Approximately 31 million Americans experience lower or upper back discomfort at some point in their lives. Although many cases of pain come from everyday situations, others stem from more traumatic events. These ailments are especially frequent in certain circumstances. In particular, pain resulting from back injuries is very common after car accidents in California.
Approximately 6 million collisions occur each year in the United States. Of these, it is estimated that there are about 2.3 million injuries and more than 36,000 fatalities. The CDC believes that 30% of all traffic injuries involve back and spine injuries. Any type of strike, minor or severe, can be the source of a lasting injury.
If you have been involved in a car accident with back injuries, stay tuned to this page. We explain everything you need to know about pursuing a personal injury claim for back pain in California. If you have any further questions about your accident, don’t hesitate to call us.
Car Accidents Cause Painful Back Injuries
Why do many car accident victims suffer from back pain? The reason is very simple. Due to the impact of a traffic accident on a person’s body. Especially on the spine.
Several factors are taken into account in calculating the magnitude of the collision, from the size of the seat to the speed at which the vehicle was traveling. The power of the impact puts pressure on the back and neck, which are supported by a narrow seat. This jolt is also interrupted during forward momentum due to the seat belt or airbag. The problem arises with sudden movement. The structure of the neck and back is not prepared to withstand sudden movements, whether slight or intense. This results in strain, which leads to whiplash and causes serious damage.
What Causes Back Pain?
Understanding why pain occurs and knowing the structure of the back is key to recovering from an injury. The back is made up of the spine, which is composed of vertebrae and intervertebral discs, ligaments, tendons that attach the muscles to the bones, and the nerves of the spinal cord. The back is divided by five sections of vertebrae: cervical spine (C1-C7), thoracic spine (T1-T12), lumbar spine (L1-L5), sacrum (S1-S5), and coccyx. As for the bones, the spine has 33 in total. Of these, only the first 24 are mobile.
There are many components to consider when suffering back injuries from car accidents in California. When this occurs, the pain usually lies in the lumbar and cervical spine. The former supports the weight of the upper body; the latter has to carry the full weight of the head, so the neck suffers greatly in sudden jarring situations.
You never know whether a minor or major blow can cause major health injuries. However, due to the delicate structure of the back, it is essential to treat this matter with the importance it deserves. That is why it is essential to go to the emergency room or seek medical attention so that your condition can be evaluated. Even if nothing hurts at the moment.
Facts About Back Injuries from Car Accidents in California
Back injuries from car accidents in California can result from both a car and motorcycle collision. The latter is especially dangerous, as you have no protection other than a motorcycle helmet. The sudden movements from the impact of the crash often cause serious injuries to the ligaments in a motorcyclist’s back. In a car, however, because of the seat belt and airbag, personal injuries are usually not as catastrophic.
In any case, these traffic collisions, whether on a motorcycle or in a car, can be extremely serious for the back. With more than 120 muscles, 11 joints, and 220 ligaments, the spine is flexible, but not so resistant to impact.
According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center, back ailments are very common in motor vehicle incidents. Reports on back injuries show that 40% of all annual ailments are caused by car accidents. In California, as in the rest of the country, traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury. According to ScienceDirect research, up to 63% of low back pain can be attributed to a previous accident. No matter how minor. According to this study, the risk of low back pain, or dorsalgia, is 2.7 higher after a collision.
Minor Accidents Can Also Cause Serious Injuries
The afflictions from the different types of back injuries from car accidents in California can limit the quality of life. Not only can it affect the ability to perform certain everyday tasks, but it can even lead to immobility. Or even death.
While we associate these pains with high-impact accidents, the reality is that even minor crashes can have detrimental health consequences. And they will not only be excruciatingly painful, but also costly. A minor rear-end collision can cause back pain for years. In fact, out of the 800,000 victims who reported symptoms of whiplash last year, a large portion of them were from minor impacts. That is, from low-speed accidents: less than 10 mph.
Even if there appears to be no direct damage at the time, a visit to the doctor is necessary. In minor accidents, it is normal for pain to appear hours, days, weeks, or months later. And, if not attended to in a timely manner, these discomforts intensify over time, leading to more serious injuries.
How Long Does It Take to Suffer Back Injuries After Car Accidents in California?
As mentioned in the previous section, any blow on the road is a reason to go to the doctor. Data and research corroborate that back problems and road accidents go hand in hand. Even if there are no symptoms of pain during the first few days. As the statistics on injuries such as whiplash or low back pain show, almost one million people a year go to the medical services for back problems related to a previous collision.
