Your back—including the spine (vertebrae, joints, discs and nerves) bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments—is a marvel of structure, strength, and flexibility. It is also vulnerable to damage caused by anything from aging, lifting, sports, falls, and even working around the house or in the garden. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of Americans will suffer back pain associated with one of those or other activities or incidents in their lifetime. In addition to workplace accidents, car crashes are a leading cause of back injuries, including some that can be debilitating and cause chronic, lifelong pain.
If you have suffered a back injury as the result of a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence or reckless behavior of another, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to help you cover expenses associated with past and future medical and rehabilitative care, as well as lost income. You may also be awarded compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Common Texas car accident back injuries
If you have been injured in a car accident or crash involving any other type of motor vehicle, it is always in your best interest to get medical attention as soon as possible, even if the injury doesn’t seem serious. Many back and neck injuries that feel insignificant at first may become more serious and painful after a few hours, days, or weeks after the accident.
Here are some of the more common back injuries associated with car accidents in Texas:
- Spinal fractures: This is commonly known as a broken back. A spinal fracture is a break in one or more of the vertebrae, or 33 bones, that protect your spinal cord. According to an article by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), a majority of spinal fractures occur in the thoracic (mid-back) or lumbar (lower back) areas, or at the juncture of the two regions, although cervical (neck) and sacral (below the waist) injuries may also occur. That same article describes the symptoms of a spinal fracture as including “moderate to severe back pain that is worsened with movement. If the spinal cord or nerves are involved, the patient may experience bowel/bladder dysfunction along with numbness, tingling, or weakness in the limbs.” Different types of spinal fractures patterns are flexion, extension, and rotation. Estimates of how many spinal fractures are the result of vehicular accidents range from 40 to 60 percent.
- Herniated discs: Intervertebral discs are “pads” between the vertebrae that act as shock absorbers. It consists of a rubbery outer portion called the annulus fibrosis with a jelly-like filling called the nucleus pulposus. While discs are prone to degenerating with age, trauma—such as that experienced in a car accident—can cause the annulus fibrosis to tear (herniate), allowing the nucleus pulposus to leak out. Oddly enough, the pain isn’t necessarily from the herniated disc (also referred to as a slipped disk or disk prolapse), but rather from the protrusion pressing on the spinal cord or a nerve root, or the leaking fluid may irritate and inflame the nerve root.
Symptoms associated with this injury may include arm or leg pain, radiating numbness or tingling, or muscle weakness.
- Spinal cord injuries: According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury, followed by falls. The vertebrae are a series of small bones that protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is like an information highway, receiving and sending messages from the muscles, skin, organs, and joints to and from the brain. When the vertebrae are broken, crushed, or dislocated, they can put dangerously harmful pressure on the spinal cord. When that pressure is severe, it may lead to paralysis. The parts of the body that may be paralyzed depend on the location of the damage. This debilitating injury may be:
- Complete: This is permanent paralysis. Tetraplegia (or quadriplegia) refers to partial or total loss of sensory and motor loss of all four limbs and the torso. Paraplegia is paralysis of the legs and lower body.
- Incomplete: An incomplete spinal cord injury means there has been partial damage to the spinal cord. It is still a serious injury, but may not cause complete loss of movement and sensation. Medical outcomes depend on the location and severity of the injury, as well as the patient’s overall health.
- Back strains: A strain, whether in the back or any other part of the body, is an injury to the muscle or tendon when they are twisted, pulled, or torn. An injury of this sort may result in lingering pain that causes you to miss work.
- Back sprains: Often confused with a strain, a sprain is a stretching or tearing of the ligament. Whiplash is a common type of injury that can be caused by a strain or sprain when the head is violently whipped back and forth, such as happens in rear-end accidents.
Both back strains and back sprains can cause long-lasting complications, including chronic pain.
How a League City car accident lawyer can help if you’ve suffered a back injury in a motor vehicle accident
A personal injury lawsuit involves deadlines, police reports, finding and preserving evidence, organizing bills and statements—and most of all, dealing with insurance companies, their adjusters, and their legal teams: all of whom are out to ensure that they pay you the minimum amount of compensation.
As attorneys with decades of experience helping people throughout the Houston area get full and fair compensation, we know what’s at stake for you and what it takes to win. We take the burden and fear of dealing with the insurance company off your shoulders, so you can work on getting on your life. Moreover, we only get paid if we make a recovery for you. If no recovery is made, no expenses or fees are charged.
Learn more about how we can help
Chances are, if you or a family member has suffered a back injury in a car accident, you have many questions and concerns. We are here to help. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your needs, please call us at 281-645-5000 or contact us online.