully diagnose your injury without an MRI, CT scan, or x-ray. These tests may or may not be covered by your health insurance and can drive up the cost of your medical bills. Surgery isn’t always necessary, but they can be costly: some back surgery procedures run over $80,000.
A fair personal injury settlement should cover all your medical bills. It should also cover future medical costs. Serious spinal injuries may require lifelong physical therapy, which may or may not be covered by your personal health insurance. If you need to see a chiropractor for whiplash or other back pain, your settlement should help cover that as well.
In addition, a fair settlement should cover the wages lost during your recovery. For example, lower back injuries often require medications and total rest. Patients may not be able to return to work for weeks while they heal.
Injuries involving the spinal cord can have long-lasting effects, including paralysis, that may limit your ability to work. If you are unable to return to the same work as before the accident because of your back injury, your settlement should also help make up for loss of employment.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
You can only settle once. If you wait to get treatment, or if you settle too quickly, you may not receive enough money to adequately cover all of medical bills. You also have the option to file a lawsuit if the insurance company offers you an insufficient settlement amount. But you must file before the statute of limitations runs on your claim.
This is where a local personal injury can help. Navigating the world of injury settlements can add unnecessary strain when you’re just trying to heal. But you don’t have to tough it out on your own. If you or someone you know has suffered a back injury from a car accident, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.