Victims of vehicle accidents often sustain back injuries. Because the spinal column is a complex system of vertebrae, discs, nerves, muscles, and connecting tissues that are vitally important to the functioning of the human body, a car crash back injury can have a significant impact on the life of an injured victim.
If you suffer a back injury in a South Dakota car crash caused by someone else, you’re entitled to file a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company for your damages: medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. Since your bills could be high, your time off work long, and your pain and suffering extreme, the insurer might try to dispute or deny your claim to save money for the company. In such a case, the services of an experienced lawyer are recommended to help you seek fair compensation for your damages.
Types of Back Injuries Commonly Sustained in Car Accidents
Vehicle accidents can cause a number of injuries to the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower) sections of the spine:
Compression fractures create small cracks or bone fissures when the vertebrae are compressed in a car wreck. Chipping or breaking a vertebra, however, is more serious and can cause irreversible damage to the spinal cord.
Any hard impact to the torso of a driver or passenger in a car crash can rupture, crack, or misalign the discs that support the spine. A damaged or misaligned disc can compress a nerve in the cervical region, resulting in shoulder and neck pain, as well as tingling, numbness, or weakness of the hand and arm. When a disc in the lumbar region is compressed, sciatica, lower back pain, and numbness of the foot and leg can ensue.
The impact suffered in rear-end and head-on crashes frequently causes whiplash, a violent snapping back and forth of the neck that strains and rips connecting tissue between the neck and upper spine. Long-term back and neck issues can result.
Soft tissue damage
Ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the back can be torn, strained, and sprained in a car wreck.
Spinal cord injuries
In the most serious back injuries, the spinal cord can be cut, bruised, or otherwise damaged by contact with compressed, misaligned, or broken vertebrae. Permanent nerve damage or paralysis can follow.
A spinal cord injury is generally caused by an impact that fractures your vertebrae or throws them out of alignment. Most of these injuries do not sever the spinal cord, but pieces of broken vertebrae can come into contact with nerves and other tissues in the spine, causing extreme pain, immobility, and paralysis in serious cases.
Seek Medical Treatment Right Away
Symptoms of back injury include pain, numbness, tingling, spasms, weakness, headaches, reduced mobility, and trouble standing, sitting, or walking. Even if you have none of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after your accident to identify hidden damage, begin treatment, and document your injuries for the purposes of your claim. Without timely diagnosis and treatment, you could end up suffering years later from osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, facet joint syndrome, degenerative disc disease, or chronic pain that could interfere with your ability to work and participate in normal activities.
For these reasons, you should never accept a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurer until you know your long-term prognosis. Once you do, an experienced lawyer can evaluate your claim and demand a fair settlement to cover both present and future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering. If you’re contacted by an insurance adjuster, give only your basic information, and do not:
Give a recorded statement
Grant access to your medical records
Admit any fault for the accident
Post anything about the wreck or your injuries on social media
Instead, refer the adjuster to your attorney, who can negotiate with the insurer or take your case to trial while you focus on recovering with the help of physical therapy, chiropractic care, medication, steroids, casts, surgery, and other treatments your doctor advises.
Have You Suffered a Back Injury in a South Dakota Car Crash?
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you seek fair benefits. Contact us online or call us at 605-644-5003 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout South Dakota and northwest Iowa. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.