After a California motor vehicle accident, many victims complain of back pain. Back injuries occur on a wide spectrum, from relatively minor muscle injuries to serious spinal cord injuries that cause permanent disability.
If you have suffered a back injury in a California car accident, you should consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options and whether you could be entitled to compensation.
Types of Back and Spine Injuries
Whiplash is commonly reported after a motor vehicle accident. It occurs when the head is thrown forward and quickly snapped back–such as in a rear-end collision. Whiplash is commonly a muscle injury, but it may also affect the vertebrae in the neck and upper back, as well as nerves and ligaments.
Whiplash often has a delayed onset, meaning that its symptoms do not show up right away. After a couple of days or so, victims may experience pain in the shoulders and back, headaches, stiffness, or neck pain.
Along the spine, there are cushions that provide protection to the spinal cord. These cushions are located in between the bony vertebrae. If a cushion is moved out of place, this is known as a herniated disc.
When a disc is out of place, it may put additional pressure on the spinal cord, causing extreme pain in some cases. Many accident victims suffer numbness in their legs or pain in the lower back as the result of a herniated disc.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains both may be caused by a car accident.
With a strain, a muscle or tendon is torn or stretched. Tendons are the strips of tissue that connect bones to muscles.
Sprains occur when the ligaments in the back are stretched or torn. Ligaments connect the bones in the body.
Pain with movement, muscle cramps, and a decreased range of motion are all symptoms of sprains and strains.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents cause nearly 40 percent of all spinal cord injuries in the United States.
The effects of a spinal cord injury depend largely on where in the spine the injury occurred.
Cervical spinal cord injuries, which occur in the uppermost region of the back, may result in loss of sensory function, loss of the use of limbs, or loss of control of the bowels and bladder. In extreme cases, paralysis may occur.
Thoracic spinal cord injuries, which occur in the middle region of the back, may result in paraplegia, or the loss of function in the legs and trunk. The abdominal and lower back muscles are largely controlled by the thoracic spine. Some injuries may result in a loss of control over the bowels and bladder.
Injuries to the lumbar spine, which is located below the thoracic spine, may result in a loss of control over the legs and hips, as well as the bladder and bowels. Some individuals may be able to walk with the assistance of leg braces.
The sacral spine is the lowest area of the spine. Injuries to this area may impede the function of the legs and hips or the bladder and bowels. However, most sacral spine injuries do not impact the ability to walk.
Car accidents may cause damage to the spinal cord that results in paralysis. Paralysis is a loss of control or function in a certain part of the body.
If the paralysis is localized, only one area is affected. For example, the paralysis may only impact the hands.
With generalized paralysis, the impacts are broader. For example, quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia) occurs when the arms and legs are paralyzed. Paraplegia generally refers to paralysis of the legs.
Paralysis may be complete, meaning that the individual has no control or feeling in the area, or incomplete, where some control or sensation remains.
Damages in a Back Injury Claim
Those who have suffered back or spinal cord injuries in a California car accident claim may face hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses over their lifetimes–especially if they require constant care and various types of medical equipment.
However, if you were injured through no fault of your own, you should not be responsible for these expenses. In a personal injury claim, you may be able to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of employment benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Other types of damages may also be available. Your attorney will ensure that you are fairly compensated for your accident.
Call Kuvara Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Back Injury
The San Rafael, California personal injury attorneys at Kuvara Law Firm are experienced in back and spinal cord injury claims. With our expertise and experience, you will obtain the compensation you deserve in your case.