Understanding Back Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Back Injury Caused By Auto Wreck Due to their dramatic nature, car accidents often make the news and headlines across Illinois and the country. However, their frequency of serious accidents is rising in greater and greater numbers.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has handled many Illinois car accidents with various injuries and damages including property and economic losses. Most victims of car and truck accidents experience excruciating back pain. Therefore, we assembled these pages to give you some perspective on typical back pain injuries and what you can do after the accident to ensure you obtain maximum recovery and full recovery when possible!

The Causes of Back and Spine Injuries During Car Accidents

The laws of physics played heavily in how your spinal injury occurred during the car accident and involved you experiencing rapid changes in direction and velocity. Most car accidents cause the victim's back and spine to move forward very quickly by direct or kinetic momentum before the sudden stop caused by a seatbelt, airbag or collision when the body snapped back in the opposite direction. This whip-like motion likely compressed the spine and ruptured discs in the spine or caused herniated discs when they are thrown out of place.

It is also possible for blunt force trauma or contact with debris and sharp objects to break the bones comprising the vertebrae in the spine or to sever major nerves in charge of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The impact of these injuries can be debilitating in a number of different ways, which include:

  • Injuries that cause chronic pain due to the exposure or compression of nerves. This often occurs with ruptured or herniated discs because the shock-absorbing fluid inside of the discs is no longer there to provide cushion and protection. Victims may never be able to enjoy some of the physical activities they once participated in due to the risk of flare ups or attacks that can cause excruciating pain.

  • Injuries that impact motor function. Pinched nerves and damaged discs can make it difficult for victims to maintain motor function. This is due to interruptions in the signals sent between the brain and the arms, hands, legs or feet. Some of these injuries result in the temporary loss of motor function while others can permanently affect mobility.

  • Injuries that affect cognitive function. Some damages to the upper spine may be accompanied by traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can cause complications due to the development of neurological disorders or damage to areas of the brain responsible for regulating memory, concentration, communication and motor function.

Back Injuries and Illinois Car Accidents

Back injuries caused by car accidents tend to involve either a herniated disc or a spinal cord injury. This section of the Illinois Car Accident Center focuses on spinal cord injuries. For herniated disk injuries, click here.

Spinal Injury

The spinal cord is an electric highway of nerves that control the human body. It provides motor and sensory-nerve functions. Its core structure is composed of bones but it is also comprised of tissues, ligaments, nerves, and other critical components. Three layers of meninges surround and buffer the internal spinal canal including dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater.

The space between all of these layers envelops blood vessels, tissue, and fluids. The skeletal system of the spinal cord has three main segments. The uppermost portion (7 vertebrae) of the spine involves the Cervical vertebrae; the middle portion (12 vertebrae) involves the Thoracic vertebrae, and the lower portion (5 vertebrae) involves the Lumbar vertebrae. The cord also contains the Sacrum and Coccyx sections beneath the Lumbar region. The following diagram displays the arrangement of the human spinal cord.

Back Injuries Center

Injuries to the spinal cord in car accident typically occur after trauma at high velocities cause either a sprain, strain or compression fracture. Generally, damage to the Thoracic region of the spine is the most serious compared to the other two regions. However, any injury might involve excessive bruising and pain, a decreased range of motion and feeling and, sometimes, partial or total numbness.

Sometimes, spinal cord injuries do not present themselves until well after the accident. Therefore, many victims do not know the extent or type of recovery that is possible or if it can heal on its own or require invasive intervention. Here are some facts regarding back injuries in car accidents.

Back Injury Statistics from Illinois Car Accidents

  • Almost half of a million people every year receive or currently have a spinal cord injury, and a little more than one-third of those are caused by car accidents.

  • The human body can sustain a spinal injury at speeds as low as 5 miles per hour.

  • People who experience spinal cord injuries can be up to 5 times more likely to die prematurely than those without a spinal cord injury.

  • The majority of spinal cord injury victims are male and under the age of 30.

  • Other common causes of spinal cord injuries include sports, falls, and fighting.

  • Nearly half of all spinal cord injury victims do not have private insurance at the time of the accident. This is significant because these injuries often require months of hospital stays and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment.

Here is some more general information regarding back injuries and car accidents in Illinois:

VEHICLES INVOLVED:

  • Car
  • Truck/Trailer
  • Motorcycle
  • Pedestrian
  • Bike
  • 68%
  • 22%
  • 2%
  • 6%
  • 2%

ACCIDENTS TYPES:

  • 18%
  • 73%
  • 6%
  • 1%
  • 2%

STATE RECOVERY (5 MOST COMMON STATES):

California

Amount Recovered
$0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
27%
39%
7%
7%
10%
3%
3%
2%
2%

Florida

Amount Recovered
$0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
34%
30%
10%
6%
12%
4%
1%
2%
1%

Missouri

Amount Recovered $0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
24%
62%
5%
2%
3%
1%
1%
1%
1%

New York

Amount Recovered
$0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
34%
13%
10%
8%
12%
6%
10%
5%
2%

Washington

Amount Recovered
$0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
13%
68%
5%
7%
4%
2%
1%
0%
0%

Valuing Car Illinois Accident Cases with Back Injuries

If you suffer a back injury in an Illinois car accident, you will probably wonder very quickly what your case would be worth if you filed a lawsuit. Of course, there are some common dimensions to all kinds of injury cases, and you can read all about those here: What Is My Car Accident Case Worth? However, here are some important facts to consider for back injuries in particular and how they might influence your future recovery in a suit:

  • Surgery for back injuries, such as a lumbar fusion, may cost as much as $100,000.

