Does Your Back Cause You Pain or Mobility Issues After an Accident?
Back injuries sustained during a car accident are a common incidence and can be very serious. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), every year about three million people are nonfatally injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Injuries can range from being minor with short recovery time, needing long-term treatment, or, sadly, sustaining a permanent injury. Depending on the severity of the back injury, a car accident victim could also face long-term medical treatment and therapy.
If another driver or other person is responsible for the injuries you suffered in a car accident occurring in New York City due to their recklessness or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The law firm of Raphaelson & Levine is 100% committed to helping NYC car accident victims receive compensation for their financial losses and justice for their pain and suffering.
Types of Back Injuries Occurring from Motor Vehicle Accidents
The back is complicated because it spans a large section of the body and is made up of muscles, nerves, ligaments, tissues, tendons, and bones. Unfortunately, a shock to one or more of these body parts can cause severe suffering and pain. The pain might be acute or dull. It may be chronic or it may come and go. In some cases, the back doesn’t begin to hurt until after a period of time passes after the accident.
Back Strains and Sprains Accidents
Back strains and sprains are common back injuries that can occur after a motor vehicle accident. Back strain injuries occur when soft tissues, such as muscles or tendons, in the back, are stretched unnaturally by force or impact, which commonly happens during an accident. Back sprain injuries are similar except it’s the back’s ligaments that are affected by unnatural movement.
Both types of injuries can lead to significant pain and mobility issues, especially when located in the lumbar (lower back) and thoracic (mid and upper back) areas of the spine. Treatment for these injuries can greatly vary depending on the type of injury, where it is located, and how the victim is affected.
One of the most common injuries that occur after a car crash is whiplash. Victims usually sustain whiplash if their car is rear-ended by another driver. The injury is caused when the head and neck are thrust forward while the body remains still due to being restrained by a seat belt (always wear a seat belt, a car accident injury can be far worse for drivers or passengers not wearing one). It is not uncommon for symptoms of whiplash to emerge hours, or even days, after the accident.
Symptoms typically associated with whiplash include neck pain, headaches, stiffness, loss of the neck’s range of motion, tingling and numbness, fatigue, and dizziness. Other less common symptoms are tinnitus (ringing in ears), blurred vision, memory, and concentration problems, sleep disruption, depression, and irritability.
While whiplash primarily impacts the neck, pain can radiate to the soft tissues in the upper back and shoulders. Whiplash often heals, but sometimes needs medical intervention or physical therapy for a victim to see improvement.
The back is made up of vertebrae (bones) and between each bone are soft discs. If the discs are subjected to excessive force or pressure, they can be displaced and rupture, break, or swelling (“bulging discs”). Any of these disruptions to the back’s discs are a very painful situation causing numbness and/or a major disruption of mobility. It is also common for car accident victims to experience pain radiating throughout their body, but settling in the back where the injury occurred. Treatment options for herniated discs can include pain medications, surgery, and physical therapy.
The breaks and cracks associated with compression fractions are small, but the effect on the body is not. Accident victims who suffer compression fractions often have significant pain and can experience problems breathing. Sadly, this type of injury is often permanent. Treatment for compression fractures can include medications, surgery, physical therapy, back braces, and injections.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Damage to the spinal cord is a serious injury and commonly results in long-term or permanent disability. People who suffer spinal cord injuries can have total or partial paralysis, numbness, and decreased reflex movements. Secondary health issues, such as spinal fluid leaks, bleeding, blood clots, and pneumonia can emerge after this type of injury has been sustained. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but medical providers usually try a number of treatments to help alleviate pain and prevent secondary health problems.
Spinal Stenosis Injury
Spinal stenosis is usually a secondary injury to a primary one caused by a car accident. For instance, if a bone in the back is displaced from a fracture, the spinal canal can be damaged and swell. This swelling can put additional pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. Forms of treatment usually administered for spinal stenosis include pain medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, surgery, or decompression procedures. Treatments to help relieve the pain associated with spinal stenosis may include massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture.
