Back Injury Accident Attorneys in Sherman Oaks
Being in a serious car accident is a traumatic experience, physically and emotionally. It is not uncommon to suffer a back injury as a result of a forceful impact. Back injuries are often painful, debilitating, and difficult to treat. If you have been injured in a car accident and suffered back injuries, your interests would be best served by contacting an experienced car accident injury lawyer in Los Angeles to maximize your ability to recover fair compensation. Contact the Drexler Law Firm to get the best legal representation available and the monetary compensation you deserve.
Types of Accident-Caused Back Injuries
Back injuries resulting from car accidents can be debilitating and painful. Such injuries can be temporary or permanent and can limit a person’s ability to perform normal activities, physical exertion, and work responsibilities. When the muscles, nerves, and bones in your back are damaged, X Rays, CT scans, and MRIs are utilized to determine the nature and extent of the damage and to evaluate the optimal course of physical therapy, epidural injections, medications and, if necessary, surgery. Here are some common types of accident-caused back injuries.
- Muscle Strains and Sprains
Strained and sprained muscles and mal-alignment of the vertebrae (the bony bodies that make up the spine) can cause pain, swelling, tightness, spasms, and radiating pain to the extremities. These types of back injuries are aggravated by prolonged sitting, standing, walking, bending, and lifting objects. They may take weeks to heal and may require prolonged physical therapy, analgesic medication, and rest.
- Slipped or Herniated Discs
In between the individual bony bodies of the spine (vertebrae), there are spongy cushions called discs. Forceful impacts caused in an automobile collision can cause these discs to slip, herniate, or rupture. When the size of the herniation exceeds 5 or 6mm, the herniated or flattened disc impinges on nerves that run down the spinal column. This results in severe pain and radiating pain (radiculopathy) into the arms or the legs. Such injuries may require surgery (discectomy/spinal fusion) to alleviate the pain and restore normal function.
- Damaged Vertebrae
When vertebrae are fractured as a result of a forceful impact, emergency surgery may be required to repair the fracture and prevent further complications including paralysis.
- Nerve Damage
When nerves in and around the spine are damaged or severed as a result of a forceful collision, this may result in permanent spinal dysfunction including paralysis. Depending on how high up the nerve damage is will determine the extent of paralysis. Nerve damage occurring in the cervical spine may result in quadriplegia which disables the function of both arms and legs. Immediate surgical intervention may alleviate the extent or permanency of the resulting paralysis.
What are the Common Causes of Back Injuries?
Any car accident can result in back injuries. Here are some common car accidents that can result in back injuries.
- Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents are notorious for causing back injuries that occur when a person’s head is thrust back and forth notwithstanding the restraint of seat belts.
- Head-On Collisions
A head-on crash, especially at high speeds, can cause catastrophic injuries including serious back injuries. Paramedics and Emergency Room physicians typically immobilize the spine pending the results of scanning.
When a car rolls over serious injuries often result which may include back injuries.
- T-Bone Crashes
Also referred to as broadside accidents, these collisions often cause severe injuries to the person who is sitting near the door impacted, especially because side airbags are not as effective as in frontal collisions.
- Minor Crashes
Even fender-benders can result in serious back injuries. It is important to seek immediate medical attention to determine the extent of back injuries suffered in minor accidents because the spinal damage may not be obvious for hours or even days after an accident occurs.
How Long Do Back Injuries Last?
There are several factors that determine how long back injuries last. Even minor injuries require medical evaluation to assess the nature of the injury and the optimum approach for treatment and alleviating the symptoms as soon as possible. Typical back or musculoligamentous sprain/strain may only require several weeks of physical therapy and analgesic medications. Close medical monitoring and scanning will determine if further treatment modalities are indicated. Problem areas may require epidural injections or, in cases of disc herniation, surgery may be indicated.
When severe back injuries result in surgery and post-operative rehabilitation, the recovery time is necessarily extended. In some cases, surgery may not completely alleviate the pain symptoms and the condition continues indefinitely. Injured victims who fall into this unfortunate category are often referred to physicians who specialize in pain management.
