Abels & Annes, P.C. regularly works with Chicago clients who have suffered back and neck injuries. Whether caused by an auto accident, truck accident, bike accident, slip & fall, or lifting a heavy object at work, a back or neck injury can cause a lot of pain and seriously disrupt a person's everyday life.
What’s worse is that injuries to the neck and back also cause lasting effects that go far beyond the initial injury and pain. Nearly 65 million Americans have recently suffered some type of back pain. Additionally, 16 million adults—or 8% of all adults in the US—experience persistent or chronic back pain. These statistics show that when someone suffers a neck or back injury, they don’t necessarily recover in 3 weeks and go about their business. Some suffer for years, decades, or for the rest of their lives.
If you are suffering from a back or neck injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you don’t have to face it alone. Illinois law allows personal injury victims to seek compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost income, when they are injured due to negligence. Abels & Annes has decades of experience handling spinal injury claims. Give us a call today for a free consultation.
Are Back and Neck Injuries Common after Accidents?
It is estimated that between 250,000 and 375,000 people are currently living with a spinal injury in the US. A majority of these new spinal injury cases are caused by motor vehicle accidents and by slips and falls. Acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds) and sports injuries are also relatively common causes of back and neck injuries.
Back or neck injuries are one of the most common injuries after an accident. Sometimes back and neck pain caused by a traumatic incident can be sudden and severe. However, some people do not feel pain until several hours after trauma. This is mostly due to the large rush of adrenaline that gets rushed into the body moments after an accident occurs.
Most back and neck injuries are ligament or muscle injuries such as sprains or strains. This type of injury hopefully will resolve within a couple months with proper medical care. However, sometimes trauma can cause more severe injuries, like a herniated disc.
What Are Common Issues from Back & Neck Injuries?
Here are several common issues due to a back or neck injury:
Back and neck pain can be long term
A big problem with a disc herniation, a protruding or bulging disc is that the pain and limitations from the injury can last a lifetime. Even with proper treatment, a victim of a disc herniation may never fully recover. A victim may have to adapt his or her lifestyle to accommodate new limitations.
Many who suffer from back or neck injuries are prone to aggravations of the condition over time. This can occur from a new trauma or as they engage in routine activities of daily life. Tasks once simple may no longer be possible with a disc injury. For example, lifting groceries, bending to tie shoes, or even picking up small children, etc.
While it is a serious and painful injury, a herniated disc is not the only problem that can emerge from an accident. Sprains and strains may sound minor. However, they can be very painful when they occur in the neck, upper back, or lower back. These injuries may heal on their own but often they require significant medical treatment for a victim to recover.
When an injury to the back or neck occurs, there is always a concern that the spinal column or spinal cord may be involved. The spinal column is made up of a series of vertebrae, or bones that surround the spinal cord. These bones not only provide support for the entire body to stand upright, but they are also crucial to the protection of the spinal cord itself.
When a vertebra breaks or fractures, there is a significant risk of damage to the spinal cord as well. This can lead to a loss of sensation, nerve damage, or even paralysis.
Is future treatment necessary?
In some instances, victims who sustain a back or neck injury may require additional treatment in the future. The treatment may target a flare-up of pain from the original accident. Or it may be to treat a worsening condition. Sometimes, people who sustain an injury in an accident need surgeries later in life to repair or replace part of the back or neck in an effort to keep a patient functioning as much as possible.
This means that some accident victims have future medical expenses that can be large and can leave them with the need for surgical treatment but without the means to pay for the procedures. A civil claim for your damages can seek compensation for future medical bills if there is a reasonable expectation that future treatment will be necessary.
Injuries to the back and neck can be severe, permanent, and disabling. Despite this, insurance companies often try to downplay the severity of these injuries. An adjuster may try to claim the injuries are minor or that the accident was not the cause.
This is not the position we take at Abels & Annes, P.C. Further, we only represent victims who have injuries from accidents, and never an insurance carrier. We understand that a back or neck injury can be debilitating and we know that it can affect not only you but also your family members.
What Are Common Causes of Neck and Back Injuries?
The back and neck injury lawyers at our Chicago office often handle these types of claims due to accidents. For example:
Whether you were in a car, truck, or bus accident, motor vehicle collision victims often experience back and neck pain. A violent jolt from a rear-end collision or a t-bone accident, as well as getting tossed around a vehicle, can cause serious injuries that result in stiffness, numbness, shooting pains, and a range of other painful symptoms.
Motorcycle and bicycle accidents
Just like in an auto accident, a motorcycle or bicycle accident can cause a person to be jerked around in a way that can easily cause a neck or back injury. Oftentimes in these accidents a victim can be thrown from their bike and strike the ground or a fixed object. They can also be thrown into direct contact with another vehicle. Because motorcycle riders and cyclists are so exposed, they are especially vulnerable to injuries when they are struck by a car or truck.
