There are few things that can put a damper on your day like a car accident. One minute, you’re driving your usual route on the way to work, home, or running errands. The next minute — in the blink of an eye — you feel the collision. If the accident was catastrophic, a lot of the damage is visible and people are quicker to seek medical care. But if there aren’t any obvious injuries, you may be tempted to just exchange information with the other driver, and go on about your day. But, what happens if a few days later you wake up with lower back pain? Was it a result of the accident? Does it matter that you waited to file a claim?
Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident
When you get into a car accident — whether minor or serious — your neck and pain receive the bulk of the force. The sudden forward and backward movement can cause a lot of damage to your spine, discs, and surrounding soft tissues — such as muscles and ligaments. And, even if the adrenaline is rushing at the time of the accident and you don’t feel hurt, it’s common to experience back pain the next day. It can even take a few days after the collision.
Specifically, the spine is divided into three sections: cervical (composed of the vertebrae at the back of your neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (lower back). In between each vertebra, you have spinal discs. They are made of cartilage and allow for mobility of the spine, as well as act as shock absorbers in case of a blow.
The lumbar vertebrae are the largest and are surrounded by the strongest back muscles, since they are the ones that provide stability to the spine. If anything around the lumbar area gets injured after a car accident, you’ll experience pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and a limited range of motion. They can range from mild to significantly limiting your activities of daily living, as well as sleep. And if there’s nerve damage, the pain may radiate down your legs and cause weakness, tingling, and numbness. Therefore, something that initially seemed minor may result in debilitating pain that has a significant impact on your life.
How To Know If You Have a Back Injury After a Car Accident
While pain is usually the telltale sign that lets people know they’re injured, sometimes it may take time for symptoms to manifest. This is why it’s crucial to get X-rays or an MRI for a proper diagnosis. If the injury is minor, you’ll likely only need medications and possibly steroid injections and/or physical therapy. On the other hand, if the injury is more serious, you may eventually require surgery. And, whether you need conservative treatment or surgical intervention, costs can add up quickly. Between medical bills and lost wages, you may be left staring at a mountain of debt.
This is why it’s critical to seek medical care and speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Waiting may significantly diminish your chances of recovering for your damages in case of a lawsuit. For example, Florida law requires that you file a claim with your insurance company within 14 days from the date of the accident to qualify for Personal Injury Protection (PIP). These benefits include 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
In addition, waiting could make it more difficult to gather evidence — such as witnesses, and video surveillance footage. It also gives the opposing party ammunition to use against you — such as suggesting that your lower back injuries are due to something else, such as manual labor, playing sports, or carrying your children.
Call Us at Clark Law for a Consultation
There are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step. We can also ensure that you receive proper compensation for any present as well as future medical expenses relating to your neck injuries.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.