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Why Do Car Accidents Often Result in Lower Back Pain?

Painful back injuries are a common outcome of car accidents

Car accidents frequently lead to severe injuries, and lower back pain is one of the most common car accident injuries sustained by crash victims. Understanding the implications of back pain and identifying common back injuries resulting from car accidents are important steps in the aftermath of a serious crash

Knowing your legal rights and the available medical treatment for such injuries is also crucial. In Tennessee, the responsibility for covering the costs of your car accident-related back injury often lies with the at-fault party. Still, the process of recovering compensation isn’t always as straightforward as it should be.

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    At the Law Office of Eric Beasley in Nashville, our car accident lawyers are here to provide you with the information and legal guidance you need if you or a loved one sustained a back injury in a crash.

    How do car accidents cause back pain?

    Car accidents are characterized by the powerful force of two vehicles colliding, which often results in severe injuries for those involved. Among these injuries, back pain or back injuries stand out as particularly common outcomes. Here's an expanded look at how different types of collisions can cause back pain or back injuries:

    Rear-End Accidents

    In rear-end collisions, the occupants of the front vehicle are at risk of sustaining back injuries. This occurs because the force of impact can propel the driver or passenger forward, causing them to collide with the dashboard, steering wheel, or the back of the front seat (for backseat passengers).

    Head-On Collisions

    Head-on collisions frequently lead to back injuries for several reasons. The seatbelt, designed to protect passengers, can exert significant strain on the back during a high-impact collision. Additionally, flying debris within the vehicle or the crushing force upon impact can cause damage to the vertebrae, resulting in back pain.

    Side-Impact Crashes

    Side-impact accidents, often occurring at intersections, pose a substantial risk of painful back injuries. During these collisions, an individual's body can be twisted or contorted due to the sudden force applied by the other vehicle. This twisting motion can lead to back pain and injuries.

    Why are some crash-related back injuries worse than others?

    When it comes to car accident back injuries, several factors can significantly impact the extent of the injury. These factors include:

    • Speed of the Vehicles: The velocity at which the vehicles collide plays a critical role in determining the severity of back injuries. Higher speeds generally result in more severe injuries due to the increased force of impact.
    • Point of Impact: The location of impact within the accident can also influence the severity of back injuries. Rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, or T-bone accidents can all lead to different types and levels of back injuries.
    • Size of the Vehicles: The size and weight of the vehicles involved in the crash are important factors. Larger vehicles can generate more force upon impact, potentially leading to more severe back injuries.
    • Rollover Accidents: If the vehicle rolls over during the collision, it can lead to a higher risk of severe back injuries, as the occupants may experience multiple points of impact and increased trauma.
    • Seatbelt Usage: Wearing a seatbelt during an accident can significantly affect the outcome of back injuries. Seatbelts are designed to restrain occupants and prevent ejection from the vehicle, reducing the risk of severe injuries.

    Common back injuries resulting from car accidents

    Car accidents can lead to a wide range of painful back injuries, each with its own set of implications. Common back injuries often associated with motor vehicle accidents include:

    Lower Back Injuries

    This broad category encompasses various lower back injuries. A common one is a lumbar spine injury, affecting the five largest vertebrae in the back. Such injuries can be excruciating and have lasting effects.

    Back Strains and Sprains

    Muscle strains and sprains in the back are a frequent source of severe back pain. The sudden, powerful impact of a car crash can stretch or tear back muscles, leading to painful injuries.

    Vertebrae Fractures

    Also known as spinal fractures, these involve breaks in the vertebrae or backbones, which protect the spinal cord. High-speed accidents, especially head-on collisions, can result in cracked or shattered vertebrae bones. Types include compression fractures, burst fractures, and flexion fractures.

    Herniated Discs

    Herniated discs, sometimes called bulging or slipped discs, occur when the soft center (nucleus) pushes through the disc's exterior (annulus). Car accidents, particularly severe ones, can lead to herniated discs.

    Stress Fractures

    Stress fractures are caused by excessive stress or pressure on bones. In the lower back, they can occur due to car accidents and are often referred to as spondylolisthesis, which can exert pressure on spinal nerves.

    Facet Joint Injuries

    Facet joints, situated between vertebrae, enable back movement. Injuries to these joints in car crashes can result in severe nerve pain, hindering normal bending and twisting.


    Sciatica involves injury to the sciatic nerve, connecting the lower back to the legs. Car accidents can lead to sciatica through nerve pressure or damage.

    Spinal Stenosis

    Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows due to trauma, such as a car accident. This narrowing places significant pressure on back nerves, leading to severe pain.

