Personal Injury Cases Involving Spinal Fusions: Legal Considerations

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

September 9, 2022

Car Accident and Spinal Fusion Lawsuits

When a person is hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in Colorado, he or she has the legal right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent or at-fault party. The damage  claim or lawsuit seeks financial recompense for the accident victim’s injuries and losses (or  plaintiff).

While the great majority of personal injury cases settle before trial, the injured party  (or plaintiff) should not settle without first considering the entire degree of the injuries or losses.  This involves deciding whether or not future medical therapy or surgical operations are a  possibility.

For example, a patient in Pueblo, Steven, underwent a spinal fusion due to injuries sustained in  an automobile accident. C4 to C7 were welded together and encased in a titanium cage.

His strength had improved, but he still experienced a dull burning ache with migraine headaches,  even though he no longer had agonizing nerve agony produced by the compression. He battled  his agony regularly. So, to correctly manage this scenario, the true question is: what are the  chances of future difficulties with the nearby discs?

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As you can see from the case above, major neck injuries from vehicle accidents that need a spinal fusion may occasionally lead to problems or the need for further surgery. If a personal  injury lawsuit is resolved before a first spinal fusion, the plaintiff may not obtain full and fair  compensation for all of the accident’s losses.

As a result, an accident victim must wait until the spinal fusion cures before determining whether  any problems or further surgeries are required. This is because, in cases where additional spinal  surgery is required, if a case is settled too soon or before the need for additional surgery is determined, the accident victim risks losing compensation for subsequent damages such as  medical bills, pain, and suffering, or other losses caused by the additional surgery.

Of course, when filing a personal injury or negligence claim, the statute of limitations must be  considered. The statute of limitations for launching a negligence case in Colorado is three (3)  years. This implies that the injured person will be eternally banned from filing a lawsuit if it is  not filed within three years after the vehicle accident.

If time is a problem, a report from the treating surgeon may be acquired. He or she gives a medical opinion on whether another spinal  fusion surgery is necessary and the expected expense of another operation and future medical  care.

In addition, insurance policy limitations are a legal factor. The amount of insurance coverage  held by the at-fault motorist, as well as the amount of underinsured coverage held by you, must  be investigated. A vehicle insurance company is solely liable for damages or losses caused by its  insured up to the policy’s limitations. Settlement may be contemplated if the policy limits are  insufficient compared to the number of medical bills and other losses suffered.


Rear-end collisions are the most prevalent automobile accident in the United States, accounting  for a third of all traffic accidents. The also are a major cause of back and neck injuries.

In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 1.7 million people were involved in rear-end incidents, a figure that continues to climb year after  year. According to the NHTSA’s most current annual figures, about 2.4 million rear- end  incidents occurred on America’s highways in 2016, with nearly 700,000 resulting in injury and  around 2,300 fatalities.

Being in a rear-end collision may result in a variety of injuries. Back and neck injuries are especially common among accident victims. A back or neck injury may result in lifelong disability and a life of chronic pain, depending on the speed and angles of the event.

If you or a loved one was injured in a vehicle accident in Colorado and sustained a neck or back  injury, call a knowledgeable car accident attorney to understand how to collect damages  connected to your injury. To book a free consultation, call Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, or Warrior Car Accident Lawyers at 719-300-1100.

Back and neck injuries in rear-end accidents, how to avoid these frequent incidents, responsibility in rear-end collisions in Colorado, and quick procedures to take after a rear- end  collision are all covered in this guide.


Because rear-end crashes often occur at moderate speeds, they differ from other kinds of automobile accidents. Although seat belts and airbag activation prevent passenger movement in a  crash, particularly in the front seat, the neck and upper back are still subjected to abnormal  pressures.

During a rear-end collision, the bodies in the automobile move back and forth swiftly. This motion, along with the contact of the body with the seatback, is a major cause of neck and back  problems.

