Car Accident Rear Ended and Have Lower Back Pain: What Do I Do?
If you were in a rear ended car accident now have lower back pain you should take it seriously because it could result in chronic pain as well as a long-term or a permanent disability. An experienced attorney will help you get the medical care you need as well as the pain and suffering compensation and No-Fault benefits you are legally entitled to.
What is lower back pain from a rear ended car accident?
Lower back pain after a rear ended car accident is most commonly caused by back strains and sprains but more serious injuries can occur such as spinal fractures, herniated discs, bulging discs and/or chronic pain. Seeking medical attention immediately after a crash is critical to ensure you are properly diagnosed.
Pain and suffering compensation
When you have suffered lower back pain from a rear ended car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering damages as well as excess medical expenses and lost wages and other economic damages from the at-fault driver who caused the crash.
To recover pain and suffering compensation, you must show that you suffered a “serious impairment of body function” as a result of your injuries from the rear ended car accident. That is the legal threshold under Michigan’s No-Fault that victims must prove in order be entitled to “noneconomic loss” damages.
If your medical bills and lost income are not covered by the policy you claimed No-Fault benefits through and/or they exceed the limits in the No-Fault law, then you may be able to recover economic damages for excess medical expenses and excess lost wages.
Your claim against the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation must be filed within three years after your crash. (MCL 600.5805(2))
No-Fault benefits for a rear ended car accident and suffering from lower back pain
You can recover No-Fault PIP benefits that will help pay for your medical bills, lost wages (when your injuries have disabled you from working), transportation and mileage costs for traveling to and from doctor appointments as well as household replacement services and attendant care services.
You can recover No-Fault benefits by filing an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called a “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
This application for No-Fault benefits is mandatory and the 1-year filing deadline must be complied with. If you do not file this application within one year of your crash, then you will forever lose your right to claim and sue for No-Fault benefits after your crash.
What to do for a rear ended car accident where you suffered lower back pain
If you were in a rear ended car accident and suffered lower back pain, follow these steps:
1. Get examined immediately: Time may be of the essence. When it comes to properly diagnosing the cause of your injury, the sooner a person gets the proper diagnostic tests, the sooner they can get the necessary treatment and care. The pain you are experiencing may be in your mechanical connective tissue or could be a soft tissue injury, but that acute lower back pain after a rear ended car accident can also be caused by an extruded spinal disc fragment that may cause permanent nerve injury or even paralysis. As an injury lawyer, I always advise people that the sooner they can get the necessary and appropriate medical care, the sooner they can get back on the road to good health and a full recovery.
2. Get medical treatment and get a referral for the appropriate diagnostic imaging to detect and diagnose if you have suffered from this injury.
3. Early documentation of your rear ended car accident where you suffered lower back pain always makes it easier to avoid future problems with your own insurance company. Early medical documentation, such as in an emergency room or as soon as possible with your family doctor, will prove to a health insurance company or a No-Fault insurance company that the crash was the cause of your injury. If it does turn out to be a more serious injury, you have documented the early symptoms and again will be able to avoid many of the problems that arise when an insurance company is denying a causal relationship and refusing to pay for medical treatment. Early treatment and medical documentation create the temporal relationship that insurance companies will be looking for when they are being asked to pay for necessary medical care.
4. Showing a clear temporal relationship between a crash and the documentation of treatment for a condition or injury also makes it easier to get a full and fair legal settlement for your injury when it is caused by another driver’s carelessness or negligence behind the wheel. Delays in seeking treatment hurt your ability to get better faster and make a good recovery, but it also often makes it harder for your attorney to get a reluctant insurance company to pay for your treatment and makes it harder to get a fair legal settlement after your crash.
5. Do not try to “tough it out”: this injury may be a symptom of a far more serious injury that may even become permanently disabling if you don’t seek treatment right away. As a lawyer, I have seen so many instances where people felt like they didn’t want to “complain,” but within days or weeks what they thought would be a minor injury or something that would go away becomes far more serious.
6. Talk to an attorney who is experienced at helping people injured in motor vehicle crashes. Most experienced lawyers have helped people suffering from this injury after a crash. The initial call is always free so at the very least you will be informed as to what your insurance company is responsible to pay and what medical help and wage loss you are entitled to. An attorney can also help you review your medical records as well as the treatment and care you are receiving to make sure bills are getting paid and they can use a settlement calculator to help you assess what your case might be worth if your pain and disability was caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness.
7. Tell your auto insurance company about your rear ended car accident where you suffered lower back pain. Make sure to list this injury in your application for No-Fault benefits, which is also referred to as your “written notice of injury” – which must be given to your No-Fault auto insurance company within 1 year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
8. Do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers related to your crash: Until you have talked with an experienced attorney who is looking out for your interests, do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers that are presented to you by your auto insurance company, the at-fault driver’s auto insurer or any other insurance companies or persons.
Types of injuries associated with lower back pain from a rear ended car accident
Based on our experience helping people who have suffered lower back pain from a rear ended car accident rear ended, our attorneys have compiled the following list of injuries that are frequently associated with the pain:
- Spinal fractures (lumbar and thoracic vertebral fractures)
- Spinal cord injuries to the back
- Herniated discs (lumbar or thoracic)
- Bulging discs
- Ruptured discs
- Protruding discs
- Lumbar sprains and strains
- Bone alignment problems
Prompt diagnostic testing is a key part of diagnosing and treatment for your injury. The four most common tests for diagnosing lower back pain are: (1) X-rays (detects spinal fracture); (2) MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) (most accurate test); (3) CT scan (Computerized Tomography); and (4) EMG (Electromyography)(detects nerve impingement or nerve damage).
Treatment for your injury may include: (1) physical therapy; (2) pain medication; (3) rehabilitation therapy; (4) short-term bracing for the back; (5) steroid injections to relieve pain; and (6) surgery.
Want a free consultation? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you have suffered lower back pain from a rear ended car accident and would like to speak to an experienced injury attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced automobile crash attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.