    Degenerative Spinal Disorders

    Car accident-related back injuries can have long-term consequences, contributing to degenerative spinal disorders. These disorders may include herniated discs, sciatica, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and pinched spinal nerves.


    Severe spinal cord damage can result in paralysis, preventing movement below the injury site. Complete loss of movement is termed complete paralysis, while partial movement is referred to as partial paralysis.

    Back injury symptoms and diagnosis methods

    Recognizing the warning signs of a back injury following a car accident is crucial, as symptoms can vary. Here are some common indicators:

    • Chronic Back Pain: Persistent, unrelenting back pain that doesn't subside.
    • Sharp, Shooting Pain: Intense pain akin to being poked with a sharp object.
    • Numbness: Loss of sensation in the back.
    • Tingling Sensation: An unusual prickling feeling in the back.
    • Stiffness: Difficulty moving or a sensation of rigidity in the back.
    • Muscle Spasms: Involuntary muscle contractions causing discomfort.
    • Loss of Bladder Control: An alarming sign indicating potential nerve involvement.
    • Limited Mobility: Difficulty moving body parts below the location of the back injury.

    Doctors employ various methods to diagnose back injuries resulting from car accidents, including:

    • Imaging Tests: Utilizing X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to visualize internal structures and identify damage.
    • Physical Examination: Assessing the patient's range of motion and pinpointing areas of pain and discomfort.
    • Diagnostic Injections: Administering injections to pinpoint the precise location of the back injury.

    These diagnostic techniques enable medical professionals to determine the cause of your back pain after a car accident. Remember, seeking prompt medical attention immediately following a car accident is essential.

    Treatment options for back injuries

    The treatment for car accident-related back injuries varies based on the type and severity of the injury. Common treatment options include:

    • Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE): Particularly beneficial for alleviating painful lower back injuries.
    • Pain Medications: Prescribed by physicians to manage the discomfort associated with back injuries.
    • Physical Therapy: Medically supervised exercises and therapy to rehabilitate injured back muscles.
    • Back Surgery: Often necessary in cases of severe back injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or fractured vertebrae.

    Additionally, strict adherence to your doctor's guidance is critical. Failing to follow their instructions can hinder the proper healing of back injuries and may lead to potential denials of insurance claims related to the injury.

    Determining the value of your back injury claim

    Estimating the value of your back injury claim can be a complex process that involves several factors. While it's essential to remember that every case is unique, here are some key elements that typically influence the value of a back injury claim resulting from a car accident:

    • Liability and Negligence: Determining fault and the extent of the other party's negligence in causing the accident will play a critical role in your claim's value. Tennessee follows a modified comparative fault system. That means any compensation you’re eligible to receive will be reduced proportionally by your percentage of fault. Moreover, if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, you may not be eligible to recover damages from the crash.
    • Medical Expenses: The cost of your medical treatment, including doctor visits, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing care, plays a significant role in assessing your claim's value.
    • Pre-existing Conditions: Any pre-existing back conditions may be considered when assessing the value of your claim. Often, an insurance company will look to minimize liability by claiming the victim had pre-existing medical issues instead of new injuries caused by the accident.
    • Future Medical Costs: If your back injury requires ongoing medical care, the anticipated future medical expenses will be factored into your claim.
    • Permanent Disability: If your back injury has left you with a permanent disability or impairment, this can significantly affect the compensation you are entitled to receive.
    • Lost Income: If your back injury has caused you to miss work or has resulted in reduced earning capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, both past and future.
    • Pain and Suffering: Evaluating the physical and emotional pain and suffering you've endured due to your back injury is a subjective but crucial aspect of determining the full extent of your damages.
    • Insurance Policy Limits: The at-fault party's insurance policy limits will also impact the maximum compensation available. If their coverage is insufficient, you may need to explore other avenues, such as your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
    • Legal Representation: The experience of your car accident lawyer in negotiating and litigating your claim can influence the final settlement amount.

    Contact a car accident attorney to review your legal options

    Following a car accident caused by another driver, it's not uncommon to experience pain in various areas of your back, particularly if you were rear-ended.

    However, taking your pain seriously from the start and seeking medical attention is critical. While backaches and discomfort might not always indicate a severe injury, they can serve as crucial warning signs and symptoms. Moreover, even if your injury isn't classified as "serious" in medical terms, the enduring pain, especially if it persists for weeks, months, or even longer, can significantly disrupt your life.

    That’s not right. That’s why at the Law Office of Eric Beasley, we’re here to help you demand justice and accountability for your back injury. We have years of experience dealing with complicated legal cases and won’t waste any time getting right to work on your injury claim or lawsuit.

    To see how an experienced car accident lawyer can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our office is located in Nashville, and we proudly represent crash victims throughout Middle Tennessee.

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