Facet joints are flexible joints that link each vertebra in your spine, allowing you to bend and twist. When the neck moves after an accident, the facet joints hit one other, resulting in many neck injuries. A rear-end collision also causes your middle and lower back to swing back and  forth, disrupting and flattening the natural curvature of your spine.


Rear-end crashes may cause a broad range of back and neck injuries, depending on the speed at  which they happen. The following are some examples of common injuries:

The most frequent injury caused by a rear-end accident is whiplash. When the victim’s head and  neck move due to the collision, soft tissue injury occurs in the neck and upper back.

Whiplash injuries may vary in severity from minor to serious.

When a rear-end collision happens at high speed, spinal fractures are more likely to occur. The  torso and head of a driver or passenger are thrown about while the lower part of their body is  restrained by the seat belt, leading to compression fractures or other vertebral breaks.

Stress fractures may also cause vertebrae to shift out of position, creating Spondylolisthesis, a  disorder in which nerves and/or the spinal canal are squeezed, causing pain and numbness.

Slipped discs, also known as herniated discs, occur when the discs that cushion the vertebrae  slide out of position due to the force of a rear-end accident. Pain and numbness are also an effect of this.

Even at moderate speeds, a rear-end collision may cause spinal cord injury. Small damage to the  spinal processes and nerves may result in temporary paralysis, which should recover over time.  However, the chord may sometimes be cut, resulting in permanent complete or partial paralysis.  Keep in mind that the higher a spinal cord damage occurs on the body, the more probable a person would lose functions or become paralyzed.


After a rear-end incident, seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. You may experience pain and numbness right away if you suffer a back or neck injury, but it’s also possible to feel  OK for a time after the event.

For a variety of reasons, skipping medical care is a bad idea. First, medical documentation of  your injuries proves that your attorney may later utilize to argue that your neck and back injuries  were caused by accident. Second, many symptoms of neck and back injuries take days or weeks  to appear after an event. Just because you don’t feel hurt doesn’t mean you weren’t.

Some signs of neck and back injuries that don’t always show up right away after a rear-end accident are listed below:


Stiffness in the neck and shoulders Backache


If you notice any of these symptoms after your injury, even if it’s been days, see your doctor right once. If you experience these symptoms, you may have a neck or back injury, particularly if  you have more than one.

However, even if you don’t notice any symptoms straight away, you should see a doctor following any rear-end incident. Only a skilled doctor can tell you for sure whether or whether  an accident affected your neck or back and to what degree.


If you have a neck or back injury due to a rear-end accident, you will need plenty of time to heal and recover. Treatment options may depend on the kind and severity of the injury, but they may  include:

wearing a brace

Your doctor may recommend wearing a neck brace or back brace to help your body recover and avoid additional damage. Braces can aid in pain management by stopping  you from moving painfully.

Ice packs and heating pads

The heat relieves muscular tension, which helps to remove discomfort. If you have swelling, your doctor may advise you to apply an ice pack to the affected  region to minimize swelling.

Pain relievers

When over-the-counter pain relievers fail to relieve your discomfort, your doctor  may prescribe prescription pain relievers. Prescription pain medicines may lead to addiction, so  expect your doctor to explore a variety of choices with you to prevent becoming reliant on a single medication.

Physical and occupational therapy

 Physical therapy appointments are often scheduled as part of  the process of preparing your body to return to normal function. Neck and back injuries can result in a loss of range of motion. Physical therapy aids in the rebuilding of muscles in the  affected region, allowing you to regain range of motion. If you’ve had a serious accident that has kept you in bed for days, weeks, or months, you’ll require physical therapy to help you recover from muscle loss in all areas of your body.

