The minute you realize something is not right with your back, even if the pain or damage seems minor, trivial even, you should make an appointment with your doctor for a medical exam right away.
It is the smart thing to do for your health. Just because an injury seems minor at first does not necessarily mean that it is minor. Sometimes, major injuries take weeks or even months to present noticeable symptoms. The longer you wait to seek medical help, the more you could be risking your health, and the more damage could potentially be taking place inside your body without your knowledge.
Seeing A Doctor Can Boost Your Car Accident Case
The sooner you seek medical attention after a car accident, the easier it could be to connect any injuries the exam reveals to the crash. By waiting too long to see a doctor, you leave yourself open to the at-fault driver, and their attorney, raising the possibility that something else happened after the crash to cause your injury.
Even if your crash happened weeks ago, or even months, and you are just now experiencing back pain, it is not too late to pursue damages. Accordingly, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
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After You See Your Doctor, Consult With A Car Accident Attorney
A personal injury lawyer can help you put together your claim and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. Even if your back pain did not present itself right away following the accident, an attorney could help you establish a causal connection with the wreck.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injuries, your settlement may include any or all the following:
- Current and past medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle damages
- Other loss of personal property
- Punitive damages (if we have evidence that the other driver was acting recklessly or maliciously)
Keep Up With Your Medical Care
Once you seek medical attention for your back pain, your treating physician should offer a diagnosis, revealing the specifics of your injuries. Your doctor also will likely recommend a combination of follow-up care, therapy, rehabilitation, and medication.
It is important to stay on top of your medical care as your attorney pursues your personal injury case. When you attend your scheduled appointments for doctor check-ups, physical therapy, and such, you help to establish the extent of your injuries, which is an important building block of your injury claim.
On the other hand, if you do not commit to your follow-up care, miss appointments, and do not follow your doctor’s advice, the other party might use this as evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
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Do Not Ignore Your Lower Back Pain
Back injuries, if not treated, can worsen and lead to potentially life-long complications. If you have not already done so, you should see a doctor for your lower back pain if:
- You have severe pain
- Your pain does not improve with rest
- Your pain spreads down one or both of your legs
- Your pain causes tingling, weakness, or numbness in your legs
- You experience unexplained weight loss
Diagnosing Your Lower Back Injury
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the impact of a car accident could cause injuries to “tendons, ligaments, or muscle” in the back. Car accident injuries may also cause discs to rupture and/or herniate and could compress the spine.
To determine what is causing your lower back pain, your doctor may use one or more of the following diagnostic tests:
- CT scans
- Blood tests
- Bone scans
- Electromyography (EMG) to check for nerve damage
Treating Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is treated using a variety of methods, depending on the patient, the nature of the injuries, and the severity of the injuries. Treatment methods include:
- Pharmaceuticals, such as muscle relaxers and pain relievers
- Physical therapy
- Spinal injections
- Implanted nerve stimulators
How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Serious?
There are many symptoms that may indicate a back injury is serious. The following symptoms are indicative of a serious back injury, such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Numbness or tingling in your extremities
- Weakness or incoordination in any part of your body
- Extreme back pain
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Imbalances when walking
- An oddly positioned back or neck
- Blood in your urine
Some types of serious injuries that occur because of car accidents include:
- Sprains or strains – Injuries to the ligaments and muscles in your back
- Torn or ruptured disks – A herniated disk resulting from pressure applied to the rubbery-like center of disks
- Nerve compression – Extreme compression of nerves in your lower back that causes damage, called cauda equina syndrome
- Spinal fractures or dislocations – A fracture or break in your spine or disk
Many types of accidents can cause the injuries mentioned above; furthermore, a single accident could lead to a combination of injuries. If you or a loved one are suffering from the above or related injuries, seek medical help right away.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord damage is a serious back injury. Spinal cord injuries may lead to tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia) and paraplegia, both forms of paralysis. Spinal cord injuries may result in:
- The loss of movement
- An inability to feel sensations
- Changes in sexual functioning
- Inappropriate reflexes
- Intense pain or stinging as a result of damaged nerve fibers in your spinal cord
Depending on the nature of the injury, a full recovery may not be possible.
You Can Seek The Cost Of Your Back Pain Medical Treatment Through Insurance
Diagnosing and treating a back injury can be expensive. If a vehicle accident caused your lower back pain, you can seek the costs of your medical treatment through your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
According to Florida Statutes § 627.736(a), your PIP pays for 80 percent of your accident-related medical expenses, no matter who is at fault for the crash. However, to receive coverage, you must seek initial treatment within 14 days of your accident.
PIP compensation may include reimbursement for:
- Diagnostic testing
- Surgical procedures
- Medical devices and mobility aids
- Long-term nursing care
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
Many drivers in Florida ask us: is uninsured motorist coverage in Florida worthwhile? Our answer is yes, it is. This type of coverage can pay for your and your passengers’ medical bills if an uninsured driver hit you and caused you harm.
When it comes to car crashes, back injuries, and uninsured drivers, you cannot be too careful or protected. Moreover, UIM also pays for the car damages the uninsured driver caused, so you can recover without adding even more weight to your financial burden.
You May Be Entitled To Compensation For Damages Beyond Your Back Pain Medical Expenses
According to Mayo Clinic, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work. It is one of the leading causes of disability, globally. If your accident was not primarily your fault, you may be able to seek additional compensation from the at-fault party.
Another Party’s Negligence Can Make You Eligible For Damages
Florida motorists must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP protection and a minimum of $10,000 in property damages liability (PDL) insurance, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Florida does not require that drivers carry bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. Rather, the state relies on PIP to pay for injuries. However, some drivers may have an additional, optional BIL policy.
You might be able to seek a settlement against another driver’s liability insurance, but you must prove their negligence led to your injuries. Examples of driver negligence include:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Speeding or driving too fast for the current road and weather conditions
- Driving distracted
- Failure to maintain lane position
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Driving recklessly or aggressively (road rage)
Taking Legal Action
If the cost of your lower back injuries exceeds your PIP, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit. You typically have four years from the time of your accident to file an action for personal injury, according to Florida Statutes§ 95.11. If your time limit runs out, you may not be able to file a civil suit.
The statute of limitations may also affect liability insurance claims. Knowing the case can no longer go to trial, insurance companies may use an expired statute as a reason to deny you payment.
Should You Hire An Attorney To Help You Pursue Your Back Pain Damages?
While you can try to handle insurance claims or legal action related to your accident on your own, getting help from one of our lawyers can relieve your stress. We can identify liable parties, calculate your damages, prove negligence, and properly adhere to insurance and/or court procedures.
When you talk to one of our back injury lawyers, ensure you bring all the medical reports and bills you have gathered. Witnesses to your post-accident life are also crucial to your case, as they can testify to your pain and suffering, major changes to your lifestyle, etc. A specialized attorney can do everything in their power to help you receive the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track.
Still Have Questions? Call the Law Offices Of Anidjar & Levine Today
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we know what it takes to get car accident victims back on their feet. We can assist you with your PIP claims, liability claims, and a lawsuit, if necessary.
Our legal team can help you with your car accident claim. For a free consultation, call us today.
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