Did You Suffer Neck and Back Injuries After a Car Accident in Springfield? Call Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in Springfield, Illinois for Help
Neck and back injuries are one of the most common personal injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident in Illinois and the rest of the United States. According to statistics, approximately 16 million adults suffer from some form of neck and back pain. Although there are many causes of neck and back injuries, compiled research statistics reveal that lower back injuries were reported in approximately 63% of all motor vehicle accidents. Despite this high number, other hospital data estimates there are approximately 869,000 traffic accident-related neck injuries seen in hospitals each year in the United States. Further research indicates that roughly 90% of those neck injuries are from rear-end collisions. All of these statistics demonstrate how common neck and back injuries after a car accident in Springfield or elsewhere in Illinois can be – a fact well-known to the experienced car accident lawyers at the Noll Law Office.
Their bodily injury law firm handles all types of serious and catastrophic personal injuries, including neck and back injuries. Unlike other injury law firms, the Noll Law Office does not refer cases out across the state or to newly-graduated lawyers. Rather, their attorneys are fifth-generation lawyers representing Springfield and other victims or families across Illinois. They offer free consultations and case evaluations, and only get paid a percentage of what they recover for you and only after they recover it. If you or a loved one suffered any type of neck or back injuries after a car accident in Springfield, call the Noll Law Office for help at (217) 414-8889.
Understanding the Neck and Back Injuries
The anatomy of the neck and back is quite complicated but can be broken down into several basic structures. The main part of that is the spinal column, which is made up of 33 stacked vertebrae. These small bones are very strong and have an important job of protecting the very soft and vulnerable spinal cord inside of them. The spinal cord is the messenger super highway between the brain (processing center) and the rest of the nerves in the body (which govern sensation, strength, movement, and other functions).
In between each vertebra is a soft disc that is used to cushion the bones to prevent them from rubbing. The discs also give the spinal column some flexibility and shock absorption. There are gaps around the vertebrae and discs where larger branches of nerves originate from, known as the peripheral nervous system. These are the nerves that extend throughout the body for sensation, movement, and other functions.
The vertebrae start at the base of your skull. They are given a name and number based on their location, including the following
- Cervical – this is the neck region that consists of the first 7 vertebrae
- Thoracic – this is the middle part of your back between your shoulder blades, and there are 12 vertebrae here
- Lumbar – the next 5 vertebrae are part of your lower back and called the lumbar region of your spine
- Sacrum – these are five vertebrae that are fused together at your hips, meaning that they do not have discs in them and they are not flexible as the rest of the vertebrae, and there is no portion of the spinal cord here
- Coccyx – the final four vertebrae are also fused and small, with no portion of the spinal cord
Common Neck and Back Injuries After a Car Accident in Springfield
Knowing the anatomy of the spine, there are generally three types of neck and back injuries after a car accident in Springfield. These three types of injuries have a great range as to their permanence and disability. Despite that, it is always important to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer in Springfield whenever you have suffered any type of neck or back injury – or really any type of significant injury in a car accident).
The three general types of neck and back injuries include the following:
Compression Fractures and Damage to the Vertebrae
Although the vertebrae are very strong, they can be crushed and damaged in a high-speed or powerful crash. This is particularly true in motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers or tankers.
A compression fracture is very dangerous because it can crush the discs too, resulting in the need for a disc spacer or even a spinal fusion. Compression fractures can also be hazardous because they can send pieces of bone into the spinal cord. This can result in paralysis or damage to the central nervous system.
Finally, compression crashes can also damage the nerves extending between the vertebrae and discs, causing weakness, loss of sensation, loss of movement, and other functional injuries for a victim of a car accident. These can be incredibly disabling and painful.
Injuries and Damage to the Soft-Cushioning Discs
Sometimes an impact may not be violent or forceful enough to crush vertebrae. Other times the impact may just hit at the right angle that the tough vertebrae will do their protective job, but the soft discs may be injured. Damage to these soft discs can become extremely painful and disabling, sometimes requiring a different host of procedures or surgeries to repair the damage done.
The most common type of disc injury is a herniated disc, also referred to as a slipped disc. This type of injury occurs when the disc sustains a force so significant that the inner gel-like substance erupts through the tougher, outer skin. This is an annular tear and is a weakness in that disc that will often occur over and over again unless it is surgically repaired.
