Back injuries are common in car accidents, even when the crash is minor. When someone suffers from a back injury, the consequences can be life-changing. Back injuries can be excruciating and costly. If you have back pain from an accident, it’s essential to know your options.
In Georgia, you can file a claim against the at-fault party responsible for your car accident, no matter how minor it was. Even if your car accident wasn’t as damaging on the outside, that doesn’t mean you didn’t sustain any damages. Always pursue financial compensation and never pay out of pocket for any of your medical costs.
Minor Accidents and Back Pain
With seemingly minor accidents, you might not notice the damage right away. For example, say someone rear-ends you while you’re at a stoplight. Your car has minimal damage, and you feel okay right after the collision. You report the accident, exchange information with the other driver, and move on about your day.
Hours later or the next day, you start to feel shooting pain in your back. You might also feel pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, or more. The pain intensifies with time, even though you thought you were okay. These injuries are no less real than major accident injuries. Even minor accidents can cause severe or long-term damage.
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Understanding Back Pain
Your back can become injured in different places. There are five main sections of the back, divided by vertebrae, the small bones that form your backbone:
- Cervical: seven vertebrae that go from your head to your shoulders
- Thoracic: twelve vertebrae that make up the middle of your back
- Lumbar: five vertebrae that are in your lower back
- Sacrum: vertebrae that connect your backbone and hip bone
- Coccyx: the bones that make up your tailbone
The following surround your spine and vertebrae:
When your back gets injured during an accident, any of these structures can become painful. Back pain ranges widely from minor to completely disabling. Since your spine supports all areas of your body, damage from an accident can be life-altering.
Minor Accident Can Cause Injuries to the Spine
The spinal cord is a long tube that runs from your brain stem to the bottom of your spine. Nerves in the spinal cord move messages between your body and brain. Spinal cord injuries are severe. They can often lead to partial or total paralysis and other issues such as:
- Less ability to touch or feel heat or cold
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of movement
- Intense pain or stinging
- Sexual function issues
- Trouble breathing or clearing your throat
- Herniated Discs
The discs in your back protect your spine. They also separate each vertebra from the other. If a disc moves out of place during an accident, it’s known as a herniated disc. A herniated disc can cause a lot of pain in the lower back. It might also cause leg numbness and nerve pain.
Back Pain Can Take Time to Show Up
After a car accident, your body might flood with adrenaline and other hormones. This can make you more alert and blunt any pain from the accident. Your body goes into “fight or flight” to handle the aftermath of the accident.
Many car accident injuries don’t show up right away. This is why many victims think they’re fine after an accident they think was minor. However, back pain often shows up the most hours or days after a crash happens.
Pay attention to any pain-related changes after your accident. See a doctor immediately if you notice more discomfort, pain, or numbness. A doctor can order tests and evaluate you for back injuries.
Recovering Compensation for Back Pain
Georgia is a fault state. That means the at-fault party in a car accident is liable for the costs. So if your back pain happens because of a crash someone else caused, you have a right to financial recovery.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-12-2, there are two main types of accident damages. You can recover general damages without proof of a dollar amount and special damages that you must prove to recover them.
General damages, also known as non-economic damages, are about how the accident impacts your life. Examples include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Anxiety or PTSD
You do not have to prove a dollar amount for these damages. However, you’ll still need to show how your back pain and other accident injuries affect your life.
Special damages, also known as economic damages, have a set dollar amount. They include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Future medical treatment
Back pain costs can increase with time. Be open with your doctor about your back pain, and schedule follow-ups if your pain gets worse or doesn’t improve. Your lawyer can determine all of your economic damages from your injuries. That includes physical therapy, rehabilitation, or other costs of treating your back pain.
A minor car accident can cause serious back pain. However, the severity of a crash does not always determine the seriousness of your injuries. If you have back pain after an accident, talk to a lawyer today about your legal options.
Get Help from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Even after a minor car accident, you should always get help from an experienced lawyer. Remember, even serious injuries can go unnoticed after what seems like a minor collision. Regardless of whether or not you feel immediately injured, you can still file a claim if your car accident happened due to another driver’s negligence.
Don’t neglect to hire solid legal representation. While the law allows you to file a claim, winning a settlement is an entirely different situation and will require that you gather evidence and negotiate strongly for fair compensation. Doing this alone can be extremely difficult. That’s why it’s best to get help as soon as possible.
Don’t Accept Lowball Offers
Insurance companies love to offer the bare minimum for settlements, especially if the car accident you were in was minor. If you suffer from back pain after a minor car accident, they may try to claim that you’re overexaggerating or lying about what you’re going through.
Don’t let the insurance company get away with giving you anything less than full compensation. We want to see you get a settlement that properly reflects all of the damages you sustained. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and allow us to assist you during this challenging time.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Back injuries can alter your entire life. You might have pain and changes in your routine from now on. If someone else caused your accident, they are liable for all of your losses, including what you’ve lost because of your back injuries.
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you seek compensation. With over 20 years of experience, we know how to win car accident cases. We fight tirelessly for the maximum recovery you deserve. Call or contact us online for a free consultation. We don’t get paid unless we win your case.