Car accidents can result in painful back injuries. Even in a low-impact collision, the force placed upon the body might still be enough to injure the fragile network of bones, ligaments, muscles, and nerves that make up the back and spine.

A back injury may range in severity from a strain that heals in a matter of weeks to a permanent, catastrophic spinal cord injury. Data shows that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury in the United States. Many of these injuries leave victims partially or fully paralyzed.

If you sustained a back injury in a car accident in Maryland, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. The Waldorf car accident lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC are experienced advocates for injured people throughout Southern Maryland. With years of experience representing accident victims, we have a proven track record of securing favorable case results for our clients. Let our back injury lawyer help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve.

Our compassionate legal team will provide you with personalized attention during each step of your case. Learn more about what we can do by calling or contacting us for a free consultation now.

Types of Back Injuries

We depend on a strong back to stand, walk, and support our arms and legs. It’s no surprise that any kind of back injury can sideline us in a split second.

Unfortunately, back and spine injuries are common after a car accident. Some of the most frequent injuries include:

  • Whiplash: The sudden impact of a car collision can cause the neck and head to jolt back and forth in rapid succession. This snapping motion can injure ligaments, muscles, nerves, and bones in the spine, causing a condition called whiplash. Even though a whiplash injury starts in the neck, severe lower back pain is a common symptom. Though many cases of whiplash heal quickly, more severe cases can leave a victim with chronic pain.
  • Herniated discs: In between your vertebrae are a series of spongy spinal discs that act as shock absorbers for your spine. When one of these spinal discs is ruptured or torn in a serious car accident, the soft interior can bulge or leak out, compromising the integrity of the spine and causing intense pain.
  • Vertebral fractures: Severe car accidents can result in fractures to the vertebrae, which can have painful and sometimes life-altering consequences. Symptoms of vertebral fractures include sudden-onset back pain, pain while walking or standing, limited mobility of the spine, height loss, and deformity.
  • Spinal cord injuries: In severe cases, herniated discs or shards of bone can compress, damage, or even sever the delicate structure of the spinal cord. When the spinal cord is injured, victims can experience losses of sensation, motor function, and coordination.
  • Partial paralysis: Some spinal cord injury patients develop partial paralysis, which can involve incomplete or total losses of feeling or control over certain body parts. Depending on the nature of a spinal cord injury, partial paralysis may be localized to a single limb or body part, the upper limbs, lower limbs, or one entire side of the body.
  • Total paralysis: Severe spinal cord injuries can leave victims with quadriplegia, which involves paralysis of all four limbs and sometimes internal organs.

Common Causes of Back Injuries in Car Accidents

Vehicle occupants are at serious risk of back injuries when any of the following types of car accidents occur:

  • Single-car accidents: When a single vehicle collides with a tree, post, or other structure, the resulting impact can sometimes cause whiplash or herniated discs.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents: Multi-car pileups sometimes involve crushing injuries that can result in soft tissue injuries and severe trauma to the spine.
  • Rear-end collisions: Even rear-end collisions that occur at low speeds can cause painful trauma to the neck, back, and spinal column. Whiplash is a frequent injury in rear-end accidents.
  • Sideswipe accidents: A sideswipe or broadside collision accident can result in sudden jolts to a person’s torso that carry the risk of spinal fractures and dislocated spinal discs.
  • T-bone crashes: Back injuries are common in T-bone crashes because the sides of most vehicles lack the same protection afforded by the front or rear.
  • Head-on collisions: A head-on collision can result in severe whiplash, herniated discs, and even a crushed or severed spinal cord.
  • Rollover accidents: Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests more than 70 percent of all car crash-related spinal fractures may be associated with rollover accidents.

How to Treat a Back Injury After a Car Accident

When back pain and other back injury symptoms persist long after a car accident, healthcare providers may recommend treatments, such as:

  • Medications: Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as painkillers, muscle relaxants, narcotics, and topical pain relievers may be necessary to reduce inflammation. Certain antidepressants may also be prescribed because they have been demonstrated as effective agents for chronic back pain relief.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises recommended and guided by a trained therapist to improve flexibility, muscle strength, and posture after a back injury. Consistent physical therapy can reduce pain, prevent pain from recurring, and reduce the risk of future back injuries.
  • Cortisone injections: If your back pain has proven resistant to recommended medications or begins radiating down your limbs, physicians may administer cortisone injections. Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory drug that can be injected into the area around your spinal cord for long-term pain relief.
  • Radiofrequency neurotomy: A non-surgical procedure involving a fine-tip needle inserted near damaged nerves in the spine. The needle uses thermal heat generated by radio waves to deaden nerves that cause chronic back pain.
  • Nerve-stimulating implants: Spinal cord stimulator (SCS) devices can be surgically implanted and used to transmit gentle electric currents to the spinal cord. These currents reduce back pain by modifying or masking nerve pain signals before making it to the brain.
  • Alternative medicine: Many patients find relief from back pain through various alternative therapies, such as chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, massage therapy, and yoga.
  • Surgery: When all other measures fail, invasive surgery may be the best option for alleviating chronic or radiating back pain. Surgical treatment can be used to repair damaged structures in the back or spinal column. Common types of back surgery involve the removal of herniated discs, spinal fusions, and artificial disc implants.

Can I Get Compensation for My Back Injury?

Your eligibility for compensation following a car accident may depend on several factors, including:

  • Who was at fault for the accident: Courts in Maryland follow a rule of pure contributory negligence when determining fault for a crash. Under this rule, you are barred from collecting compensation in a car accident case if you are determined to be even one percent at fault for the wreck.
  • Severity of your back injury: The more extensive and severe your back injury, the more compensation possible for your losses. If you suffer permanent injuries, you could even receive money for projected future losses.
  • Whether you had a pre-existing condition: If you had an existing back injury before the accident, you might have a more difficult time claiming compensation. Insurance companies and lawyers for at-fault parties often use pre-existing conditions as an excuse to deny that the accident could have caused new problems or exacerbated your existing injury.
  • Types and amounts of insurance available: Maryland law requires drivers to carry at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in injury liability insurance coverage. If the driver is uninsured or their policy limits are too low to cover the costs of medical care, you may have few other options to access the money you need. A car accident attorney can investigate your case thoroughly to identify all possible avenues of compensation for you.

If an insurance company, judge, or jury determines that you are entitled to money for your back injury, you could receive compensation for:

  • Past and current medical expenses related to the treatment of your back injury, including the costs of ambulance rides, surgeries, rehabilitation, and prescribed medications
  • Anticipated future medical expenses you will incur due to the long-term impacts of your back injury
  • Incidental expenses related to the crash, such as the costs of travel to medical appointments, medical equipment, and home or vehicle accessibility modifications
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential, if you develop a long-term disability that prevents you from working
  • Pain and suffering
Car Accident Attorney in Maryland - Trollinger Law

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Maryland for Help

If you’re struggling with back pain after a car accident in Maryland, you could have a valid legal claim. Reach out to Trollinger Law LLC for a free consultation. Founding attorney Matt Trollinger will listen attentively to your concerns and collaborate with you directly to determine your next steps. Contact us today to get started.