You had a car accident and didn’t feel much pain at the scene. But in the days and weeks following the accident, your back begins to hurt. Is the back pain from the car wreck? Can a person have delayed onset of back pain from a car accident?
Yes, it’s common for victims of car accidents to have delayed injury-related pain after a car wreck. The back pain could be a severe injury and not realized at the time of the collision.
Even collisions resulting in minor damage to your vehicle can cause serious injury. We are all individuals and our bodies react differently to injury and pain. Some people may feel pain immediately, and others not.
How Long does it take for a Back Injury to Show Up?
The length of time a back injury causes an individual back pain varies based on the person and type of injury. Victims of car accidents are excited, and their adrenaline is flowing, masking pain.
Most people at the scene are concerned about superficial cuts and bruises; otherwise, they are happy they walked after the accident. It isn’t until they go home and try to relax that they begin to feel the pain caused by the wreck.
Often a person will wake up the next day stiff and sore in parts of their body that felt normal when they went to sleep. Even more often, the pain is not noticeable until days following an accident.
The time-lapse between the collision to the feeling of pain often happens in injuries to the spine. The gap in time is due to the complex nature of the spinal structure.
Sometime pain may not become evident for days or weeks after the wreck. The spine is the most frequent area affected in an auto collision, more specifically the back and neck.
How Long Does Back Pain Last After a Car Accident?
The severity of your injury determines the length of time back pain lasts. In most cases of muscle strains, soft tissue damage, and bruises should heal with six weeks of the accident.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducted a study of whiplash victims and found their rate of recovery from soft tissue injury to be within three months.
The length of time a person suffers back pain depends on the seriousness of the damage caused to the spine. Some people experience back pain a year or longer, even for the rest of their lives.
An MRI or CT scan of your spine will be able to determine the source of your back pain and help determine the length of time you could suffer in pain.
How do I Know if My Back Injury is Serious?
Most cases of back pain are the result of soft tissue damage often referred to as strains or sprains. Strains and sprains happen when a person’s muscle or ligaments tear or overstretch. These can resolve over time but should be examined by a physician.
Symptoms of back sprains or strains include tenderness, swelling, and muscle spasms. These can resolve with the passage of time, but it is prudent to schedule an examination with a physician.
However, the following symptoms are indicators that require you to see a physician:
- severe lower back pain
- bowel and bladder problems
- numbness, weakness, or loss of sensation in one or both legs
- difficulty walking tingling and numbness that radiates down the legs.
- prolonged back pain
The symptoms described above are indicative of a serious problem with the spinal structure, possibly a herniated disc pressing on a nerve root. It could also be vertebrae damage or ligament.
If you have any prolonged back pain schedule an appoint to see a spine specialist. It is best to see a doctor as early as possible for treatment to avoid any permanent damage.
Why does my Lower Back Hurt After a Car Accident?
Your lower back mostly likely is causing you pain because you suffered either a muscle sprain strain or have discogenic pain. Discogenic pain originates from damage to a vertebral disc.
The most common causes of discogenic pain are lumbar sprains, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, and degenerative spinal diseases.
Sprains in the lumbar region are the result of overstretching of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the back caused by trauma. Strains and sprains typically can’t be diagnosed by imaging and instead rely on doctor experience and patient consultation to determine the diagnosis.
Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the channel housing the spinal nerves and spinal cord. Spinal stenosis happens in the natural course of aging; however, it can be caused by trauma such as a car accident.
Trauma can rupture disc or bone fragment and invade the spinal canal space, applying pressure to the nerves or cord, resulting in pain.
The spine has a cushion-like disc between vertebrae, the vertebral disc is filled with a soft material. When the material protrudes out of the disc, it’s referred to as a disc herniation. The protruding material often contacts the surrounding nerves causing pain.
Degenerative Spinal Diseases
Degenerative disc disorders is a general term used to describe many different injuries and symptoms related to the break down of the spine or its parts as the body ages.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?
If you have been involved in a car accident, there is a time limit within which you must file a personal injury and property damage claim. Unfortunately, each state has its own time limit. So be sure to check the time limit in the state you had your accident.
If you were hurt because of another’s negligence, then you are entitled to receive compensation for your losses and pain and suffering.
Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in Louisiana
Louisiana has a brief window of time to file a personal injury claim, one year. Your legal claim for damages must be recorded in the court within one year of the date of the car wreck. The one-year limitation includes a claim for property damage as well. The time limit begins on the day of the crash.
The time limit to bring a suit is based on Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492, which states: “Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year. This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained.”
Article 3492 codifies that any lawsuit for injury or property damage must be filed within one year, which includes any claim for injury or vehicle damage by a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist after a traffic accident.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and sustained injury contact Sonja Bradley, in Hammond Louisiana, or Livingston Louisiana.