Treating an injured disc can include cortisone shots and other injections which will break up inflammation, reduce swelling, and allow nearby tissue to heal. The hope is that the disc will retreat back into its proper place within the spinal column. If that does not happen, sometimes a disc may be surgically pushed back in, the protruding piece removed, or the entire disc removed and a spacer put in. Oftentimes the most invasive the procedure, the more likely that the vertebrae above and below the injured disc will need to be fused.
A spinal fusion is an irreversible surgery that results in a decreased range of motion. Oftentimes there are also carrying weight, push, pull, and other restrictions that a person must follow. Many serious neck and back injuries after a car accident in Springfield result in spinal fusions.
Spinal Cord and Nerve Injuries from Car Crashes
Since the spinal column is made up of hard bones and flexible discs, a violent car accident can shift or misalign these structures. A powerful crash could also damage these structures and mishap them. When that happens, it can cause damage to the spinal cord or to the nerves originating out of the spinal column.
The spinal cord is particularly important to protect. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in a form of paralysis. Partial spinal cord injuries may result in weakness or a decrease in sensation below the injury site. However, if the spinal cord is completely severed, there may be total paralysis below the injury site. Paraplegia is when that damage occurs in the thoracic or lumber region, which affects the lower torso and both legs. Whereas quadriplegia occurs when the damage is in the cervical spine and can impact all four extremities and the rest of the body.
In addition to spinal cord injuries, damage to the spinal column may also impact the peripheral nervous system. These are the nerves that come out of the spinal column and extend to the tips of the fingers or toes. A common example is sciatic pain, which that type of pain can occur in any part of the body after a car accident – including sciatic-like pain in the shoulder or arm due to brachial plexus injuries.
Can I Recover Compensation for a Pre-existing Neck or Back Injury?
The unfortunate truth is that most Americans will, at some point in their life, experience some form of neck or back pain. In fact, degenerate disc disease can begin in a person’s mid-30s, including narrowing of the spine. That is considered to be the norm, especially considering the complexity of the neck and the back.
However, most of us will be able to carry on with our normal physical activity and job without much difficulty. Even “bad back pain” may still allow us to work, with some medical treatment or over-the-counter medication.
Thus, individuals who have this normal type of neck and back pain may still be entitled to recover compensation for their personal injuries after a car accident in Illinois. The same is true for individuals who may have had more serious back pain, including needing a herniated disc repaired, but the surgery was successful and they were back to working usually. These are known as pre-existing injuries, and they do not bar a victim’s recovery.
How the Defense Uses a Pre-existing Injury
Despite this, many insurance adjusters or defense lawyers will argue that your pre-existing back injuries or degenerative disc disease are the actual cause of your neck and back injuries after a car accident in Springfield. That is, even though you were working out, lifting kids, able to go to work, and otherwise enjoying life before your car accident, a defense lawyer will argue that you were already “injured” or “broken” and that you should not receive the same amount of compensation for your injuries.
That’s a horrible argument, but it is a common one that exists in nearly every car accident case. It might work too if you do not have a good car accident lawyer. Or it can lessen your recovery, affecting the total amount you can obtain for your case.
That’s why you need to hire an experienced car accident lawyer in Springfield to protect your rights, like the legal team at the Noll Law Office. They will not let overreaching defense lawyers and adjusters use unfair tactics to lower the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to under the law.
If You Suffered Neck and Back Injuries After a Car Accident in Springfield, Call the Noll Law Office to Fight Back
Although many people injured in a car accident may just have a neck or back sprain or strain, some individuals will, unfortunately, have life-changing injuries. Those injuries may start out as a minor ache but may result in a permanent spinal fusion. Insurance adjusters know this, and will often try to get you to sign a release of liability right after a car accident with a decently-sized check.
Don’t sign that release or take that check. It is often a trap used to help protect the defendant.
Rather, get the experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield, Illinois at the Noll Law Office. They can investigate your injuries and what caused your crash, holding all defendants who may be liable for your injuries responsible for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. To learn more about how the legal team at the Noll Law Office can help you, contact them today.