Lower Back Pain From a Car Accident? Understand Your Options
Most people take it for granted that they will be able to do the activities they enjoy—as well as the ones they might not enjoy, but simply need to do—without chronic pain.
If you were in a car accident and are now living with pain, it’s important to understand your options—including enlisting the help of an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer. As you’ll see in this article, having legal representation from an attorney at The Brown Firm may be the right decision to ensure you receive fair compensation for your pain and suffering.
I met with Harry Brown personally and he sat with me for 20 minutes at our initial consultation to explain everything. He even called after my surgery to see how I was doing. I met with him several more times after that and was kept informed about my case throughout. I highly recommend Harry Brown as an attorney.
A Law Firm That Understands Back Pain
As we discuss specific back injuries and your options following a car accident, it’s best to start with understanding what you are facing and why it’s happening to you.
On this front, we offer you a unique experience in two different ways:
- Our core belief that “you matter” means we listen to you. And this allows us to have a better picture of what you are going through and what we can do to help your situation.
- Our firm’s managing partner, Harry Brown Jr., DC, JD, started as chiropractor before practicing law. While The Brown Firm is not a medical organization, his background in providing chiropractic care does offer valuable insight into conditions like soft tissue injuries and back pain after a car crash, and what your treatment plan might entail.
Why Do I Have Back Pain After a Car Accident?
Virtually all back injuries from car accidents come down to a matter of physics. Cars can move at very high speeds. If the car’s momentum stops or starts abruptly—like when it hits (or is hit by) something heavy or anchored—things inside the car (including a human body) continue moving forward until they collide with an airbag, dashboard, windshield, etc.
The force of impact in a car accident can cause back injuries. So can whiplash caused by the safety device intended to keep your body in motion from crashing into the windshield: your seatbelt. In this case, the forward-moving body is suddenly stopped and jerked back. (Most of the time, people think about a neck injury in conjunction with whiplash, but chronic back pain in a car accident can be related to whiplash as well.)
Common Back Injuries That Can Cause Chronic Pain After a Car Accident
When it comes to your pain after a car accident, there are a variety of possible back injuries you may have sustained. Some of the more common ones, and the injury symptoms, include:
- Lumbar sprains and strains. Excessive physical force—such as the kind placed upon the body during car accidents—can cause muscles and connective tissues (tendons, ligaments) to stretch beyond their normal range. A strained back muscle or sprained tendon may become inflamed and lead to chronic pain in the lumbar region. You might also experience restricted movement with one of these soft tissue injuries. Fortunately, physical therapy can help restore movement and possibly even reduce the likelihood you will need surgery for your back injury.
- Herniated disc. A herniated disc is a common back injury that can happen for a variety of reasons, including motor vehicle crashes. The bones (lumbar vertebrae) in your spinal column are separated by gel-filled spinal discs. When you have a herniated disc, the gel-like material normally contained inside the spinal discs may come into contact with nerve tissue, which can be a source of severe pain.
- Discogenic pain. If you have sharp, shooting pain in your lower back that worsens by sitting, standing, or bending over for short (or long) periods of time, it’s possible this injury is responsible. Discogenic pain develops when inflammation or other problems with a spinal disc irritate the nerves. In some cases, this radiating pain continues down to other areas, such as the groin, legs, or feet in a related condition known as sciatica. If the pain goes away or improves when you lie down, it’s even more likely this is what you are experiencing.
- Spinal stenosis. The bone channel housing your spinal cord and nerves can become narrow due to a severe car accident. This happens when a bone fragment or ruptured disc slides into the spinal canal. You will likely have sharp, severe back pain from this injury because of the pressure applied to the nerves coming from the spinal column. Intense pain is a warning sign for nerve injury or damage.
- Cauda equina syndrome. A rare and severe form of spinal stenosis, cauda equina syndrome is a condition where all the nerves in the lower back become compressed. Some symptoms are similar to sciatica, in that issues such as pain, weakness, and numbness may extend beyond the back into one or both legs. This can make it difficult to get up from chairs or stumble when you walk. Other symptoms include bladder problems, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. If your accident has led to this condition, there is a significant chance you will need surgery.
- Degenerative spinal disorder. This term generally refers to any of several potential conditions, including spinal osteoarthritis, degenerative scoliosis, and spondylolisthesis. While these conditions are commonly associated with spine tissues breaking down over time from natural aging, there can be an earlier onset caused by physical trauma, such as a car accident.
While this list covers several likely possibilities for your back pain after a car crash, it is certainly not exhaustive. And while we can point you in the right direction, it is always best (for both your health and your legal case) to seek diagnosis from your doctor or another licensed medical practitioner as soon as possible.
Besides receiving proper diagnosis, the simple fact of the matter is that you do not want back injuries to be left untreated. This is especially true if the car accident caused damage to any of your spinal nerves. Early intervention can potentially help you avoid permanent nerve damage. Plus, pain medication reduces suffering and physical therapy can play a role in helping you recover from back injuries.
The Next Steps After Medical Attention for Back Injuries From an Auto Accident
Once you’ve received medical attention and started pain management and a treatment plan, it’s time to see what your next steps are.
After the accident, ideally you should have exchanged insurance and contact information with the other driver, taken pictures of the scene, talked with the police, and gotten names and information from witnesses. You should also record the year, make, model, and license plate numbers for all vehicles involved in the crash.
It’s best to write down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as possible, while your memory is still fresh. And be sure to obtain a copy of the police report.
