What Causes Back Injuries?
Back injuries can be caused by all different kinds of accidents or incidents. Since people use their backs for so many activities and since the back is such a large portion of the body, it is frequently prone to injury. Frequently back injuries happen due to:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including truck, bus, bicycle, and pedestrian collisions
- Slip and falls
- Other premise liability incidents
- Defective products, such as a faulty airbag in a vehicle
- Workplace accidents
- Sports and recreational accidents
- Overuse injuries
Types of Back InjuriesBack injuries make it difficult to move freely and normally throughout your day. While numerous types of back injuries can cause pain and mobility difficulties, the most common types of back injuries include:
Back Sprains and StrainsThe most common types of back injuries are sprains and strains. These injuries can occur suddenly or gradually over time. Strains often happen from twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon in your back. Sprains often result from a slip and fall or sudden twist, or even some type of trauma that forces a joint out of its natural position.
- Symptoms of sprains or strains usually include:
- Hearing of feeling a “pop” with the occurrence of the injury
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Problems standing up straight, bending, or walking
- Pain the worsens with particular movements
Herniated or Bulging DiscsHerniated or bulging discs are also quite common. Discs are the rubbery cushions between the vertebrae. Best described as a jelly donut with a softer center inside a tougher exterior, disc herniation occurs when the more delicate "jelly" comes through a tear in the disc. This can make nearby nerves irritated and cause:
- Leg or arm pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle weakness
- Epidural injections
- Physical therapy
Fractured VertebraVertebra can sometimes sustain a crack or gap, also known as a compression fracture. Fractured vertebrae can happen due to various traumas to the spine or a fall. Symptoms of a fractured vertebra include:
- Acute or chronic back pain or discomfort
- Decrease in height
- Hunched posture
- Physical therapy
- Minimally-invasive surgical procedures, including vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty
What is Your Back Injury Settlement Worth?Every back injury claim is unique. Many factors will help determine what your back injury claim is worth. Those who suffer back injuries must speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The sooner they have an experienced lawyer on their side, the better the chance that they will receive maximum compensation for their injuries. The value of a back injury case depends on:
- The insurance coverage involved or other sources of compensation
- The extent and severity of the back injury—for example, a permanently paralyzed person will receive more compensation than someone with a ruptured disc.
- The long-term prognosis of the injury
- The evidence in support of the claim
- What the victim does for a living, and if they can still perform their job
- How long the injured victim waits to file a claim or pursue litigation
- The negotiation and litigation skills of the injured party’s attorney
Maximizing Your Back Injury CompensationYou deserve fair compensation for your back injuries. While you, unfortunately, don’t have complete control over the outcome of your claim, there are steps you can take after an accident that will likely increase the payout available for your back injuries.
Comprehensive Documentation of Your Medical Treatment and CostsIt’s imperative always to seek prompt medical attention after an injury accident. Refusing medical attention at the scene or not seeing a doctor until several days later gives the insurance adjuster reason to say your injuries weren’t from the accident but rather something that happened afterward or even a pre-existing condition. In addition, adjusters will typically refuse to pay for chiropractors, acupuncturists, or other alternative care providers. Unfortunately, even if these treatments make your back pain or mobility better, the insurance company doesn't like to pay for them. Insurance carriers must only pay for medically necessary treatment administered according to the accepted standards of medical practice. You may be responsible for the expenses of alternative therapies or anything else not medically necessary if the insurance adjuster rejects it. Your personal injury attorney can help you obtain the necessary medical documentation and bills to establish your injuries, the medical necessity of your treatments, and your expenses.
Gather as Much Evidence as PossibleSuccessful personal injury claims are rooted in solid evidence. Your attorney will use evidence to prove that the at-fault party was negligent, resulting in your back injuries. Your injury attorney will also collect evidence to prove:
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- That your injuries are the direct result of their actions
Police ReportThe responding law enforcement officers will investigate the accident and file an official accident report. If it was a motor vehicle accident, the report might include accident scene diagrams, witness names, lists of any tickets issued, and the law enforcement officer's opinion of who caused the collision. You need a detailed and accurate police report as insurance adjusters rely heavily on them when making their determinations. You or your attorney can obtain this report directly from the responding law enforcement agency, usually within a few days after the accident.
Witness StatementsIf you physically can, speak to anyone who might have information that can help you prove your claim. For example, witnesses may have seen the other driver's negligence. Maybe they saw them do something illegal or overheard an admission, such as “The accident was my fault, I was driving too fast” or “I was texting/talking on my phone.”
Pictures and VideoIf possible, get as many photographs and videos of the accident scene as possible and from different angles. Pictures and videos don't lie. If you were involved in a car accident, be sure you get pictures of:
- The point of impact
- Any skid marks found on the road
- The driver
- Traffic signals
- Road and weather conditions
- Anything else that might have contributed to the accident
- Medical Records: Your medical bills and records are vital evidence connecting your back injuries to the car accident. If you suffered a previous back injury, ensure your medical record details that your injuries from this accident are distinct and separate from your previous injury.
- Notes: Right after the accident, begin taking detailed notes on how it happened, what happened leading up to it, and afterward. Keeping detailed notes about your day-to-day pain and limitations can also go a long way in proving your damages.
How Adjusters Can Limit Back Injury CompensationInsurance companies are well-known for providing lower settlements to accident victims who don’t have legal representation. They know the injured individual likely won’t have the legal background or the energy to fight after presenting their “final” offer. When trying to pay as little as possible for claims, common insurance adjuster tactics include:
- Blaming the individual with the back injury for contributing to their injuries
- Purporting that spinal injuries are degenerative or from a previous injury
- Arguing that the accident was low-impact or too minor to result in injuries
- Disputing you need medical treatment or time off work