Car Accident Back Injury Insurance Claims and Compensation

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

August 20, 2022

Back Injury Claim Attorneys

You’re sure to get involved in a traffic accident sooner or later. Most people in the United States may anticipate being involved in three or four car accidents over their lifetime.

Car accidents injure around 4.5 million individuals each year, with many of them suffering back problems.

Back injuries from car accidents may vary from minor sprains to lifelong paralysis. Whether your back injury is a little annoyance or a life-altering disaster, you are entitled to just compensation.

You must understand how to construct a sound insurance claim as well as how to avoid typical traps. This guide may assist you.

BACK INJURIES IN CAR ACCIDENTS

Even though modern cars are equipped with seatbelts and airbags, injuries still occur. Back and neck injuries are the most typically reported.

UNDERSTANDING THE BACK’S DIFFERENT PARTS

A complex network of tendons, muscles, and ligaments wraps around the vertebrae, discs, and spinal cord to form the human back.

The backbones are known as vertebrae. The spinal cord may pass through a hole in them. Facet joints are found above and below each vertebra.

Disks are shock-absorbing cushions that reside between the vertebrae.

The spinal cord is a lengthy bundle of nerve fibres that links the brain to practically every portion of the body. The spine may be split into portions as follows:

Cervical vertebrae are located in the neck (C1-C7)

The upper back is made up of thoracic vertebrae (T1-T12) The lower back is made up of lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5)

The sacrum vertebrae are located below the lumbar vertebrae and are normally united (S1-S5)

The coccyx vertebrae, usually known as the tailbone, are also united.

One or more back regions might be injured depending on the power of contact in an car accident.

Because the spinal cord traverses the whole length of the back, any damage to the back may be excruciatingly painful and incapacitating.

Disks are the cushions that sit between the vertebrae and may become herniated. A disc might be ruptured or “slide” as a result of an car accident. When a disc ruptures, a portion of the inner cartilage is exposed. This is known as disc herniation.

To stick out or protrude Damage forces or squeezes a disc out of its normal place between the vertebrae, resulting in slipped discs.

The herniated or slipped discs pressure is subsequently applied to the spinal cord and its surrounding nerves. Symptoms of herniated or slipped discs vary depending on which part of the spine is affected:

Numbness Tingling Weakness

Back, arm, or leg pain

SPINAL FRACTURES

A sudden force to the backbone compresses and damages the bones in an car collision. Compression fractures, flexion-distraction fractures, transverse process fractures, and dislocation fractures are the most common forms of vertebral fractures. The following are symptoms in the location of the break:

Pain \s• Swelling \s• Numbness \s• Tingling

Severe compression causes the vertebrae to split, sending bone fragments into the surrounding tissue and possibly the spinal canal, resulting in burst fractures.

FACET JOINT INJURIES

Facet joints sustain your body’s weight and govern movement by collaborating with discs. Facet joints have a dense network of nerves that may cause terrible pain if they are damaged. Muscle spasms in the injured region are the most common symptom.

The whiplash of the neck is the most often reported car accident injury. It occurs when the body is abruptly pulled forward or backwards. Among the signs and symptoms are:

Pain in the neck and back

 

Neck and back stiffness Headache

Blurred vision Dizziness Fatigue

SOFT TISSUE INJURIES: Many ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the vertebrae may strain or rip severely after a collision. Soft tissue injuries may cause the following symptoms:

Swelling

Pain ranging from moderate to intense

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENTS FOR BACK INJURIES

Your back will be examined, and your ability to sit, stand, bend, walk, and raise your legs will be assessed. Make sure the doctor knows you were in a car accident. Depending on the results of your first examination, your doctor may send you home to rest for a few days or prescribe more testing.

TESTS FOR BACK INJURIES THAT ARE FREQUENTLY ORDERED

X-rays are a common diagnostic technique for detecting bone fractures and misalignment of the spine in back injuries.

An MRI is used to evaluate misalignment and injury to the spine, herniated discs, and nerve damage.

CT Scan (Computer Axial Tomography): A CT scan might reveal damage to the discs and spinal cord. When discs rupture, it’s a wonderful tool for measuring cartilage and fluid damage. It also determines the density and severity of vertebral fractures.