Along with documentation from the accident itself, you also should keep and compile all bills, doctor reports, and any other important documentation related to pain management, medical treatment, and physical therapy. Essentially, any money you pay for receiving medical attention should be documented and accounted for, which can help your case in seeking fair compensation.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Once you feel comfortable about having all the relevant information collected, it is time to start the insurance claim process for your lower back pain.
Depending on the type of insurance company you use and coverage you have, you need to file your claim by anywhere from 30 days to two years after the accident. To know what timeframe you are looking at, you may want to review your policy, go to the insurance company’s website, or call an agent. Regardless of how long you have, though, it’s best not to delay this unnecessarily. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is two years, and if you wait too long to get the ball rolling you may not have enough time to build a strong case.
You probably have a handful of options for how you want to file your claim. Most major companies have forms on their website, but you can also call, email, or possibly even use a mobile app.
When you file, you’ll be glad you kept all the information we previously covered. Your insurance company will ask for basic details and it’s better (and easier) to use those resources, instead of trying to rely solely on your memory.
Working With an Attorney Can Significantly Strengthen Your Case
If your adjuster asks for an estimate of damages, be careful. Committing to a specific number might make things challenging as you seek appropriate compensation, and especially if you could be entitled to future lost wages.
Keep in mind that it is difficult to put a value on pain and suffering, especially when this isn’t your area of expertise. Also, remember that the insurance company’s main goal is protecting profits—not claimants—and that the first settlement offer you receive is likely for less (often far less) than what you truly deserve.
Fortunately, it’s one where our experienced personal injury attorneys can really help you out.
Along with calculating your case’s value, we can obtain and analyze evidence, review forms from your insurance company, communicate with the other driver’s insurer, and negotiate on your behalf.
Insurance adjusters have a goal of spending as little of the insurance company’s money as possible. When you have a trusted personal injury attorney on your side, you stand a much better chance of receiving a maximum settlement amount than you might if you go at it alone.
A key difference in the two approaches is that your lawyer likely has considerably more experience in organizing and presenting evidence to prove damages and liabilities.
Another advantage to hiring an attorney when you have lower back pain from a car accident is for negotiation with any medical lien holders on your claim. Your lawyer can potentially reduce the amount of the lien needing to be paid back or perhaps even dispute the basis of a claimed lien.
In addition to negotiating with lien holders, your personal injury lawyer works to have medical lien costs factored into your compensation. When we are able to do that for you, it means you receive more of the full amount you’re entitled to.
Georgia Car Accident Attorneys Who Make You the Priority
When you are suffering from back pain following a car accident, you have a couple different options:
You can try handling the insurance claim on your own. If you want to take this route, we hope you have a clearer understanding now of everything you need to do. It’s worth noting that the DIY approach is more likely to succeed in minor cases where you weren’t hurt (or your back injuries were very mild) and you feel comfortable collecting and organizing necessary documents and evidence. More importantly, you feel confident going against the insurance company and their vast experience and resources in settlement negotiations.
You can hire a personal injury attorney. This choice makes sense if you’d prefer to be guided by a skilled legal professional. As we discussed earlier, personal injury lawyers can do a lot to assist you through the insurance claims process for back injuries, and are often able to secure higher settlements—in addition to alleviating your responsibility and stress. Of course, this becomes an essential choice if your case ultimately ends up in a court of law, where you need an experienced legal professional on your side.
You can hire The Brown Firm. While you certainly have many options for hiring a personal injury lawyer in Georgia after you’ve been in a car accident, we believe you would have a hard time finding a stronger fit. Our team has proven skill and experience handling cases where clients are hurt in car accidents and need legal assistance.
More than that, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of Harry Brown’s unique position as both an attorney and a chiropractor. His medical insight can be quite beneficial in helping to make your case with insurers or in court.
At The Brown Firm, we go above and beyond for you because you are our priority. Your healing, in every sense of the word (financially, physically, emotionally), is important to us. We want you to emerge from a tough situation and be in a position where you can live your best life. And our dedicated, experienced attorneys give you the opportunity to make that happen.
Ready to Talk to a Lawyer Who Has Your Back?
Unparalleled Legal Service for You and Your Loved Ones
We know firsthand that both the law and physical health can be hard, complicated matters. When a car accident leads to a life-altering problem like lower back pain, you need someone in your corner to help you become whole again. Your attorney with The Brown Firm can be that someone.
Our team is here to answer any questions you might have. Even better, think about contacting us for a free consultation. Doing so gives you the opportunity to have your story heard by attorneys who know what steps need to be taken if you want to receive compensation that is fair to you.
Remember, our Savannah and Atlanta offices are always here for you if you need a personal injury attorney. If you’d like to give us a call, you can reach us at (800) 529-1441.
Alexander Orthopaedic Associates. (2021, February 22). Common Back Injuries From a Car Accident. Alexanderorthopaedics.com. Retrieved from https://alexanderorthopaedics.com/blog/common-back-injuries-from-a-car-accident/
Wheeler, T. (2020, January 26). Causes of Back Pain. Webmd.com. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/causes-back-pain
Stuart, A. (2020, November 18). Cauda Equina Syndrome Overview. Webmd.com. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/cauda-equina-syndrome-overview#1
Ramsey Solutions. (2021, September 27). How to File an Insurance Claim: Everything You Need to Know. Ramseysolutions.com. Retrieved from https://www.ramseysolutions.com/insurance/how-to-file-an-insurance-claim
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