Why it Can be Challenging to Link a Back Injury to a Car Crash

doctor studying patient's back
doctor studying patient's back

Back injuries can be debilitating and require expensive, ongoing treatment. That is why car insurance companies want to find any reason to deny a claim for a back injury or a reason to justify a lowball offer of compensation. Often, they will say your injury was caused by something besides the crash. For example, they may say you have a preexisting medical condition.

Validating a claim for a back injury can be a challenge, which is why you should seriously consider working with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Friedman, Domiano and Smith know the tactics insurance companies often employ to deny or undervalue claims. Our Cleveland-based vehicle accident attorneys are prepared to fight back, and we have the resources to investigate the crash and your injury to build a robust case.

Our goal is to secure full compensation for your injury so you can get the treatment you need to make the best recovery possible. Our services are provided at no upfront cost, and the initial consultation is free, so there is no financial risk with our services.  

Why Car Crashes May Cause Back Injuries

You can injure your back during a variety of activities, from contact sports to housework. That is why it comes as no surprise that crash victims could suffer back injuries.

Even at relatively slow speeds, a collision can be incredibly traumatic for a vehicle occupant’s back. The bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves in your back are all at significant risk of injury in a crash.

Back Injuries From Car Crashes

These are some of the most common car crash back injuries that often occur:

  • Herniated disc – The force of impact could move a disc out of place and/or cause a tear. Sometimes spinal discs press against nerves along the spine, resulting in significant pain. Victims often feel a burning in their back, which moves down their buttocks into their legs. If the injury is not treated, victims may suffer further damage and there may be degeneration of the spine.
  • Spinal stenosis – This is a condition that results from narrowing of the channel around your spinal cord. When the channel is narrowed, nerves within the channel can get pinched, causing stiffness in the neck and weakness that can make it hard to lift even light objects.
  • Whiplash – While many people consider this to be a neck injury, the pain can radiate down your arms and back. Whiplash occurs when your head moves back and forth so violently that you may suffer sprains, strains or tears to the ligaments, muscles or tendons in your neck.
  • Spondylolisthesis – Stress fractures can cause vertebra to be displaced, which means the spine can shift forward or backward. This can result in compression of the spinal cord that can result in numbness and weakness in your legs. You may struggle to walk and deal with significant pain.
  • Spinal cord injuries – Car accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal cord fractures that result in paralysis. The more severe the crash, the more likely the victim is to suffer a severe injury, like a spinal cord injury. Often, these injuries result from blunt force trauma to the back or neck. The force of impact of the crash could be enough to cause a fracture.

Linking Back Injuries to Vehicle Accidents

One of the challenges with linking back injuries to car crashes is overcoming the insurance company’s bias against soft-tissue injuries.

If you have a broken bone and you can verify it with an MRI or X-ray it should be easier to validate your claim. However, soft-tissue injuries do not always show up on these tests, which means the insurance company must rely on the doctor’s diagnosis and the patient’s statements about his or her injuries.

The insurance company is likely to disagree with the doctor’s diagnosis or claim the victim is exaggerating. They may offer compensation, but the offer is likely to be far below the full value of the claim.

Sometimes crash victims already had back problems and the accident aggravated them. If the insurance company finds out about your existing injury, they are going to blame your symptoms on the existing injury. However, you can seek compensation for the aggravation of an existing injury.

Mistakes Victims Make That Hurt Their Claims

Hiring an attorney is vital to the success of your claim for a car crash back injury. The insurance company will be working against you, so you need an aggressive advocate who knows how to build a strong case.

However, there are also mistakes you should try to avoid because they may hurt your claim. You do not want to give the insurance company reasons to deny or undervalue your claim.

For example, you should get treatment soon after the crash. If you wait too long to get treatment, the insurance company is going to claim you got hurt after the accident. If you get treatment at the scene and go to the hospital from the scene of the crash, it is much harder to dispute your injuries were caused by the crash. Make sure to tell the doctor about all the symptoms you are experiencing. If you start experiencing more symptoms in the future, inform your doctor at follow-up appointments.

Sometimes victims decide to wait to get treatment because they do not feel a lot of pain, or they think it will go away on its own in a short amount of time. However, you should not make assumptions about your injuries. Allow qualified medical professionals to make determinations about your injuries. Waiting to seek treatment can also be dangerous because your injuries could get much worse.

While seeking treatment soon after the crash is vital, so is continuing your treatment. If you stop going to the doctor, the insurance company is going to assume you are fully healed. Additionally, if your doctor prescribes treatment and you do not follow through, it may diminish your injury in the eyes of the insurance company. They may refuse to pay for damages suffered after you stopped seeking treatment. If you need to miss an appointment, make sure to reschedule it and inform your attorney.

Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Claim for Compensation

If you have suffered a significant injury in a car crash, you should not try to go through the legal process alone. You are likely to have significant medical expenses and may not be able to work for a long period of time. The emotional and psychological toll of an injury can also be significant.

Our licensed attorneys are ready to help you take on the insurance company and aggressively pursue full compensation for past and future damages. There are no upfront fees for our services.

Give us a call today to discuss your claim: 216-621-0070.


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