The human back and spine is made up of a complex system of muscles, bones, tendons, joints ligaments and nerves. It also houses the spinal cord, one of the most delicate and vulnerable structures in the human body. Injury to any one of these components can cause severe back pain, weakness and disability.
Back injuries are common result of a car accident since the spine absorbs the force and pressure from a collision. If you’ve been in a car accident, seeking medical attention and treatment is important. If you leave your injuries untreated, back injuries can worsen and lead to long term pain and impairments.
LOWER BACK PAIN AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor or miss days at work. The pain in the back can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an auto accident or develop over time. Some injuries may stay dormant such as disc bulges and become painful after a trauma, such as a car crash or a fall.
WHAT CAUSES LOWER BACK PAIN
Auto accidents can cause a range of back pain and injuries in the lumbar region. The most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature – in other words, there is a disruption in the way the components of the back (the spine, muscle, intervertebral discs and nerves) fit together and move. Some lower back injuries include:
- Sprains – overstretched or torn ligaments.
- Strains – tears in tendons or muscles.
- Traumatic injury – due to car accidents, falls or compression of the spine and discs, resulting in disc rupture or herniation.
- Spinal nerve pain – compression, inflammation and or injury
- Sciatica – also referred as radiculopathy – caused by something pressing on the sciatic nerve that travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg.
- Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
- Spondylolisthesis – which happens when a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place, pinching the nerves exiting the spinal column.
- Herniated or ruptured discs – this can occur when the intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward.
- Infections involving the vertebrae – this condition is called osteomyelitis; the intervertebral discs, called discitis; or the sacroiliac joints connecting the lower spine to the pelvis, called sacroiliitis.
- Cauda equina syndrome – occurs when a ruptured disc pushes into the spinal canal and presses on the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots. Permanent neurological damage may result if this syndrome is left untreated.
- Osteoporosis – a progressive decrease in bone density and strength that can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae.
HOW IS LOW BACK PAIN DIAGNOSED?
After an auto accident or a traumatic injury, seeking medical help right away is crucial. Delay in treatment may cause your injuries to get worse and would also impact your compensation for your injuries. During the treatment process, your treating doctor would most likely refer you for diagnostic imaging tests to better understand the root cause of your lower back pain. Some of the tests include:
- X-ray imaging – which can show broken bones or an injured misaligned vertebra
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – creates a computer-generated image of bony structures and soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. An MRI may be ordered if a problem such as infection, tumor, inflammation, disc herniation or rupture, or pressure on a nerve is suspected.
- Computerized tomography (CT) – can show soft tissue structures that cannot be seen on conventional x-rays, such as disc rupture, spinal stenosis, or tumors.
LOWER BACK INJURY COMPENSATION AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT
Car accident settlements are not one-size fits-all. Each outcome is unique based on the client, the accident and the extent of the injuries. While the severity of your injuries is the major determining factor in the value of a back injury claim, there are other reasons that can also affect the amount of compensation received on a settlement or a jury verdict. Many injured clients delay treatment or have gaps in their treatment, which may lead to a lower settlement. Hence, getting proper diagnosis for your injuries, with no gaps in treatment, and properly following your doctor’s recommendations can increase the value of your claim.
Back injuries can also be catastrophic. In these cases, settlement values can go into the millions. For more minor neck and back injuries, settlements are generally smaller, ranging from $10,000.00 to $100,000.00 and also depending on insurance limits available.
WHY CHOOSE ARATTA LAW FIRM?
At our firm, every injured client will be in direct contact with an attorney. Many large corporate law firms end up sending you to a case manager – you never speak to an attorney directly and your case becomes part of the mill.
At our firm, we do things different. We pay close attention to every individual case, from the inception and throughout the process of the claim / lawsuit. Our diligence and attention to detail result in consistent higher settlements, which adds up to a higher compensation for you, the client.
ATTORNEY’S ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE
Even though you may have a solid personal injury claim, the skill and the diligence of your attorney can also considerably impact how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. If your injury claim is negotiated by a case manager, assigned to your file at a firm, and not an attorney, your claim may end up settling for a lesser amount. This is because adjusters know who they’re dealing with and how aggressive the firm is when settling injury cases. Insurance adjuster also know who they can bully into accepting lower settlements.
An attorney’s ability to negotiate a settlement is, in many ways, the most important skill an attorney possesses. Lawyers who are effective negotiators know the importance of timing, preparation and strategy. That being said, our firm recognizes the importance of precision, timing and subsequent results, which is the foundation of Aratta Law. At our firm, nothing happens by luck but by great preparation and good strategy.