Although in many cases the pain may be instantaneous, in others, it may last a lifetime. At first, adrenaline and other hormones may override the possible pain caused by the shock. This occurs because the body adopts an attitude of alertness and mitigates any pain.
What Causes Delayed Pain After a Crash?
From a physiological perspective, the emotion felt after a car crash is real. Scientists have confirmed that adrenaline is a key factor in manifesting true pain after a traffic incident. Our body responds to pain by generating hormones similar to morphine. These are called endorphins. These hormones, coupled with adrenaline, mask the pain until the individual has mentally recovered from the initial stress. When these chemicals wear off, the injuries can begin to take effect.
It is not uncommon for injury-related pain following a traffic accident to be delayed in nature. Delayed pain can manifest in the lower, upper, or mid-back. The problem is, when will the pain appear? In the following section, we show you what are the most obvious symptoms that may signify the beginning of an injury.
Symptoms of Back Injuries Following a Motor Vehicle Collision
Back pain may present itself through nausea, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or even after ingestion of food. However, the most common symptoms that hint at some future minor or moderate condition are:
- Migraines, blurred vision, or dizziness
- Cloudy thinking
- Memory problems
- Insomnia or sleep abnormalities
- Lack of energy
However, there are other common signs that are clear indications of more serious back problems. These include the following:
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Swelling, bruising, redness, or swelling of the neck, or back
- Burning sensation
- Paralysis of the vocal cords
- Discomfort when walking or standing upright
Types of Accidents
Any accident, light or heavy, can be the origin of multiple injuries. However, the most frequent back and neck injuries are usually caused by rear-end accidents. The types of collisions that can cause the most common back injuries are the following:
- Frontal impact: The head and neck are thrown forward.
- Side impact: The belt only protects the lower part, resulting in the upper back, neck, and head being deflected to one side.
- Rear-end collision: There is pressure from the rear, in which the torso slides upwards until the belt slows it down and pushes it backward.
Key Factors Involved in Back Injuries from Car Accidents in California
Yes, a violent impact can cause devastating injuries at any time, no matter how careful and cautious you are. However, there are certain risk factors that can worsen the consequences of the accident. Among the elements involved in a back injury are those listed below:
- Speed – Cars going faster at the time of impact are more likely to be severely injured.
- The direction and position of each person – The type of collision is a determining factor when it comes to suffering one injury or another, as explained above. The place where each passenger is seated in the vehicle at the time of the accident is also important.
- If the vehicle overturns – In the event that the car flips over, the people riding in the vehicle suffer greater pressure and, consequently, a greater impact.
- Seat belt – The use of the restraint system is essential to avoid very injuries or death. They greatly reduce the risk of injury.
Understand Your Back Pain
As discussed previously, understanding what precedes serious back injuries after car accidents can be key to preserving health. Because of the complex structure of the back, you need to be aware of all the details. The duration of pain depends on a series of circumstances, as well as on the victim’s state of health. In general, minor back discomfort after a small collision usually disappears within a few days. However, intense or severe pain may last for months or years. Specifically, chronic pain, which can persist for more than three months.
Back Injuries Due to a Traffic Accident
The back comprises a large part of the body and is therefore composed of a complex structure. Such ligaments, muscles, tissues, tendons, and bones are extremely sensitive, despite the elasticity that allows us to move. Back and neck injuries due to car accidents in California include:
Diagnosis – Whiplash usually occurs when there is a jolt that stretches the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. This stretch is greater than your usual flexibility.
Symptoms – Numbness, muscle spasm, cramping, or tingling.
Severity – From manageable discomfort to severe pain.
Diagnosis – The vertebrae of the spine are cushioned by discs. These act as a tough shell that protects the delicate interior. After a car accident, this layer may rupture or move, causing the interior to leak into the spinal canal. This contact causes great discomfort.
Symptoms – Discomfort, numbness, or weakness.
Severity – Depends on the location of the rupture or displacement of the disc. May experience no symptoms, or cause permanent paralysis.
Sprains or Back Strains
Diagnosis – A back strain means that the tissue that connects the bones to the muscles has been stretched or torn too much. Sprains, on the other hand, damage the ligaments that connect joints to bones, or bones to each other.
Symptoms – Swelling, muscle spasms, cramps, or twitching.
Severity – At first, muscle tears in the lumbar or upper back can be very painful.