Similar to a motorcycle or bike crash, a pedestrian can sustain back and neck injuries because of how exposed they are. Pedestrians simply have little protection from motor vehicles. Spinal injuries caused by pedestrian collisions can happen as a result of a direct impact from a vehicle and the subsequent fall to the ground that follows. Pedestrians hit by a car can be left with back and neck injuries that cause severe pain, lasting discomfort, extensive medical bills, and weeks or months of lost wages.
Slip & fall injury
Slips and falls can have surprisingly serious consequences in certain situations. Our lawyers often work on premises liability claims that involve slip and fall victims who suffer neck and back injuries. For example, a plaintiff may slip on a wet floor in a store, or become injured when they fall down dangerous stairs in their apartment building. Falls of these kinds can cause the victim to land awkwardly in a way that can cause serious back or neck injuries.
We commonly see workers sustaining neck and back injuries on the job. It might be from lifting a heavy object, a fall, or any other incident that causes harm to a worker. Workplaces can be dangerous, and most people are aware of the risks of their job. Further, sometimes an employer or supervisor purposefully puts you in harm's way or ignores safety protocols. If you sustain injuries at work, you can seek compensation for your injuries. Work comp laws are designed to keep employees safe and help them financially and with medical care when they get hurt. Injured workers should not be left to deal with the fallout of an accident on their own.
Types of Neck and Back Injuries from Trauma
Herniated disc: The vertebrae in your spine are padded by small discs that act like shock absorbers. If the disc is damaged it could bulge or break open, and that is called a herniated disc. Sometimes it is also referred to as a ruptured or slipped disc.
A disc herniation is most common in the lumbar spine (lower back). However, some happen in the cervical spine (neck) and more rarely in the thoracic spine (upper back). The herniated disc can press against your spinal nerves and cause severe pain and numbness in parts of the body where the nerve travels. Often disc herniations require surgical repair. A doctor can detect this injury by asking questions about your symptoms, and they can then confirm it by taking an MRI or CT scan.
Neck or back sprain or strain: A sprain or strain in the neck or back occurs when ligaments, tendons, or muscles that surround the spine are torn. The most common cause of this type of injury is a traumatic incident, like a fall or car accident.
Pinched nerve: When the spine suffers trauma, bone fragments, tissue, or tendons can push against surrounding nerves and cause neck and back pain. For some, pinched nerves can be temporary and go away with minimal treatment. For others, they can cause the sufferer lasting pain and require more intense treatments like surgery to repair.
Fractured spine: Although spinal fractures are more rare than soft tissue damage, they can occur during incidents involving a large amount of force, like a motor vehicle accident. A spinal fracture is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention and can result in many different types of pain and discomfort.
Treatment Options for Back and Neck Injuries
Because of the seriousness of neck and back injuries, it’s important to always seek medical treatment after a traumatic event so that you can be checked out by healthcare professionals. It’s important to either rule out a serious injury or to be diagnosed with an injury and begin treatment right away.
Even with the help of modern medical treatments, there is no guarantee that your neck and back injury will ever fully heal. However, modern medicine has come a long way. And there are plenty of treatment options out there that could help to reduce your pain, restore mobility, and possibly even correct the damage completely.
Initial treatment for neck and back injuries generally includes conservative or non-invasive care. This includes chiropractor visits, physical therapy, injections, and oral anti-inflammatory medications. These treatments can reduce inflammation around the nerves, reduce pain, and restore overall range of motion.
If conservative treatments fail to alleviate the pain, more intense treatment options will have to be considered. This usually means that surgical intervention will be necessary.
Surgery for Neck and Back Injuries
A common surgical procedure for neck and back injuries is known as decompression surgery, where a surgeon removes disc material, tissue, and/or bone to relieve pressure on the nerve root or spinal cord. The goal of a spinal decompression surgery is to greatly reduce or completely relieve pain.
Another common surgery is called fusion, which involves fusing two vertebrae together to stabilize the area and alleviate chronic spinal pain.
These surgeries are usually last resorts and are almost always accompanied by other treatments, like injections, medications, and physical therapy.
These treatment options can be very expensive. But that's no reason to ignore your injury and deal with the pain. If you are suffering from back and neck pain from a personal injury incident, it’s important to get the treatment you are entitled to so that you can get back to a pain-free life.
If you are worried about how you are going to pay for your treatment and other damages after another person caused your injury, Abels & Annes is here to help. We have successfully handled thousands of back and neck injury cases. And we can help you too.
Should You Contact a Chicago Back And Neck Injury Lawyer Today?
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we offer a free case consultation to all victims of accidents. This includes those who have suffered a back and/or neck injury. We feel that you deserve to speak to a personal injury attorney and to learn about your legal options without any obligation on your part. And we feel so strongly about your rights that we make a lawyer available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442). If you prefer to meet with us in person but your injuries are too serious to travel, we also offer free in-home and in-hospital consultations at your request. After an accident, you deserve to have your legal questions answered and we are standing by to do just that. Call us today and let us help you obtain a financial recovery you deserve.
If you have suffered a back or neck injury, request a Free Case Consultation or call (855) LAW-CHICAGO to speak with a lawyer now.