Electromyography (EMG) is a nerve research test that may confirm nerve compression caused by herniated discs or spinal canal constriction.

BACK TREATMENTS (MEDICAL AND SURGICAL)

Back injuries in car accidents are often treated with “conservative” or non-invasive approaches to relieve discomfort and regain normal mobility.

Medication to reduce back pain, oedema, and muscular spasms is usually the first step used by most clinicians.

MEDICATIONS THAT ARE FREQUENTLY PRESCRIBED

 

PAIN RELIEVERS

Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are available over-the-counter (OTC). These medications may be ordered in prescription strength by your doctor.

MUSCLE RELAXANTS

If over-the-counter medications aren’t working, your doctor may prescribe prescription muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants might make you sleepy.

Opioid drugs should only be taken for a limited period and under strict monitoring. For persistent, chronic pain, narcotics are ineffective.

Topical pain relievers include creams, lotions, and ointments that may be applied directly on the skin to relieve pain. Vast “patches” of topical pain medications are also available to cover large portions of the back.

Back pain that spreads down the leg may be addressed with cortisone injections into the area surrounding the spinal cord if drugs aren’t working. Cortisone helps to reduce inflammation surrounding nerves.

EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL THERAPY

Doctors prescribe a mix of rest, physical therapy, and modest exercise for minor soft tissue injuries such as strains, sprains, and small ripping of ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The majority of individuals recover from soft tissue back injuries in about a month.

TREATMENTS FOR THE BACK IN A VARIETY OF WAYS

Alternative remedies are non-invasive and may aid in symptom relief. Even if you claim that alternative therapies make you feel better, the insurance company may refuse to pay for them. Treatment options include:

Chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, massage, and yoga are all options.

BACK INJURIES: SURGICAL TREATMENT OPTIONS

The physician removes a little portion of the injured vertebrae called the lamina during laminectomy surgery. The surgeon also removes damaged disc material from the afflicted nerve region, such as fluids and exposed cartilage, to ease pain and suffering.

PERCUTANEOUS VERTEBROPLASTY AND KYPHOPLASTY

Kyphoplasty surgery involves inserting a tiny balloon-like expander into the disc space between the vertebrae. The balloon expands the vertebrae, allowing the surgeon to inject a stabilising substance into the injured region. The surgery makes the vertebrae more durable by strengthening them.

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Through a small incision, the surgeon inserts a small tube with a tiny camera into the vertebra. The camera aids the surgeon in detecting and treating pinched or compressed nerves and identifying vertebrae that may need fusion.

Spinal fusion is a procedure in which two or more vertebrae are fused. Bone tissue (from the patient or a matched donor) is grafted to the injured vertebrae by the surgeon. Because the tissue is organic, it blends in with the existing tissue and strengthens it.

ARTIFICIAL DISK REPLACEMENT (ADR)

The surgeon replaces the badly damaged disc with an artificial prosthetic disc during ADR surgery.

Microdiscectomy is a procedure in which the surgeon removes diseased disc material that is pushing on nerve terminals. The technique often relieves discomfort right away.

TAKING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THE AT-FAULT DRIVER

If the other motorist caused the collision, submit your injury claim with your insurance carrier if you reside in a no-fault insurance state.

Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will cover the costs of your medical treatment, chiropractic care, missed earnings, and other treatment-related out-of-pocket expenditures. PIP insurance does not cover pain and suffering.

Soft-tissue injuries should not exceed the limitations of your PIP policy. Still, if you’ve sustained serious back injuries in a car accident, you may be able to sue the at-fault motorist for compensation.

If no-fault laws apply, the first step is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier for damages.

The expenditures connected with personal injuries or property damage are referred to as damages by the insurance company. Medical costs, out-of-pocket expenditures, missed payments, and pain and suffering are all examples.

The cost of repairing your car, the expense of a rental car while it is being repaired, or the worth of your car if it is totalled are all examples of property damages.

You may also make a property damage claim for personal things such as eyeglasses, cell phones, and clothes lost or destroyed in the accident.

HOW TO DEAL WITH AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER

Your insurance claim will be assigned to a claims adjuster and issued a claim number. The adjuster may seem kind and compassionate, or they may treat you like a thief. You must maintain your composure and behave professionally regardless of how the claims adjuster seems.

