Things to know if you injure your back in an automobile accident
If you have ever been hit by another vehicle while driving, there is a high chance that you have suffered some sort of back injury. Back and neck injuries are a common occurrence in automobile accidents, especially in rear-end collisions, as the body is in a resting position and is not prepared at all to bear the force of impact. This is the reason why there is a high risk of back injury even if the collision occurs at a low speed.
The medical costs are often quite high for the treatment of back and neck injuries, and in a few cases, there is also a chance that the victim never makes a complete recovery, and requires constant care. As per Florida law, you should not bear these costs on your own if your injuries were caused due to someone else’s carelessness. In such a case, your treatment costs are to be paid by the individual or organization responsible for the accident.
Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having a back injury as a result of an automobile accident should have a complete understanding of the appropriate course of action to follow. Here are a few important things to remember if your back is injured in an automobile accident.
- It is important to make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in treating issues related to the back and neck as soon as possible. Accident victims often overlook the fact that it often takes some time before the injury manifests itself in the form of pain in the body. This is because a great amount of adrenaline is released in the body after the collision, due to which the victims don’t instantly feel the pain. It could take a few days before the pain is fully felt, and by that time the injury could aggravate further, making the recovery process more complicated.
- The nature of back/neck injury suffered as a result of an automobile collision can vary. Some injuries are of mild nature while others indicate damage of a more serious nature. Below are some of the common types of injuries as a result of vehicle collisions.
- Back Injuries suffered as a result of automobile accidents include damage to the vertebral column, such as disc bulge. Your vertebral column is lined up from top to bottom with small discs, which provide additional protection to the spine. A disc bulge can cause pain in your back and throughout your body depending on where in the back the bulge occurred, which is known as disc herniation.
- Vertebral Compression Fractures can also occur as a result of rear-end collisions. Compression fractures occur as a result of the movement of the upper abdomen as opposed to the restricted movement of the lower abdomen, which is bound by the seatbelt. If the upper abdominal region moves abnormally forward, the vertebral column stretches and curves more than it can bear, resulting in a fracture. Compression fractures manifest themselves in the form of severe back pain which increases in intensity if you move. In severe cases, the vertebral column completely detaches at the region of compression, causing damage to the spine, as a result of which the victim experiences numbness in the limbs and the back.
- Damage to the soft tissue of the back can result in strain and/or sprain. Considered to be the most common injury resulting from automobile accidents, soft tissue damage can result in mild to severe pains in the back. Damage to the soft-tissue is caused by stretching/tearing of ligaments or tendons, which has a negative impact on the corresponding nerve-endings. In severe cases, damaged soft tissue causes mobility problems.
- Spinal cord damage is the most severe form of injury that occurs as a result of automobile crashes. Permanent damage to the spinal cord can result in lifelong disabilities. Victims can be partially or fully paralyzed as a result, and also risk losing sensations in some parts of the body completely. Even when there is a chance of recovery, it is quite low and requires a lot of money to be spent on physiotherapy.
- If you are treated by a doctor who focuses their medical practice on treating back pain, he or she may help you reduce the pain you are experiencing but the pain and discomfort could also be permanent in nature. It is likely that the doctor will need to do an MRI to determine the extent of the injuries to your back.
- Additionally, once you are getting treated by a doctor it is very important that you continue to follow the treatment procedure as the doctor recommends. In many cases, the car insurance company takes notice if you are failing to go to the doctor, and have what is referred to as “gaps” in your treatment.
- It is likely that you can still see and be treated by a doctor even if you don’t have health insurance. Florida requires all drivers to maintain personal injury protection (PIP) insurance which allows an injured person to receive medical treatment regardless of who is at fault in the automobile accident. In other cases, it may be possible for you and your attorney to sign what is called a “letter of protection”, which states that your doctor will be paid out of the settlement that is recovered from the insurance company.
- It is often the case that due to physical and emotional damages caused by an accident, you might have to take a leave of absence from your job, resulting in your wages being lost. PIP insurance also covers your lost wages if you are unable to go to work as a result of an accident.
- Despite the PIP insurance covering your damages, it is important to know that your medical and wage bills are not fully compensated by it. Based on the extent of damages and loss of wages, this insurance only covers up to 80 percent of the medical expenses, and up to 60 percent of the lost wages. It is possible that the expenses resulting from your injuries have gone way above the amount that you are being compensated as a result of the PIP policy. In such a case, you should seek immediate legal help to strengthen your case against the driver/company responsible for your damages in order to seek compensation from them.
- Even if you are responsible for the accident to some extent, you are still eligible under Florida law to seek damages in court. With an able legal representation that cares about your need to be compensated, you stand a chance to receive damages even if you hold partial responsibility for the accident. The court will determine your extent of fault in the accident and will reduce the financial compensation given to you accordingly. You can get compensated as long as less than 50 percent responsibility for the accident lies with you.
As you can see, injuries to your back that occur because of an automobile accident have a serious (and possibly) lasting impact on your health. However, by seeking medical treatment as soon as possible, and following your doctor’s prescribed course of action, you stand a great chance of fully recovering. The Florida state law also entitles you to seek full compensation for your medical expenses and your lost wages as a result of your back and neck injuries. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you stand a chance to receive reduced compensation.
By acquiring a legal representative who fully dedicates themselves to fighting for your rights as a victim of back injury due to an automobile accident, you greatly increase your chances to receive full payment for any financial losses incurred by you in the form of medical treatment and/or wage losses. If you have questions about your automobile accident case, or seek legal representation to receive compensation, please feel free to call my office in Orlando, Florida at (407)-415-9626.