According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end accidents are the most frequent types of car crashes, responsible for almost 30 percent of all accidents in the U.S. While some rear-end collisions amount to little more than fender benders, others can cause significant injuries.
Suffering a severe back injury in a crash can change your life forever. However, knowing what to do when your back hurts after being rear-ended can be essential for recovering what you deserve. If someone else caused the accident, our experienced car accident lawyers could help you receive compensation for your damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and others. Contact Morgan & Morgan today to determine if you qualify for compensation for your back injury.
Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Causes of rear-end accidents can include driver error or negligence, bad weather, and dangerous road conditions. Most rear-end crashes occur due to:
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Snow, ice, or excessive amounts of water on the road
- Low visibility
- Poor road construction
- Road defects
Most accidents are caused by driver error or negligence. If you got hurt in an accident with a careless or aggressive driver, you could be entitled to damages for your back injuries. Morgan & Morgan’s experienced car accident lawyers can walk you through your legal options and fight for what you deserve.
Common Back Injuries From Rear-End Accidents
Back pain can be a common symptom after a rear-end accident. Some back and neck injuries are mild and resolve on their own. However, others could require extensive medical therapies and cause steep healthcare bills. Some of the most common back injuries in rear-end accidents include:
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a classic rear-end accident neck injury. Whiplash can occur in minor and severe crashes and may cause upper back pain and other symptoms, such as:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Shoulder pain
- Numbness in arms and hands
Whiplash, if mild, can be a harmless injury that heals on its own. However, severe whiplash could lead to chronic pain and other ongoing health problems. Treatments for severe whiplash can be costly and involve medication, physical therapy, and surgery.
Severe rear-end crashes can cause damage to the spinal cord itself as well as various other injuries, including:
Spinal fractures can occur anywhere in the spine and can be caused by high-speed rear-end collisions. Spinal fractures can damage the spinal cord. Symptoms of a spinal fracture can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury and include:
- Back or neck pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Weakness of limbs
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing in the spinal area that can cause nerve damage. While spinal stenosis can result from aging, car accidents can cause injuries directly leading to spinal stenosis. Symptoms of spinal stenosis can include muscle weakness, pain, numbness, and problems controlling the bladder and bowels.
Herniated (slipped or bulging) discs
Herniated discs tend to occur in the lower part of the back. Some car accident victims have herniated discs from a car accident without experiencing any symptoms at first. Symptoms, when they do arise, can include numbness, weakness, and arm and leg pain.
Muscle Sprains and Strains
Muscle strains and sprains and other soft-tissue injuries of the back are common vehicle accident injuries. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments could suffer sprains, tears, and other damage. While soft tissue injuries are rarely serious, they can take several weeks and even months to heal and cause considerable discomfort and pain.
You Could Receive Compensation for a Back Injury
Back pain from a car crash can result in astronomical medical costs and loss of wages. Moreover, a victim with a severe or disabling back injury could see their career and home life irreversibly changed and may be unable to live independently. However, if someone else is responsible for your accident, you could receive compensation, including but not limited to:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost income and future loss of earning capacity
- Medical transportation costs
- Modification of your car and home
- Awards for pain and suffering
While there is no average settlement amount for a back injury, compensation will depend on your type of injury, amount of medical bills, and other damages.
Your Best Steps When Your Back Hurts After Being Rear-Ended
When you were involved in a rear-end accident and developed back pain, your vital next step should be visiting a doctor as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis. Your medical provider can also rule out undetected injuries such as herniated discs and others. Other important actions can include:
To have a case and receive compensation, you will have to prove your damages and injuries. Start gathering evidence, such as medical reports, photographs of the accident, and other material, as soon as possible after the accident.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
If another driver or other party caused your accident, you should speak to a car accident lawyer promptly after the accident. We can assess your case and determine the best way forward to fight for what you deserve.
Managing Back Pain at Home
Visiting a doctor who can diagnose your injuries and offer specific treatment is crucial for the treatment of a rear-end back injury. However, there are some actions you can take at home to deal with your back pain. Make sure to check with your doctor first before trying any of the following pain management tips.
Taking time off work and resting can help to heal car accident back injuries. In some cases, icing or applying heat to the injury can be helpful to control pain. Ensure to ask your doctor whether ice or heat is appropriate for your injury. Ice can reduce swelling and inflammation if applied immediately after the injury occurs. Heat is not normally recommended directly after the injury, but in the days following can help to increase blood flow to the injured area. Increased blood flow can help to soothe tense muscles and reduce pain.
2. Pain Medication
A doctor, depending on your injury, may prescribe pain medication. Some over-the-counter pain relievers can also help with pain and reduce inflammation. However, if your pain is not improving after a few days, ensure to consult with your doctor.
Immediately after injuring your back, rest can be helpful. However, after resting for some time, gentle exercise can be just as vital for getting you back on your feet and reducing pain. Gentle daily walks can improve blood flow to the back and help the healing process. As the spine is supported by many muscles, keeping those muscles as strong as possible can help reduce back pain in the long term.
Your doctor may also recommend other therapies to help reduce pain and make you feel more comfortable such as massage or physical therapy.