  • Recovery time from a procedure to fix back injuries may take as much as three months.
  • Surgery to correct back problems might result in significant nerve damage as well as long-term pain and limited movement.

  • Many patients still undergo extensive rehabilitation efforts after corrective surgeries.

  • Lawsuits involving back injuries from car accidents recover more than $100,000 on average.

Back injuries are one of the most catastrophic injuries you can experience from a car accident. Very quickly, they can completely alter your life and require significant modifications to compensate for the harm. The costs alone to correct them can quickly add up. Surgery, medications, rehabilitation, and follow-up examinations cost a lot of money.

Also, even with this medical care, you still might have to miss a lot of work and experience ongoing pain. Traditionally, this is why you see a lot economic compensation in back injury cases (for medical care, loss of income, etc.) but also some compensation for pain and suffering because there is a reduced quality of life in many instances.

The Cost of Treating Back Injuries from Car Accidents

While some injuries to the back and spine can be treated with a combination of steroidal medications and physical therapy, serious injuries often require expensive and risky surgical procedures to truly resolve the damage. In some cases, victims may need to endure multiple invasive procedures, with painful recovery periods in between. Here is a more exhaustive list of treatment options for back pain from car accidents in Illinois:

  • Over the counter medications such as Tylenol.
  • Chiropractic care and attention.
  • Electrothermal therapy and electrical nerve stimulation.
  • Bioelectric blocking therapy.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Spinal therapy and stimulation.
  • Injections.

The toll on those who suffer from paralysis is even greater. Not only do they need to concede to a life without mobility, but their families often must take on the burden of their care, which can be extremely expensive. The lifetime cost of caring for a paralyzed family member can reach over $4.5 million in the worst cases. The exorbitant cost of care is exacerbated by the fact that the victim may never be able to obtain employment again.

Rear-end collisions and lane departure accidents are the leading causes of back injuries. Cars are involved in almost 70% of all vehicle accidents where one of the people involved in the crash suffers an injury to the spine. Since some of these injuries worsen over time and present few initial symptoms, our Chicago car accident lawyers always advise that a crash victim undergo a medical examination following a car accident. Here are some other things that you can to memorialize your treatment expenses and preserve the value of your claims:

  • Make a list of your travels to and from medical appointments related to care for the injuries arising out of the auto accident.

  • Ask your employer for a lost wages verification form.

  • Request medical records from your primary care physician and other medical providers.

  • Follow the instructions of your doctors exactly as they provide for the treatment of your back pain.

Back Injury Claims and Defenses in Illinois Lawsuits

In Illinois auto accident cases, there are common claims and defenses that arise throughout the course of the litigation. Whether yours are successful or not will largely determine if you win or lose in court or settlement. Due to the special nature of back injuries, plaintiffs generally employ specific claims and allegations within their complaints, motions, and arguments. Here are a few claims as well as some insight into how defendants normally oppose them (and how you can respond to their defenses!).

  • 1. Medical Bills. Almost every personal injury lawsuit in Illinois will include some request for damages related to medical bills. However, due to the complicated nature of back injuries, plaintiffs’ claims for auto accident injuries are normally a bit higher than the average. Naturally, defendants will push back at this and argue that some or all of them are unnecessary. To weaken this defense, show how similar plaintiffs recovered and doctors’ testimony as to the adequacy of the treatments given.

  • 2. Pain and Suffering. One of the biggest sources of relief plaintiffs seek with back injury claims in Illinois auto accident cases is long-term pain. The crux of this argument is that the injury will impair them for the long-term future and they should be compensated accordingly. Defendants will refute this contention but normally without concrete evidence. To strengthen your case on this point, show how the incident eliminated your ability to do what you used to be able to do or without significant effort. Examples in this regard can include recreational, employment, and other functions.

  • 3. Lost Income. Often, plaintiffs will seek lost income because their back injuries prevent them from being able to return to work and make a living. In response, defendants will commonly complain that this was a personal decision and not related to the harms suffered in the car crash. However, this retort can be easily combated by offering evidence of the work routine and job demands. Combined with the injuries presented, this should show that the plaintiff’s requests are reasonable.

Hopefully, you see how this interplay between claims and defenses in Illinois auto accident cases can affect your compensation. However, there are a lot of other issues involved in this field of law. To gain a better understanding of what you need to do to recover to the maximum extent allowed under the law, call our offices.

The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has a history of standing for accident victims in Illinois. We can give you a free consultation to help identify what might be possible in court. Then, we can fight for your rights at no upfront cost to make sure that you don’t miss a dime of compensation. Begin your recovery today! Call us now!

If you would like to learn about other kinds of injuries sustained in Illinois auto accidents, then please read the following pages:

Understanding Broken Bone Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Wrongful Deaths in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Herniated Disc Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Facial Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Knee Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Brain Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

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