Chicago Back Pain Injury Attorney
If you suffer from back pain due to an accident because of another’s negligence, contact Willens Law Offices for a FREE consultation.
Each year thousands of drivers are injured in car accidents in Illinois. Many of these victims experience back pain as the result of a back injury following a Chicago auto accident.
If you or a loved one were injured in a Chicago car accident due to another’s negligence, you should be receiving ALL of your benefits, not just the ones the insurance company wants to accept. At Willens Law Offices, we focus exclusively on representing the individuals and family members of those who were injured by someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior.
Back Pain Due to a Back Injury
Even though almost all cars on the roads today have seat belts and airbags, injuries still occur. Because the human back is a complex system of tendons, muscles, and ligaments that make up the vertebrae, discs, and spinal cord, it is prone to injury.
The backbone, or spine, is made up of 33 bones and tissue that extend from the skull to the pelvis. These vertebrae protect the spinal cord which is a cylinder of nerve tissues. In between each of the vertebrae are disks, or bands of cartilage that act as a shock absorber. There are 4 types of vertebrae: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and the sacrum and coccyx. The cervical spine is where neck injuries occur.
When the back is injured it causes back pain. However, the symptoms of a back injury, even a serious one, may take days, weeks, or months to become fully apparent.
If you have been in a car accident, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention. Keep in mind that even if a doctor tells you there doesn’t seem to be anything seriously wrong, you may still have suffered a back injury.
Car insurance companies may try and take advantage of you and get you to make a statement, in the hopes that they can settle for a smaller amount, especially before the symptoms of a serious back injury become apparent. At no time do you need to dignify the insurance company’s inquiries by talking to them.
A back injury can be a nightmare for an injured worker, limiting mobility and leading to constant and intense pain.
Types of Back Injuries
The spine is divided into three parts:
- cervical vertebrae
- thoracic vertebrae
- lumbar vertebrae
These sections and their vertebrae are surrounded by muscles, discs, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Depending on the part injured, the person may suffer pain ranging from mild to debilitating.
Common Back Injuries
- Thoracic spine injuries: These injuries are the most serious of all back injuries. The upper back or thoracic spine connects the chest region to the ribs. Fractures and sprains in this area are caused by high speed accidents and often lead to permanent nerve damage.
- Lumbar spine injuries: This area of the spine consists of the strongest of muscles and the largest vertebrae that provide stability to the spine. Strain and sprain to the lumbar spine can be extremely painful. A strain means stretching of the tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and a sprain involves damage to the ligaments. Lumbar spine injuries cause swelling, bruising, tenderness, limited movement, and impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
- Herniated discs: Spinal discs are the cushions between the vertebrae and their job is to protect the spine. When the disc is displaced, the person suffers a herniated disc. The herniated disc then puts pressure on the spine and the nerves surrounding it. The person may experience intense pain in the lower back and may also experience numbness in the legs.
- Spinal cord injuries: These are among the most debilitating of back injuries and range from mild bruising to permanent damage to the spine and surrounding nerves. Spinal cord injuries often lead to long-term disability, partial or total paralysis, loss of reflex action, and loss of sensation in certain areas. The person may also experience other problems such as infections, bleeding, pneumonia, spinal fluid leaks, and blood clots.
In addition to getting immediate medical attention, it is important to contact an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer. An insurance company will rarely offer someone without a reputable personal injury attorney a full and fair settlement.
Back Injury Symptoms
Many back injuries present symptoms right away, while others may take days or weeks. Do not assume you do not have a serious back injury just because there doesn’t seem to be anything initially wrong. If you have been involved in an auto accident and think you have injured your back, seek medical treatment.
Here are some common symptoms of a back injury:
- Lower back pain
- Chronic back pain
- Localized tenderness and stiffness
- Muscles spasms
- Numbness and/or tingling of an extremity
Very serious back injuries can cause paralysis. A penetrating injury to the neck needs medical attention immediately.
Work-Related Back Injuries
Back injuries at work are quite common. It can be a nightmare for the worker, limiting mobility and leading to constant and intense pain. The worker may require extensive treatment and prolonged therapy. The worker may no longer be able to earn a living or to return to the work he or she previously enjoyed.
Back Injuries Are Musculoskeletal Disorders
A musculoskeletal disorder is defined as pain that affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These disorders can result from regular wear and tear or by traumatic events such as a workplace accident. Back injuries, which are caused by repetitive motion, such as bending or lifting or those sustained in a fall, are classified as musculoskeletal disorders.
Workplace Back Injuries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), back injuries are among the most commonly cited reasons for missed work in the United States. In 2013, there were 212,080 back injuries reported by workers in the private industry and local and state governments. The average number of days off work caused by back injuries was seven days.
