Can you sue for lower back injuries in a car accident?

July 27, 2021 / Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents can be frightening and horrific experiences, resulting in PTSD and significant physical injuries. One of the most common car accident injuries is lower back trauma. The spine is a delicate and essential collection of nerves and vertebrae. When you are thrust against a steering wheel, seat belt, windshield or other stationary object upon collision, the spine is jarred or bruised, resulting in extreme pain, numbness and sometimes paralysis.

If you are wondering if you can sue for lower back injuries in a car accident, the answer is yes. You are entitled to take legal action. Lower back injuries often mean huge medical bills, time off work, rehabilitation and even disability. The costs of treatment can be astronomical. You should not have to bear these costs alone, especially if your injury was due to another driver’s negligence. The skilled car accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife have successfully represented hundreds of clients injured in vehicle crashes. We have recovered significant financial damages on their behalf. We are tough negotiators and litigators, and we know how to go toe-to-toe with insurance companies to get the justice you deserve. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free consultation at (317) 680-2501.

Common types of lower back injury in a car accident

Many car and truck accident victims suffer lower back injuries. The collision impact can be so wrenching and forceful that the driver and passengers are thrown around like rag dolls. Following are some of the most common lower back injuries in a car accident:

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc is when the inner part of a spinal disc pushes out through the outer ring of the disc, creating a bulge.  A herniated disc is also often referred to as a “ruptured” or “slipped” disc.  The ruptured area rubs against spinal nerves, causing pain.

Lumbar or Thoracic Vertebrae Fractures

There are 33 bones that make up your backbone and protect your spinal column. During a car accident, one or more of these can be cracked, broken or bruised. This is often what people call a “broken back.”


Spondylolisthesis refers to a vertebrae displaced by a stress fracture which causes the spinal canal to narrow and compress nerves.  It can result in numbness or weakness in the back and legs.

Discogenetic Pain

Discogenetic pain is pain that is directly due to a disc being injured, damaged or impaired (as opposed to a rib, tendon or muscle).  Discogenetic pain can be caused by trauma (such as a car accident) or by bone degenerative disease.  It is estimated that approximately 28% to 40% of all patients with lower back pain are experiencing discogenetic affliction.

Back Strains and Sprains

The muscles and tendons around the lower back can be wrenched and overstretched during a car accident, resulting in back sprains and strains.  These often lead to backaches and lower back pain that can last weeks or months.

Degenerative Spinal Disorders

Traumatic injury to your lower back in a car accident can lead to degenerative spine disorders in coming months and years. The car accident can exacerbate and speed up spinal issues that present themselves as we age. These issues can include:

  • Bone spurs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Bulging discs
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative scoliosis.

Why does my lower back hurt after a car accident?

Spinal injuries can be extremely painful.  The spinal cord – wrapped in the bony spinal column – contains hundreds of sensitive nerves that when pinched, twisted or bruised can cause extreme discomfort.  A human body is not meant to be thrown about the interior of a car with extreme force, banging into the ceiling, doors, dashboard or windshield.  Such trauma inevitably leads to pain.

Symptoms of lower back injury:

  • Burning sensation
  • Sharp, stabbing pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling feeling like lots of needles
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Numbness
  • Loss of motor control of your legs.

If you are experiencing any of these painful symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor may want to run tests like X-rays, MRIs or CT scans to determine the full extent of your lower back injury before determining a course of treatment.

How long will my lower back hurt after a car accident?

It’s hard to say how long your lower back will hurt after a car accident. It could hurt for days, weeks or months. Also, you may feel fine immediately after the accident only to have pain arise in your lower back several weeks later. Often, treatment for lower back pain includes pain medication and/or physical therapy.

What to do immediately after a car accident

If you have suffered a lower back injury in a car accident, there are specific steps you should take immediately after the crash.

  1. Seek medical attention right away.
  2. Call 911 and ask police to respond to the scene so they can file a police report.
  3. Get the name, contact information and car insurance info of the other driver.
  4. Get the names and contact info of bystanders and witnesses who saw the crash.
  5. If you are able, use your smartphone camera to take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene.
  6. Answer police officers’ questions succinctly, but do not offer detailed explanations, and definitely do not accept blame for the accident.
  7. Hire a skilled car accident lawyer to represent you.

Call the spine injury lawyers at Stephenson Rife today

If you have suffered a lower back injury after a car crash, then you are likely in a great deal of pain.  This may cause you to miss work and experience a loss of earnings.  It can also mean expensive medical bills and rehabilitation.  You do not have to bear these costs alone, especially if the accident was the other driver’s fault.  A skilled car accident lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve.  At Stephenson Rife, we have won substantial settlements and jury awards on behalf of our injured clients.  See our client testimonials.  To find out how we may be able to help you, call us at (317) 680-2501.  The consultation is free.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

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