If you are having back pain after a car crash, you are not alone. Our law office represents hundreds of victims every year who have suffered back pain — typically low back pain — from a car accident. I’m hoping this post answers a lot of questions you might have if you have suffered a back injury from a car accident.
First, whether your vehicle struck another vehicle, a stationary object, or suffered a rollover, a vehicle’s passengers experience a tremendous amount of force during an accident. This force strains muscles, joints, and bones and can cause serious injuries. Even if a passenger is wearing a seatbelt or is protected by an airbag during an accident, the force of car collision can cause a jerking motion often referred to as whiplash. This can happen with little or no damage to the vehicle. This is not just plaintiffs’ car accident lawyer puffery. There are many scientific peer-reviewed articles that show that the damage done to the vehicle does not always reflect the damage to the occupants. Can you break eggs in a carton without damaging the carton? Whiplash can cause two types of lower back injuries—discogenic and facet joint injuries. Because of the physiology of the back and the proximity of the thirty-one pairs of nerves known as spinal cord, lower back injuries can lead to nerve damage and paralysis.
What is causing lower back pain after a car accident?
Being involved in a car accident can lead to a wide variety of injuries from bumps and bruises to broken bones and even death. We have handled all of these types of cases too many times. But of all the cases we see, back injuries and the subsequent pain are common consequences of car collisions. If you were involved in a car accident, you may have wondered what caused your lower back pain.
A series of intervertebral disks – rubbery donuts that act like cushions – serve as shock absorbers for the back. Disc herniation is a condition that occurs when the soft inner filling of the disc protrudes through the more robust outer encasing. Discogenic pain can be unpredictable and happen when a person is sitting, lying down, or moving. Discogenic pain generally causes a sharp, shooting pain that can radiate down the body.
What is the lower back physiology?
The lower back is made up of the five lowest vertebrae (referred to as L1-L5) and is known as the lumbar region. This complex system of joints, ligaments, and tendons is responsible for supporting much of the upper body’s weight and protecting the spinal cord.
Facet joints work with the disks to facilitate and limit movement between the vertebrae. Cartilage surfaces surround facet joints and provide for low-friction motion. These joints define the back’s range of motion and prevent injury from occurring when a person bends too far in one direction. Facet joints have a large number of nerve endings and damage to these joints and the nearby nerves can cause severe pain. Frequently, sufferers of facet joints injuries can cause muscle spasms, which may force the spine out of alignment causing back and neck pain. For example, a patient may experience a muscle spasm that causes the joint to freeze or lock in place; this can occur abruptly and without notice.
What are some common lower back injuries?
Another type of back injury is a lumbar sprain. Lumbar sprains occur when muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. Another common condition of the back is spinal stenosis, where a ruptured disc or bone fragment enters the spinal canal space, applying pressure to the nerves or spinal cord, which can lead to severe pain.
How much money do back injury cases settle for when bringing a personal injury claim?
It is impossible to give an average back injury settlement number in a vacuum with completely misleading victims. But here are some statistics and sample verdicts and settlement in back injury cases.