Chiropractic treatment. After an accident, your priority should be to feel well. Some accident  victims find that seeing a chiropractor helps in pain relief and healing; nevertheless, you should  consult with your attorney about this. Chiropractic therapy is classified as alternative medicine  by certain insurance companies. Therefore your treatment may not be covered. Chiropractic  appointments may be a more cost-effective alternative to visits to a doctor and a physical  therapist.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is studying driver qualities in relation to rear-end incidents due to the high incidence of rear-end collisions. The  following tendencies were discovered in their most recent study:

As drivers become older, they are less likely to collide with the car in front of them in a rear-  end accident; on the other hand, younger drivers, particularly those under the age of 18, are the  most likely to cause a rear-end collision.

The majority of rear-end collisions are caused by young male drivers.

Distracted driving is to blame for more than 85% of rear-end collisions, with the most prevalent  distractions being eating while driving, thinking, and using a mobile phone.

The majority of rear-end crashes happen while the car in front of you is stopped in traffic.

The majority of rear-end incidents happen on clear days.


In the great majority of cases, rear-end incidents are completely preventable. Following these suggestions will help you prevent a rear-end accident, whether you’re driving the lead car or following another vehicle:

Leave at least a four-second gap between you and the automobile you’re following, allowing  you adequate time and space to respond if they have to brake unexpectedly.

Avoid any distractions while driving, such as talking on the phone, grooming, changing the  radio, reaching in the rear, and so on.

Check that your brake lights and turn signals are operational and that you utilize them to  communicate your intentions to traffic behind you.

Check your rear-view mirror for automobiles approaching from behind, particularly before  slowing down or turning.

If someone is tailgating you, pull over to the side and let them pass.

Because of the wet roads, increase your following distance while it’s raining. Check that your brakes are in good working order. You risk an accident if they fail. Brake early and carefully rather than slamming on the brakes at the last moment.

In Colorado, you are responsible for your actions.

Collisions with the back of the vehicle

Because of Colorado’s no-fault auto insurance statute, all motorists who register a vehicle must  have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This implies that regardless of blame, each  motorist must submit a claim under his or her PIP coverage following a rear-end collision.

Remember that Colorado’s PIP coverage only reimburses policyholders for 80% of medical bills  and 60% of lost income. It’s conceivable that you’ll reach or surpass your policy limit in major incidents that result in severe damage, and you’ll need to pursue legal action with the aid of a  personal injury attorney to obtain extra compensation from those who are legally liable to you.

You don’t have to worry about responsibility when you submit an insurance claim under your  PIP coverage. Still, when you go to court with the aid of an attorney, culpability is often a point  of contention. In the great majority of rear-end accident situations, the driver of the back car is  found to be at blame; nevertheless, this is not always the case.

Expect the defense to make arguments to absolve you of part or all responsibility for the accident and injuries, such as alleging that you were driving while intoxicated, distracted, or exhausted.

Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, Colorado law allows you to seek compensation in civil court. A court may lower your award depending on how much you contributed to the accident, but you have the right to claim compensation as long as you are less  than 50% at blame.


If you experience a significant neck or back injury as a result of a rear-end accident and your PIP  insurance limitations have been surpassed, Colorado law allows you to claim for damages.

Medical treatment expenses, missed income, reduced earning ability, and non-economic losses   like pain and suffering, loss of consortium with a spouse, and others may be included in your  damages.

You are entitled to full and equitable compensation for the physical, mental, and financial loss  caused by another driver’s irresponsible actions behind the wheel, which resulted in a rear-end  accident and caused you injury. Allowing an expert attorney to help you through the  compensation procedure may allow your mind and body to concentrate on healing and rehabilitation.

You don’t have to do it alone when seeking reimbursement and negotiating with insurance providers. We’re here to assist you. Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, and  Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, are experienced car accident attorneys who  can handle all aspects of a typical car accident case, including investigating the accident,  gathering relevant documents, negotiating a settlement, and litigating when a settlement isn’t  possible.

To book a free consultation and learn more about how we may be able to assist you after a rear- end collision, call 719-300-1100. From our locations on both the east and west  coasts of Colorado, we serve clients.

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