One of the most common types of car crashes in Colorado is the rear-end car collision. When one car crashes into the back of another car, it is often because the driver was tailgating, was distracted, or was speeding. When these crashes happen, victims often suffer from neck and back injuries because of the abrupt forward and back motion of the car in the crash. If you are suffering from back pain after you were rear-ended, learn more about what causes the back pain and what steps you need to take to protect your rights below.
Causes of Back Pain After a Rear-End Car Crash
When you are rear-ended, there is a large amount of force exerted, often without warning, on your back. Some of the most common causes of back pain after a rear-end car crash include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash most often affects the neck, but it can also cause significant pain in the upper and lower back. It occurs because the head and neck were forced to move back and forth rapidly, damaging tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones, and even discs in the spine.
- Strains and Sprains: Back strains and sprains are very common after being rear-ended in a car crash. Most strains and sprains can cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower back to tear or overstretch. This can cause acute low back pain, muscle spasms, and muscle tightness.
- Damage to Spinal Discs: A car crash can lead to damage to one or more of the discs in the back. There are several common spinal disc injuries. These include:
- Bulging Disc – when a disc shifts out of place between the vertebrae and bulges into the spinal canal
- Annular Tear – when a crack forms in the outer ring of ligaments of the disc.
- Herniated Disc – when the inner nucleus of the disc leaks into the spinal canal through a tear in the disc.
- Nerve pain can result if a bulging, herniated, or torn disc presses against the nerves of the spine
- Joint Injuries: A car crash can cause the joints that connect the vertebrae in the spine to become injured. This will cause low back pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries may cause back pain, muscle spasms, and tightness in the back.
- Nerve Injuries: There are many types of nerve injuries that can be caused by a car crash. Sciatica is the most common. Sciatica occurs when a herniated disc or a bulging disc causes one-sided pain, tingling, or weakness of the low back, buttock, leg, or foot.
First Steps to Take After You Were Rear-Ended in a Car Crash
Call the Police
After a rear-end car crash, you should call the police, even if the damage to your car is minor. A police report is important for insurance reasons. If you have immediate back pain, tell the responding officer or the dispatch person that you are injured. If an ambulance is sent to the scene of the accident, they can do a preliminary check of your back. You should let the responding officer know that you will be seeking medical treatment so that information can be added to the police report, as well.
Many back injuries have delayed symptoms. Often adrenaline from the car crash makes it so you don’t feel the pain until hours or days later. It is always fine to answer questions about how you’re feeling by saying: “I don’t know.”
Seek Medical Attention
Spinal cord injuries can be serious and can cause permanent disabilities. Seeing a doctor immediately is one of the most important things you can do to prevent further harm to your back. Even injuries that are less severe than a spinal cord injury, such as a muscle sprain or a herniated disk, require a medical diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Getting immediate medical care will not only help you recover, it will show the insurance companies that your injuries are related to the rear-end car crash. If you wait too long to seek medical attention, the insurance company may try to say that you made your back injury worse by waiting on treatment, or that your back injury has nothing to do with being rear-ended.
Protect Your Rights and Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury lawyer who specializes in rear-end car crashes will help you through the process of fighting insurance companies. Your lawyer will investigate the crash, direct you to the right doctors for your back injury, and fight for what you need either through settlement negotiations or through court.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries after being rear-ended in a car crash, call Debbie Taussig Law today. We will fight the insurance companies to get you what you need. We offer a free claim evaluation, and you don’t pay us until you get paid.