How to Prove Accident-Caused Back Injuries
When pursuing an accident injury claim involving back injuries resulting from a car accident, it is important to document the injuries because it is your burden to prove that the back injuries are real and that they were caused by the accident. Insurance adjusters and insurance defense attorneys typically defend back injury claims by arguing that the injuries are subjective, non-existent or result from pre-existing causes. There are several critical ways to prove back injuries resulting from a traffic collision.
- Accident Report and First Responders
When police and first responders, such as paramedics, arrive at the scene of an accident, they will always ask about injuries. If you are feeling any back pain, or other pain, it is incumbent upon you to report it.
- Doctor’s Statement
When an injured victim appears at the E.R., Urgent Care or Primary Physician following a car crash, it is important to provide details about any complaints of back pain caused by the collision. The more specific information that is provided, the better the chances that the complaints of back pain will be recorded and documented in the medical records.
- Medical Testing/Scanning
The best way to document objective evidence of back injuries is with the results of testing. This would include reports of any X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, nerve conductions studies, and other tests performed by physicians to evaluate spinal damage, nerve damage or muscle damage.
What Type of Compensation is Available?
If you have experienced a back injury in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to different types of compensation.
- Medical Costs
Hospitalizations, doctor visits, surgeries, physical therapy, tests, medications, and psychological counseling are extremely expensive. Initially, you can pay through your medical insurance or through a medical lien arranged through an attorney. Reimbursement for medical expenses incurred for treatment for injuries sustained in a car crash is part of the compensation recoverable as part of an accident claim.
- Lost Wages
When an injured victim of a car accident is unable to work and loses earnings or sick time, this can result in serious financial difficulties. An important element of recoverable damages in an auto accident injury claim is compensation for lost wages. You may also be entitled to compensation for future lost income where the injuries will affect your ability to work in the future. If the injuries result in permanent disability, a claim for compensation may include payment for your entire work-life expectancy. Forensic accountants and economists are often utilized to calculate the full value of such claims.
- Pain and Suffering
Damages for pain and suffering are referred to as non-economic damages. They include recoverable monetary compensation for physical pain, mental or emotional distress, anxiety, fear, loss of enjoyment of regular activities, and diminished quality of life. The best way to document such losses is to journal and record, if possible on a daily basis, how your injuries have caused you to suffer physically, and emotionally and how they have negatively affected your life including all of the activities and enjoyment that you are not able to engage in due to the injuries.
- Loss of Consortium
These are recoverable damages available for the spouse of an injured victim who is temporarily or permanently deprived of the injured spouse’s services, physical and financial support, assistance with household chores and intimate relations. This is the separate and derivative right to compensation for the injured victim’s spouse. People who are not legally married or have significant others or so-called “common law” spouses are not entitled to loss of consortium damages.
- Punitive Damages
These are exemplary damages that are only available in limited scenarios where the at-fault driver has been grossly negligent, reckless, acting intentionally, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An experienced Los Angeles back injury accident lawyer can assess your case and determine if you are eligible to seek punitive damages.
Should You Hire a Back Injury Accident Attorney?
There is no such thing as a straightforward, simple accident case involving back injuries, whether the injuries are minor or major. People who have suffered back injuries should always consult with an attorney who is experienced in personal injury cases because insurance company adjusters will always do whatever they can to deny the claim, minimize the extent of the injuries, and offer low-ball settlements. A skillful personal injury attorney with a proven record of successfully representing accident victims against insurance adjusters and insurance defense attorneys will take the necessary steps to prove the fault of the other driver, make sure that the injuries are properly documented by medical professionals and present all elements of recoverable compensation to the adjuster, defense attorney, judge or jury in a professional manner that maximizes the amount of money to be recovered in a settlement, or, if necessary a trial jury verdict. You need a skilled Los Angeles auto accident lawyer, with a proven track record of success, to fight for your right to fair compensation.
How to Get Help
To protect your rights and best chances to obtain fair compensation following an auto accident where you sustain injuries and damages, you should contact a car accident injury lawyer as quickly as possible. During your free consultation, you will be able to thoroughly discuss your case and your injuries with an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury law. The Drexler Law Firm will provide you with a free consultation and personalized attention. We can guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and give you the best representation available. Contact The Drexler Law Firm today.