Can I Get Money for Neck and Back Pain After a Car Accident? 

The Brown Firm

The Brown Firm

Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to simply accept neck and back pain, especially if your injuries happened because of someone else’s carelessness. You may be entitled to financial compensation.

This article will discuss typical back and neck pain after a car accident and assist you in deciding your next steps. We’ll also offer tips for tilting the odds of a fair settlement in your favor and explain how a personal injury attorney can help.

Common Types of Neck, Shoulder, and Back Pain After a Car Accident

The most common cause of neck, back, and shoulder pain after an auto accident is whiplash. While you might hear whiplash used to describe a neck injury, it’s technically the cause of spinal injuries in a car crash, describing a back-and-forth whipping motion in the spine. This is especially common in rear-end collisions.

“Whiplash” isn’t a medical term. Technically, the event we think of as whiplash is called cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD). Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) refers to the symptoms and conditions that result from CAD.

All too often, these whiplash injuries turn into chronic pain issues, so it’s vital that you be examined by a doctor as soon as possible after the car accident for an accurate diagnosis. This is important not only for your health and to relieve pain, but for securing the fair compensation you deserve.

Spinal pain and injury are typically designated by the section of the spine they affect. The human spine is divided into five major sections:

  • Cervical spine: Seven vertebrae between your skull and shoulders
  • Thoracic spine: 12 vertebrae running from your shoulders to the bottom of your ribs
  • Lumbar spine: Five vertebrae running down your lower back
  • Sacrum: Five fused vertebrae at the back of your pelvis
  • Coccyx: Four fused vertebrae beneath your pelvis, often called the tailbone.

When any of these sections (including the bones, ligaments, tissues, facet joints, and nerves within and around them) experience a whipping motion from the impact of an accident, the following common injuries can happen:

  • Bone fractures
  • Sprains and other soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal housing the spinal cord)
  • Slipped/herniated disk

Understand that some injuries cause immediate, obvious symptoms while others worsen with time due to swelling, bruising, and inflammation. It is very important that you report all symptoms, even if they don’t show up for days or even weeks.

Your whiplash injury symptoms might include:

  • Pain or pinching sensation
  • Headache
  • Tingling, burning, or numbness in arms/legs and fingers/toes
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion
  • Weakness
  • Sore shoulders and hips
  • Trouble breathing
  • Belly pain, swelling, bruising
  • Twisted, awkward positions
  • Paralysis
  • Decreased vision or hearing
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Anxiety, stress, and panic

Depending on the severity and location of your injury, its primary effect could be discomfort and upper back or lower back pain. Left untreated, certain injuries can become as serious as progressive and degenerative disease.

How Do I Deal with Delayed Back and Neck Pain?

As mentioned, certain injuries take time to cause problems. This is because things like swelling, bruising, and inflammation aren’t immediate, and can be aggravated by activity in the meantime.

Keep a daily journal of your pain, and if you notice any new symptoms, from muscle spasms to intense back pain, seek medical treatment right away.

If you’re working with a good attorney, they’ll want to know about delayed pain as well. Just because it didn’t occur immediately after the accident doesn’t mean it won’t help your insurance claim.

Again, it’s in your best interest to get medical attention as soon as possible after a car wreck, even if you think your neck and back injuries might be minor. When those injuries impact your quality of life, it’s equally important to speak with an experienced attorney.

RELATED: How Do I Know if I Suffered Whiplash in an Auto Accident?

What Can I Be Compensated for if I Have Back and Neck Injuries After a Car Accident?

Neck and back pain after a car accident are about so much more than the injuries themselves. The symptoms can lead to medical expenses, missed work, and a decrease in your quality of life. If you have a personal injury case, you can be compensated for all of these.

The money you get from a personal injury case covers two general compensatory areas: economic and non-economic losses (damages). Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate, while non-economic damages tend to be more subjective.

Economic Damages

Economic damages (also called special damages) are easily quantified financial losses including medical expenses, lost income, and other necessary costs associated with the injury.

Hang on to medical bills and receipts, as well as documents that help predict future related expenses (long-term physical therapy and pain management, for example) to support your demand for compensation.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages (also called general damages) are harder to define as they don’t directly cost you money, though they certainly impact your quality of life. This money compensates injured people for pain and suffering, trauma, and emotional distress.

Keep notes on your physical and emotional state, as well as documentation from your doctors and therapists, to support your demand for compensation.

Things You Can Do to Encourage Fair Compensation

To increase the chances of full and fair compensation, keep the following in mind as your case moves forward:

  • Go to all of your medical appointments and follow your doctors’ orders.
  • Record your experiences with physical pain and mental/emotional upset daily.
  • Clearly state in writing how the car accident and your injuries have negatively impacted your life.
  • Avoid discussing the case on social media, as anything you say can be used against you.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between a Personal Injury Settlement and Verdict?


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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