The adjuster has been taught to elicit statements from you that may be used against you. Give a recorded statement over the phone or in-person with extreme caution. If you are drugged, furious, or uncomfortable answering inquiries, never make a statement.

Signing a release for your medical records should be treated with the same caution. To verify your injuries, the insurance company will require documents and invoices. They do not, however, need documents irrelevant to your present ailments. You have the opportunity to request a release that is restricted to back injury treatment you obtained after the accident.

Before proceeding with your claim, consult with a personal injury attorney regarding the ramifications of a recorded statement or medical release.

Once you’ve healed from your back injury, total up all of your bills and costs and add a fair amount for pain and suffering to determine the worth of your claim.

Prepare to back up your claims with evidence, and don’t take it personally if the adjuster begins picking apart your claim. Maintain a courteous demeanour while being persistent.

The insurance company for the other motorist will not just issue you a payment. You’ll have to show that the other motorist was careless and that their carelessness caused your back injury.

A STRONG INJURY CLAIM IS BASED ON GOOD EVIDENCE.

You’ll need proof to substantiate your injury claim against the other motorist. Some of the most compelling evidence comes from the site of an car accident:

Officers react to injury accidents, according to the police report. The officer will examine the accident’s cause and submit an official police accident report while on the spot.

Diagrams depicting the accident site, witness identities, fines issued, and the officer’s view on who caused the collision will all be included in the report. Insurance adjusters give the police report a lot of weight.

WITNESS STATEMENTS: Make an effort to communicate with anybody who may be able to assist you with your claim. Request their contact information and a written description of what they saw and heard.

Witnesses may be able to provide proof of the other driver’s carelessness. Perhaps they saw an unlawful act or overheard an admission that was not in their best interests. “It was my fault” or “I was on my mobile phone” are powerful statements.

Take as many photos and videos of the accident site as you can from all perspectives. Photographs aren’t deceiving. It’s better if you have a lot of them. Strong evidence includes photos of the collision location, skid marks, the driver, traffic signals, and more.

 

CONTINUE TO COLLECT EVIDENCE UNTIL YOUR CASE IS RESOLVED MEDICAL BILLS AND DOCUMENTS

Your medical bills and records link your back injuries to the car accident. Obtain copies of all of your medical records, including those from the emergency department, treating physicians, and any tests or therapies you’ve had.

Make sure the doctor’s report specifies that your back injuries were caused by an accident. If the doctor’s notes are ambiguous, request that he rewrite them to be more precise. If you’ve had a previous back injury, be sure your medical records state that the injuries you suffered in this accident are independent and different from any previous injuries.

NOTES AND CORRESPONDENCE

Write thorough notes regarding the accident and how it occurred shortly after it happened. Keep thorough records of your discomfort and limits daily.

Keep note of everyone you talk with concerning your injury claim and make copies of any contact you have with the insurance company. All communications should include the claim number.

WHEN WILL YOU REQUIRE LEGAL ASSISTANCE?

Soft tissue injury claims are normally handled via the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.

The sum of acceptable medical and treatment expenditures, out-of-pocket expenses, and a few weeks of missed pay will be your compensation. If you aren’t filing a no-fault claim under your PIP policy, you may add one or two times that amount for pain and suffering.

The statute of limitations determines how long you have to settle your insurance claim or initiate a lawsuit in each state. Some states have one-year or two-year limits.

You lose your ability to seek compensation if you don’t settle your injury claim or file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out, no matter how seriously you’ve been injured. Don’t put off speaking with an attorney until the last minute. Defend your legal rights.

Serious back injuries, such as disc ruptures and spinal cord injuries, may be costly and devastating. Severe back injuries are expensive claims that should be compensated for future economic losses and long-term medical costs.

Car accident injury plaintiffs who an attorney doesn’t represent are renowned for receiving lesser payouts from insurance companies. When they make their “last” offer, they know you won’t have the legal know-how or the stamina to battle them.

You have much too much to lose by going up against the insurance company alone. To receive close to the compensation you deserve for a car accident back injury, you’ll need the

 

help of an expert attorney. Don’t put it off. Finding out what a skilled attorney can accomplish for you is free.

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