Why Auto Accidents Are Dangerous for Your Spine?
The spine is a complex structure, but it is also delicate. The spine is not built to withstand the impact of a car accident. Unfortunately, neck and back injuries are common during car accidents; the impact strains the ligaments and muscles in the back, and the facet joints bear the brunt of the force. This can result in several injuries, including whiplash, disc herniation, compression fractures, and spondylolisthesis.
It is important to be able to spot the symptoms of these injuries so that if you or someone else is injured, you will know what to do. Some injuries can be made worse if the injured person is moved. Even if it was a low-speed car accident, if you experience back or neck pain afterward, you should seek the help of a medical professional. A muscle strain may heal on its own, but if back or neck pain is caused by a more serious injury, a person may still feel pain months or years later.
What are the Common Back Injuries?
Herniated and bulging discs
There are 23 disks located in the vertebra. They sit between 24 vertebrae. When you suffer trauma to the back, one or more of the disks can become herniated or bulged. Disk herniation occurs when a disk breaks open and part of the inner cartilage protrudes outward. Disk bulging happens when the damage pushes or squeezes a disk out of its natural position between the vertebrae.
Soft tissue bruising and tearing
During a collision, any number of soft tissue ligaments, tendons, and muscles surrounding the vertebra can violently stretch or tear. When this type of back injury occurs, it affects thousands of nerve endings, resulting in mild to excruciating pain.
The trauma brought on from the force of impact causes the front (anterior) part of the vertebra and spine to compress downward. The vertebra fractures as it compresses.
The impact’s force causes multiple vertebrae in the cervical and lumbar regions to disintegrate. The result is sometimes a loss of mass in the ends of the cervical and lumbar region of the vertebra.
Flexion distraction fractures
Flexion distraction fractures occur most often in head-on crashes when occupants are wearing seatbelts. At the point of impact, the upper vertebra and spinal cord bend violently forward. Because the seatbelt firmly holds the lower back and pelvis, it acts as an anchor. The upper body’s violent movement, even with the seatbelt, exerts so much pressure on the upper back that the vertebra fractures.
Transverse process fractures
In a collision, an occupant’s vertebra and spine can pitch forward, backward, and side to side. The vertebra and spine can twist well past their natural radius, resulting in a transverse (crosswise) fracture.
Dislocated fractures are among the most common back injuries resulting from vehicle collisions. When one or more vertebrae fracture, soft tissue from other areas around the disk moves into the damaged area.
How does auto crash cause a herniated disk?
A herniated disc injury to your spine often occurs in an automobile accident. The stress put on the spinal column in a car collision can cause a piece of the spinal structure (called a disk) that separates your back bones or vertebrae, to move out of place. These injuries are sometimes also called slipped or ruptured disks. These disk structures can push out into the spinal channel and press against spinal nerves, producing severe back, neck, leg pain and possible hand pain. If you experience a sharp pain in the back, leg, hand or foot after an accident you should see a doctor immediately.
How to Find a Car Accident Police Report?
Finding a car accident police report is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished by following a few steps:
- Call the number listed on the business card of the officer who responded to your accident and compiled the report. If you did not get a business card, call the police station and ask for the officer who you worked with.
- When you speak to the officer responsible for your car accident report, explain to him who you are and give some details of the crash to help him remember. If you leave a message, give a brief reason why you are calling, your name, and a number where you can be reached.
- If the officer is unable to help you, you can either speak to a receptionist with the police department or call your local courthouse and ask for a clerk. Once you determine what department has your car accident police report on file, you may need to go to the police station or the courthouse to get a copy. You may need to pay a fee, so bring some cash with you.
- If you are unable to get the police accident report from either the courthouse or the police department, call your insurance company and the insurance company for the other driver to see if either insurer has it. If so, ask for them to mail a copy to you.
- You may also be able to find your police report at your local DMV office. Some DMV offices provide the car accident police report after it has been submitted to them by the responding officer. Contact your local DMV for more information
How to file a Car Insurance Claim?
It is possible to settle your accident claim without a legal background, and the most important first step in your preparations is to calculate the value of your claim. There are two primary types of damages to claim:
- Property Damage: You can determine the damage to your vehicle with repair estimates from mechanics, receipts for enchancements to the car, or by looking up the value on the internet. When you file a claim for the value of your damaged property, document the amount you are claiming with invoices or assessments supporting your case.
- Bodily Injury: In contrast, the claim value for a bodily injury auto insurance claim may be a little harder to establish. While you can use bills for doctor visits, prescription medication, and other medical services to get actual damages, money for pain and suffering is difficult to calculate. If you are injured in an accident, save bills for any costs associated with your medical treatment, keep track of any money you lose because you are unable to work, and record any changes in your life that occur as a result of the injury. Document everything! Before you file the claim, follow this guideline for settling an injury claim. Make sure you are an informed claimant.
Be wary if your insurance company tries to settle your claim as quickly as possible! Statistics have shown that early settlements save a company millions in auto insurance claims! Don’t sign anything just because an auto insurance claim check worth thousands is being shoved in front of you. Take time to prepare and analyze the value of your claim so you will know if and when an inadequate settlement offer is being handed to you.