High Risk Jobs for Back Injuries
Back injuries can happen to any worker, whether a construction laborer or office worker. However, some jobs present a greater risk of back injuries when compared to others. Musculoskeletal disorders accounted for almost 33 percent of injury and illness cases that required workers to take time off work in 2013. Of these, 53 percent were nursing assistants. Laborers and freight, material, and stock movers also reported high rates of MSDs.
Factors that Increase the Risk of Back Injuries
According to OSHA, back injuries are often caused by exceeding the capability of the muscles, discs, or tendons, or by the cumulative effect of several factors. Some of the leading factors include:
- twisting, bending, and reaching while lifting
- lifting heavy objects or with “forceful movement”
- poor posture while sitting or standing
- repeated lifting of equipment or patients
- poor footing
- poor body mechanics and ergonomics
- exposure to vibration from equipment
- stress and fatigue
Symptoms of Back Injuries
When someone suffers a back injury at work, the signs and symptoms show up right away. The symptoms may include pain when standing from a seated position or when trying to assume a normal posture. It may also cause a decrease in mobility.
Recovering From a Back Injury After a Car Accident
Anyone who has ever had a back injury knows that they can be downright insufferable. Your movements are restricted, and even laying in one position can bring on excruciating pain. If your back was recently injured in an Illinois car crash, it is likely that you will be receiving treatment for months, if not longer. These types of therapies may get costly, but with the help of a Chicago car accident attorney, you can increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
We commonly consider the back to be a strong structure in our body, providing us with support. Yet it is more delicate than you may think, made up of a complex combination of bones, muscles, nerves and tissue. It’s easy to take your back for granted, but when it is injured in a car accident, you can suffer from serious life long consequences that will have a negative affect on every aspect of your life.
Whether it is from a slow rear end incident or a high speed side impact collision, back injuries are one of the most common occurring from an automobile crash.
What is a Disc Injury?
Known as a slipped, herniated, or ruptured disc, this type of injury is one of the most common to the back, especially after a car crash. Discs are small cushions in the spinal cord that keep the individual vertebrae separate and the spine its flexibility. The violent impact of a car accident can cause the damage to the disc, which often results in added pressure to a nearby nerve. Depending on the location, you may feel pain, weakness or numbness in any part of your body as a result.
There are therapies designed to gently push the disc back into the place, relieving the pressure on the spine. But in some instances, the pain remains, necessitating invasive back surgery to correct the condition.
Spinal Cord Injuries From Car Accidents
Your spinal cord provides the link between your brain and the rest of the body. Without it, your legs wouldn’t know when to move, you wouldn’t know if you were hungry, and your heart would not be able to beat. A sharp blow to the spinal cord during a car accident can damage the nerves within it, impeding the path of signals you need to perform everyday functions.
You could be left paralyzed from an injury to spine, either from the waist or the neck down. This type of severe injury will completely change your future, and require a lifetime of special care to compensate for the loss. If you or someone close to you has suffered such an injury a car accident attorney in Chicago can help you pursue compensation for the cost of your medical treatment.
Soft Tissue Injury and Car Accidents
One of the most common soft tissue injuries that occur from a car accident is whiplash, which affects the neck. The same type of damage can also be caused to the tissues in the back, even when the collision happened at a low speed. This is due to that sudden jerking forward and back, stretching muscles and ligaments beyond their normal capability. In order to recover your full range of motion after a soft tissue injury to the back, you may need therapy and pain medications.
Low Speed Car Accidents
Even low speed or low-impact accidents can lead to serious injuries. The soft tissues in neck and back are especially vulnerable to injury in case of a low speed collision, which may cause sudden jerking motion leads to stretching or tearing of the muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues. About a third of people who get involved in low impact car crashes suffer soft tissue injuries. Common symptoms of these injuries include muscle stiffness or soreness, numbness, tingling, and bruising.
Treatment of Back Injuries
Doctors will diagnose a back injury and determine its severity using X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and bone scans. Minor back injuries may require temporary and short-term treatment including anti-inflammatory injections, pain medication, and physical therapy. However, serious back injuries usually require surgical treatment to reduce the pressure on the spine and the surrounding nerves. Surgery may be performed to fuse the vertebrae or removing parts of the vertebrae.
The single most important thing you can do after an incident is seek medical attention. Many times, after an accident, any injuries sustained to your neck or back will not be immediately apparent.
Contact a Chicago Injury Lawyer
The back injuries that result from a car accident can be serious, permanent, and life changing. Recovery may take years, and sometimes it requires that you adapt to a new way of life. While the thought of adding a legal claim to an already stressful situation can feel like too much, the personal injury attorneys at Willens Law Offices in Chicago are here to help represent your claims in court.
To discuss your back injury, call our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys today at (312) 957-4166 or fill out our online contact form. Initially, we will listen to you and offer you guidance. We see this initial FREE consultation not only as a way for us to get to know you, but also for you to better understand who we are and what we can do, so you can feel comfortable making the decision as to which law firm to hire.