Florida has some of the highest rates of car accidents in the United States, ranking in third place after Texas and California. This means that the chances of getting into a car accident in Florida are high, and unfortunately, so are the chances of sustaining a car accident-related injury.
Rear-end collisions and side-impact crashes are two of the most common types of car accidents that can result in back injuries. These injuries can range from mild strains and muscle sprains to more severe conditions such as herniated discs, which can cause chronic pain and disability.
Suppose you have experienced a back injury from a car accident in Florida. In that case, an Orlando car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. But what else should you do after sustaining a back injury in a car accident?
Can I Get Compensation for My Back Injury Car Accident?
Yes, you can. In Florida, car accident victims are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries and damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. While car insurance policies typically cover property damage, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is mandatory in Florida. It can also cover medical expenses and lost wages for injuries sustained in a car accident. However PIP will only cover up to $10,000.00 in medical care and treatment. And PIP will only cover up to 80% of related, accident treatment. Thus, many accident victims with back injuries will have significant, out of pocket expenses, and need to pursue claims against the at fault party and their insurance to recover the same.
Need an Orlando car accident lawyer to help you evaluate your claim and negotiate with the insurance company? Visit Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson or contact us at (407) 422-4529 to discuss your case.
Common Causes of Back Pain after a Car Accident
Your spine is a complex structure of bones, muscles, and nerves that work together to support your body and enable movement. With 33 vertebrae and over 100 muscles and ligaments, the spine is susceptible to injury in a car accident due to the sudden impact and force exerted on it.
After a car accident, back pain can be temporary, or it may develop into a chronic condition that can affect your daily life. That means seeking medical attention after a car accident is crucial, even if you don’t initially feel severe pain. Here are some common causes of back pain after a car accident.
Cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome, commonly known as whiplash, is one of the most common types of neck injuries sustained in a car accident. The sudden impact of a rear-end collision or side-impact crash can cause the head to jerk back and forth violently, injuring the soft tissues in the neck. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. While mild cases can heal independently with rest and over-the-counter medication, more severe cases may require physical therapy or surgery.
Muscle Strains and Sprains
While broken bones and head injuries may be more visible after a car accident, muscle strains and sprains are often overlooked. The force of the impact can tear or overstretch muscles in the back, causing pain, limited range of motion, stiffness, and spasms. Mild to moderate cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and home remedies such as hot/cold compresses and gentle exercises. However, severe cases may require extensive medical care and take longer to heal.
Degenerative Disc Disease
The spine’s discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, allowing flexibility and movement. These discs can become injured or degenerate over time, leading to a condition called degenerative disc disease (DDD). While aging is a common cause of DDD, the impact of a car accident can cause instant disc injury and exacerbate this condition. Some treatment options for DDD include medication, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a vital part of the body’s nervous system, which sends messages from the brain to the rest of the body. The impact of a car accident can cause damage to the spinal cord or compression of nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, and loss of motor function. When the spinal cord is damaged or compressed, it can lead to permanent nerve damage and disability. Seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident is crucial in preventing further damage to the spinal cord.
While physical injuries are often the immediate concern after a car accident, addressing any psychological injuries that may result from the trauma is essential. The fear, anxiety, and stress associated with a car accident can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Seeking therapy or counseling can help you cope with the emotional aftermath of a car accident and improve your overall well-being.
How Long Should a Back Pain Last After a Car Accident?
The recovery time for back pain after a car accident can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury and individual factors such as age and overall health. While mild cases may heal within a few weeks, more severe injuries can take months or even years to recover fully.
However, soft tissue injuries can be deceptive, and seeking medical attention immediately after a car accident is essential, even if you initially don’t feel any pain. Some back injuries may not manifest symptoms until days or weeks after the accident. Seeking prompt medical care helps prevent further damage to your spine and provides documentation for your personal injury claim.
What to Do After a Back Injury from a Car Accident?
If you have sustained a back injury from a car accident, seek medical attention first. Even if you don’t feel any pain, it is crucial to get checked by a doctor to rule out any underlying injuries that may not be immediately apparent.
In case you can’t manage to see a doctor right away, follow the steps below to minimize your back pain and prevent further damage until you can seek medical care:
- Rest: Avoid strenuous activities requiring bending or twisting your back. Take time off work if possible, and prioritize rest to allow your body to heal. It’s essential to note that prolonged bed rest can actually worsen your back pain, so try to stay active with gentle exercises.
- Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying an ice pack to the injured area for 15 minutes at a time immediately after the accident can help reduce swelling. After a few days, you can switch to heat therapy using a hot water bottle or heating pad to soothe tense muscles.
- Chiropractic Care: A chiropractor can help diagnose and treat back pain after a car accident. They use non-invasive techniques such as spinal manipulation and massage therapy to alleviate pain, increase flexibility, and improve overall well-being. In addition to providing treatment, they can also educate you on preventing future back injuries.
- Gentle Exercise: Although it may seem counterintuitive, gentle exercise is essential in maintaining muscle strength and improving blood flow to the injured area. Walking or doing simple stretches a few times a day can help prevent your back pain from getting worse and aid in your recovery.
After seeking medical care and managing your pain, the next step is to consult an experienced car accident lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. In addition, they can assist in gathering evidence and building a solid case to support your claim.
What Happens If My Back Injury Goes Untreated?
Failing to seek medical attention or delaying treatment for your back injury can worsen your physical pain and significantly impact your personal injury claim. Insurance companies often use delayed medical care as an excuse to deny or reduce compensation, claiming that the injury must not have been severe enough if you didn’t seek immediate treatment.
Moreover, untreated injuries can lead to long-term consequences, such as chronic pain and permanent disability. Seeking medical care immediately after a car accident is crucial in protecting your health and ensuring you receive the proper compensation for your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
Every state has a statute of limitations, which is when you file a lawsuit after an injury occurs. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, as stated in Florida Section 95.11 (3) (a), usually ranges from 2 to 4 years, depending on the type of claim. In March of 2023, the Florida Legislature changed the statute of limitations for car accident claims from four years to two years.
It is crucial to file your personal injury claim within this time frame, as failing to do so can result in your case being dismissed and losing out on the compensation you deserve. Additionally, filing a claim sooner rather than later can help ensure that evidence is preserved and witness testimonies are still fresh.
Get Expert Legal Help from Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson
If you or a loved one has suffered a back injury from a car accident in Florida, seeking legal representation from an experienced car accident lawyer is essential. At Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, we specialize in personal injury cases and are dedicated to helping our clients receive the justice and compensation they deserve. Our team of skilled attorneys will fight for your rights and guide you through every step of the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you get back on the road to recovery.