Spondylolisthesis occurs when stress fractures in the back begin to force the vertebrae to shift out of position, leading to compression on the spinal canal and nerves. Car crash victims often experience pain, weakness, and numbness. Another common problem they face is difficulty when trying to walk. Surgery and physical therapy are two of the most common forms of treatment for this type of back injury.
Unfortunately, the human body isn’t built to be able to sustain many types of car accident back injuries. Even a low-impact car crash can have a large effect on the human body. People who suffer any kind of back issue after involvement in an auto accident should be thoroughly examined by their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Treatments for Motor Vehicle Accident Back Injuries
Many of the types of back injuries that can occur as a direct result of a car accident can cause decreased mobility, immobility, debilitating pain, and emotional distress. Car accident victims who suffer from chronic back injuries often need medical intervention, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other types of treatments from medical professionals. The type of treatment prescribed by a healthcare provider will depend upon the nature of the primary and/or any secondary injuries a person sustains. A medical professional will usually take one or more X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to help them pinpoint the exact location of the back injury and diagnose the nature of the injury sustained.
Back pain may co-exist with other types of pain, such as neck injuries, that are the direct result of a car accident. In some cases, this pain is debilitating and can have a serious negative impact on the victim’s quality of life. If you, or someone you love, suffers from any neck, upper or lower back pain after a car accident, be sure to see medical treatment. In general, it’s a good idea to get checked any time after an auto accident. There may be unseen injuries present and symptoms emerge over time. A doctor can note down your condition at the time of examination. This documentation will be very important in a potential future car accident lawsuit where another party is to blame for the crash.
Am I Able to Obtain Compensation for My Back Injury?
Back injuries aren’t like most minor lacerations or cuts where they heal and disappear over time. These injuries can significantly disrupt your quality of life and prevent you from working or doing the routine recreational activities you love to do. As a result of the neck or back injuries sustained in a car accident, you might require extensive medical intervention or long-term treatment. These treatments can also be expensive. Insurance may cover some of this expense, but not always. It’s common for insurance companies to try to “undercut” victims from getting the insurance money they are entitled to receive.
New York State is a “no-fault” insurance state. What this means is motor vehicle accident victims must first file an accident injury claim with their own insurance company, even if they weren’t to blame for the auto accident. If the personal injury or disability caused by the accident is categorized by the State of New York as a “serious injury,” accident victims can then legally pursue additional monies from the driver at fault.
Many motor vehicle car accident victims file a personal injury lawsuit in hopes of receiving compensation to help cover the costs of medical care, loss of income if they can’t work, and compensation for emotional distress and for their pain and suffering. Under New York State law, there is a statute of limitations designated as three years after the date of the accident. If a lawsuit is to be filed, it’s a good idea to file sooner than later because accident victims cannot take court action once the three years are over. It takes time for an attorney to gather evidence and build a case, so victims should get legal consultation shortly after an accident occurs. The extent of your injuries might not yet be apparent, and you want to be able to thoroughly have all of the details in case you decide to take legal action, especially as medical bills continue to accumulate or chronic pain emerges.
A New York City personal injury attorney can examine your situation, document the details, and work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve from the insurance companies and if a personal injury lawsuit is pursued.
We are Here to Help NYC Car Accident Victims
If you, or a loved one, are suffering from a back, neck, or another type of injury after a motor vehicle crash, the personal injury lawyers at Raphaelson & Levine are here to help. Our compassionate and knowledgeable New York City lawyers will talk to you about what happened and then carefully look over all of the details associated with your accident, medical records, and medical expenses.
Our attorneys will work hard to ensure your legal rights are protected. It’s our promise to protect the rights of car accident victims and their families and do what we can to help ease their pain and suffering. To learn more about back injuries, how New York State law applies to car accidents, or if you’d like a free consultation, call or contact the NY law offices of Raphaelson & Levine today at 212-268-3222.
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