Fact: Back Injuries Following an Accident are Under-Reported
Injuries to the neck and back after a car accident have become a cynical joke among Americans. Often, the jokes are pointed at personal injury attorneys many people believe are simply chasing ambulances for money.
The sad truth is that neck and back injuries are very common in most car accidents. Neck and back injuries are often permanent and will cause the sufferer to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in treatment and medical aids over the course of their life. Yet, a large percentage of neck and back injuries suffered in accidents are never reported.
Why Back Injuries Are Not Reported After an Accidental Injury
Stiffness, soreness, aches and pains are common after many accidents. Many people assume that over time, these pains will ease and they will be able to return to normal life activities. And in some cases, that is true.
But, what happens when an accident causes back pain that lingers or grows worse over time? Unfortunately, many people who suffer moderate to severe back injuries in accidents do not seek medical help until it is too late. Worse, because of the delay in reporting the injury and seeking treatment, it becomes much more difficult to get medical and financial compensation from the person who caused the injury.
A frequent comment we hear is the pain wasn’t that bad at first. Many injuries do not show symptoms for quite some time. Neck and back injuries frequently result in damage to the spinal cord and the discs that prevent our vertebrae from touching.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical term that refers to damage to the nerves radiating out from the spinal cord. The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics says that sciatica is a group of symptoms, not a diagnosis. This is important in terms of personal injury because there is no one right way to treat sciatic patients. Some people will require surgery, while others will need to immobilize the area to allow for healing.
In virtually all cases of sciatic impact, the sufferer will have reduced movement, flexibility, and regular pain for the remainder of their life. When an accident results in a fracture, you know that the bone will need to be set by a doctor. In most cases, the bone will heal and the sufferer will regain nearly all ability. Sciatica is not like that. Even after surgical repair, the injured person will continue to have health problems.
Sciatica affects the nerve bundles radiating from your lower back down each leg. The sciatic nerve is responsible for feeling in your feet, legs, hips, buttocks, and low back. The most common cause of sciatic pain is a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Many accidents result in disc herniation. According to the Mayo Clinic, some minor cases of sciatic pain will alleviate within a week. If pain lasts longer than one week, it is important to see a doctor, as the problem could get much worse. You should always see a doctor after an accident that leaves you with back pain.
Sciatica Complications Following an Accident
Car accidents and slip and fall accidents are frequent causes of injury to the lower back. The jolting motion of these accidents can throw the spine out of alignment, causing disc bulges and pinching of the sciatic nerve. It is the pinching of the nerve that results in pain. Most often, people will feel pain on one side or the other, radiating from the lower back into the hip and buttock and down the back of the thigh. Sciatica can even cause the lack of control of your bowels and bladder.
Sciatica complications include sharp, stabbing or burning sensations, tingling, numbness, or lack of sensation. Symptoms are more common when a person sits or stands for long periods of time. The pain of a sciatic nerve injury can range from mild to excruciating, even in the same individual. Pain can be completely debilitating, forcing an injured person to miss work, and often leads to a lower quality of life.
Long-term complications from sciatica injuries can include constant pain, reduced ability to stand or sit, and an overall degradation in the quality of life the injured person will experience. Common daily activities, like paying with your kids, can become excruciatingly painful. Many sufferers of sciatic pain miss out on important parts of life because of sciatica.
Over time, a pinched nerve will develop scar tissue, further impeding the nerve and leading to permanent damage. Sufferers of permanent damage can experience loss of muscle, weakness, and can ultimately become unable to walk or stand for any length of time.
Treatment of Sciatic Nerve Injuries
Accidents that cause an injury to the sciatic nerve may require numerous medical procedures to alleviate the symptoms. The manner in which an injury is treated by medical professionals depends on the severity and location of the injury.
Minor injuries to the lower back may cause sciatic nerve pain that is temporary. Frequently, these injuries are treated with cold compresses, physical therapy, and rest. A chiropractor may be able to help reduce pain and speed up recovery from a mild lower back injury.
Mild injuries may cause pain and tingling, and even loss of sensation for weeks or months, but may not warrant surgical repair. Unfortunately, most of these types of sciatic nerve injuries will leave you suffering with some degree of pain likely for the remainder of your life. You may need to use a back brace, stop doing physical activities you enjoy, or even change the type of work you do. It is common for sufferers of long-term mild or moderate injury to undergo several rounds of injections to reduce pain.
Severe injuries to the spine that cause a sciatic nerve disorder require surgery. Fractured vertebrae, ruptured discs, and serious damage to the nerve tissue will not heal on their own. Surgical procedures are highly dangerous and can result in paralysis.
Following a surgery to repair damage that has caused sciatic nerve damage will cause a permanent problem. Common procedures involve removing portions of bone from the vertebrae, fusing of vertebrae, and artificial disc replacement. All of these procedures are expensive and will not return the injured person to the quality of life they experience prior to the accident.
Why You Need a Sciatica Injury Lawyer
Neck and back injuries can be very difficult to prove in court. The American Medical Association points out there is a huge disconnect between what medical professionals consider to be medical findings of a healed or mild injury and the experience the sufferer feels. This difference makes arguing a claim for damages more difficult than in cases were a bone is fractured or a more obvious external injury happens.
The reality is that a good accident lawyer is much less interested in how much money they will make off your claim. That is because very few attorneys get into this area of law for the money. Good personal injury lawyers are only interested in making sure you and your family get the medical and financial benefits you are entitled to receive under the law. Your health is what motivates a good lawyer, not money. You need a lawyer who wants to see everyone treated with fairness and equality. Justice is what gets the us excited to go to work every day.
In truth, it is the difference between medical findings and personal experiences that has led to the jokes about ambulance chasing attorneys and whiplash pain sufferers. Unfortunately, too many cases are impossible to prove in court, leading many injured people to suffer a lifetime of pain without fair compensation.
An attorney that specializes in sciatic nerve cases knows the most current scientific findings about the injury. Your sciatica injury attorney will be able to sift through the thousands of medical and legal records and findings to identify situations as similar to yours as possible. Nerve injuries are unique in that the same injury can impact one person drastically, while the same injury may be only a minor inconvenience for another person.
Philly Injury Law specializes in helping the injured. Our decades of experience with sciatic nerve injuries have led to dedicated and specific processes for handling your claim that differ from typical accident claims.
Our sciatica injury attorneys know that the injury you suffered needs to be treated as a serious injury from day one. Our goal in every case we take is to see that justice is done. When it is difficult for a medical report to demonstrate the impact of a sciatic nerve injury, our attorneys will contact specialists and experts, making sure that the most current and valid science available is presented in favor of your case.
We won’t allow an insurance company to get away without covering your injury just because the extent of damage is difficult to demonstrate. Our promise to you is that we will fight for you and your family with every bit of knowledge we have to get the best settlement.
Our personal injury attorneys are not about chasing ambulances. We are dedicated to making sure that every injured person gets the help they need to recover the most quality of life possible following a serious, life changing injury.