Neck and back injuries from car accidents can be insidious. With adrenaline running through your system, you may not feel the pain of an injury until days or even weeks later. Once the adrenaline wears off, spinal injuries can cause extreme pain and create permanent mobility issues. Therefore, obtain medical treatment and contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Spinal injuries can range from whiplash to extreme spinal cord damage and paralysis. Left untreated, some spinal injuries can grow worse and cause debilitating pain and discomfort that affects your ability to work and quality of life. Even with treatment, severe spinal injuries often require years of medical treatment, medication, and therapy. A seasoned spinal cord injury or car accident attorney can help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation for the accident and how much you can pursue in a settlement.
Common Neck and Back Injuries From Car Accidents
Neck and back injuries vary widely, and their effects can range from stiffness and muscle pain to severe degenerative injury and paralysis. When you seek medical treatment after an accident, medical professionals who suspect a neck or back injury will conduct CT and MRI scans to determine the extent of your injuries. Typical back and neck injuries caused by car accidents include:
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that primarily affects the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the neck and shoulders. Whiplash occurs when the neck is rapidly propelled forward then pulled back. It is very common in accidents with rear-end impacts. If you have whiplash from a car accident, you may not feel any pain until several days later.
Symptoms to watch for include:
- Neck and upper back pain or burning
- Stiffness and limited mobility in neck and shoulders
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Extreme fatigue
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of short-term memory
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is the primary connection between your brain and your body. A spinal injury can severely compromise your ability to perform everyday functions, and a severed spinal cord cannot heal. If a car accident injured your spine, move as little as possible until you receive medical assistance. A spinal cord injury can grow worse with movement. Call 911 and wait for emergency assistance to arrive. Paramedics will know how to move you safely into the ambulance and then to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Other Back and Neck Injuries
The speed and angle of an accident can significantly affect injury type and severity.
In addition to whiplash and spinal cord injuries, car accidents can cause:
- Broken bones and vertebrae
- Slipped or herniated disc
- Muscle strains, sprains, and bruises
- Pinched nerves
Damages You Can Claim for Car Accident Neck and Back Injury
If you are not at fault for the accident, you may be able to claim damages for expenses and losses due to neck and back injuries. While the other party and their insurance company may attempt to convince you to sign a settlement for some of your medical expenses, consult your attorney before you sign anything. The other person’s insurance will attempt to minimize the amount they have to pay. Once you have accepted a settlement, you usually cannot seek any additional compensation.
Although it may be tempting to accept a settlement immediately, especially if you are experiencing financial hardship after an accident, you have a better chance of collecting the full compensation you deserve if you work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will help you determine the long-term costs and expenses associated with your injury, including:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Long-term medical treatments, medications, and equipment
- Current and future wage loss
- Loss of work or livelihood
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
How to Prove Your Claim for Neck and Back Injury
If you have a back or neck injury from a car accident, documentation is key to proving your claim. The opposing party will attempt to reduce their liability to limit what they pay you. They may deny fault, question the seriousness of your injuries, or claim that your injury is preexisting.
To support your case, your attorney will gather medical records, police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony to support your claim. To obtain maximum compensation, you must be able to prove that the accident was due entirely to the other party’s negligence and your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
Average Settlement for Neck and Back Injuries Due to a Car Accident
Since every injury is different, you can't expect a specific average for your settlement. In general, the more severe your injury, the higher your settlement. The amount of time you miss at work, whether you can return to work, and how much medical treatment or therapy you undergo all affect the amount of your settlement.
Remember that the insurance company will want to provide you with the least possible compensation. Your primary concern is to ensure that your settlement encompasses all of your current and future losses due to the accident. A knowledgeable car accident attorney will help you compile a full list of damages and evidence to provide you with the best possible result.
Partner With a Seasoned Car Accident Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has a neck or spine injury from a car accident, contact an attorney for a free consultation. A car accident lawyer can examine your case and discuss the next steps.