Within the past few weeks, your vehicle was rear-ended by another driver. You had some neck pain for a while, but you didn't think it was serious. Now, however, you've developed significant low back pain and you believe it was because of the accident. Is that possible? Yes, people do develop lower back pain long after a rear-end collision occurs. You may want to consult a lawyer about obtaining financial compensation if you need medical treatment.
A number of studies confirm that low back pain can develop after a whiplash injury.
For example, research published in 1996 and updated in 2014 noted that 60 percent of respondents in a large survey reported low back pain within 30 days after a whiplash injury.
A study published in 2001 found that people who had suffered whiplash due to a rear-end collision were more likely to have low back pain years later when compared with accident victims who had not experienced a neck injury.
Why Back Pain May Have Developed
Even if you didn't feel an injury to your back when your vehicle was hit from behind, you may still have experienced trauma to the muscles and other soft tissues around the spine. Pain due to soft tissue injury may not become noticeable for days or even weeks. You may have triggered the discomfort by doing some rigorous activity or simply using your back muscles in a way you usually do not, such as stretching to reach something overhead.
Trauma to the spine or tissues surrounding it also can trigger or worsen pain from degenerative disc disease. This condition is considered a normal part of aging, although some people never experience symptoms while others have symptoms that are debilitating. If you have the disorder, the at-fault driver's insurance company will likely dispute your claim that the accident caused your current discomfort.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Your lawyer knows the documentation you need to prove your case. For instance, you need verification from a doctor as to your injury, including diagnostics such as X-rays. Soft tissue injuries do not show on X-rays, so you will need other diagnostic measures, such as ultrasound scans, if this is the main problem.
Your attorney also can have expert witnesses, such as medical specialists, provide testimony confirming that trauma can worsen degenerative disc disease and cause the initial pain from this disorder.
This lawyer will begin by making contact with the at-fault driver's insurance company, with details of your circumstances and a request for a reasonable settlement. The insurance company is likely to counter with a lower offer. The two sides negotiate until they reach an agreement that is satisfactory to you.
Typically, these cases are settled out of court. If the insurance carrier denies the claim entirely, your lawyer will begin more aggressive measures, such as filing a lawsuit. The case still is likely to be settled rather than proceed to trial.
What Can You Do Now?
Contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation. The lawyer will ask you questions about the accident and what has occurred since then. Before your appointment, write as much as you can remember of the accident details and how you felt physically and emotionally immediately afterward. Then document when your back pain began and the details of your symptoms. This will help the attorney evaluate your case.
After you hire a personal injury lawyer, you won't pay upfront fees; instead, the attorney will receive a percentage of your settlement. Once you receive your compensation, you can immediately pay any outstanding balance on your medical bills, such as the deductible, co-pay and any amounts not covered by your health insurance.