Diagnosis – This problem occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrowed. This is due to wear and tear caused by the passage of time. Because many people may have no symptoms, the impact of a car crash may cause them to feel symptoms they did not have before.
Symptoms – Tingling, muscle weakness, balance disorders, or cramps.
Severity – Pain can range from mild to paralysis.
Diagnosis – This injury occurs when a vertebra slips out of place due to weakening or breakage. As above, many individuals live with this condition for years until a traffic accident worsens the condition.
Symptoms – Weakness, numbness, or trouble walking.
Severity – Depending on how much it has been displaced and the location, the pain will vary. Those with low back pain tend to have more pain.
Degenerative Spinal Disorders
Diagnosis – Spinal degeneration encompasses a number of injuries that can manifest in different ways. This disorder involves the loss of structure and function of the spine over a period of time. Although this degeneration does not originate in a traffic accident, trauma is the most frequent cause of triggering its symptoms.
Symptoms – Reduced movement, acute or chronic pain, loss of sphincter control, or sexual dysfunction.
Severity – Usually so painful that surgery is required in severe cases.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Diagnosis – The brain and spinal cord compose the central nervous system (CNS). This is basically the control center of the organism. Unfortunately, this injury is one of the most frequent in traffic accidents: it accounts for almost half of the injuries sustained in automobile collisions in the country each year. These are very serious conditions that can have drastic health consequences.
Symptoms – Depending on whether it is complete or incomplete, the symptoms vary. With the former, there is a loss of all sensory sensitivity and motor function; with an incomplete injury, some function is lost.
Severity – One of the most violent and serious health injuries that can be sustained. It has long-term effects.
What To Do If You Have Back Pain Right After An Accident
After suffering back injuries following car accidents in California, it is important to follow a series of steps. First of all, the injured person should not be moved. Acting without the necessary medical knowledge could result in permanent paralysis.
For this reason, it is a priority to call emergency services. When contacting 911, it is essential to follow the advice given to care for the injured person’s health. Among others, it is recommended not to move the victim. For this purpose, placing towels next to the neck or head may be key to future recovery. Gathering all the information about the accident, gathering information from the other vehicle, and obtaining a police report are other measures to be taken.
Ultimately, it is important to contact an experienced California personal injury attorney for your case.
Statute of Limitations for California Accident Back Injuries
Suffering personal injuries or seeing a family member seriously injured as a result of a traffic collision can be hard both emotionally and physically. While we know that the priority is to take care of your health, it is extremely important to have the help of a legal expert for your case. This way, you can focus on recovering while your attorney handles the entire process.
Although it is recommended that you begin the legal process as soon as possible, California’s personal injury statute of limitations is quite broad. Regardless of whether you suffer a serious or minor injury, the state allows you to file an injury lawsuit within two years of the incident. If the injured person is a minor, those two years would begin at age 18.
In the case of accidents involving fatalities, family members have two years from the date of death.
Types of Back Pain Compensation
When you file a personal injury claim following a crash, you may be compensated for three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. The first two are compensatory damages. That is, they are intended to compensate you for your losses. Punitive damages are more unusual, as they are intended to punish the defendant’s inhumane behavior.
In economic damages, they highlight all costs related to the injury. These are medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and future medical treatment, among others.
On the other hand, non-economic damages compensate for intangible losses and injuries. In other words, for the anguish and stress caused by the accident. Among these types of damages are: loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement or scarring, or anxiety or PTSD.
Trust Adamson Ahdoot for Your Litigation After an Accident
When it comes to a car accident, any expert legal action is always welcome. However, enlisting the help of a quality law firm can be the key to success. Our team has litigated thousands of personal injury cases, achieving satisfactory settlements for all of our clients. Our attorneys fight for people’s rights. With determination, empathy, and knowledge, they are specialists in getting the best settlements.
Are You Suffering Back Injuries from Car Accidents in California? We Can Help
If you have been involved in an accident on the road, we can help. These types of incidents can cause pain ranging from minor to long-lasting. As you have seen, it is especially common to suffer back injuries in these types of car accidents. However, you can file a California personal injury claim today with our help.
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team of attorneys can get you a very satisfactory settlement for your injury. As one of the most experienced back injury legal options, our firm is one of the most prestigious in the state.
If you are having low or upper back pain as a result of an accident, you need first-class legal representation. Adamson Ahdoot and its attorneys can get you the most favorable financial settlements. Our bilingual team is ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today at (800) 310-1606, or contact us through our website.