Back pain is one of the most common complaints made by car accident victims. The back can suffer many different types of injuries in a car crash, from a pinched nerve to a severed spinal cord. If your neck, back or spine is injured in a car accident, you can experience several painful and debilitating symptoms. If you experience back pain after a car accident in Albuquerque, take the following steps to protect your legal rights.
Don’t Make Assumptions
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it is important not to make any assumptions about your injuries or discuss them with others. Don’t talk to the other driver, the police or a car insurance company about back pain until you’ve seen a doctor and understand the source of the pain. If you speak too soon, this could hurt your ability to recover fair financial compensation for the full extent of your injuries and medical expenses.
If your adrenaline from the car accident is masking the symptoms of a serious back injury, for example, and you tell an insurance company that you feel fine or only have a minor injury, the insurance company can use these statements against you later to devalue your claim. Do not make guesses about the type or extent of your back injury, comment about pre-existing back pain or conditions, or accept fault for your injuries.
Get Checked by a Doctor
If you notice back pain after a car accident, try to restrict your movements until you’ve seen a doctor. The spinal cord is sensitive. If you have a minor back injury, it could turn into something much more serious if you move or twist your spine the wrong way. Paramedics will immobilize your spine first to prevent further injury, then take you to a hospital for treatment.
Even if you think back pain after a car accident is from an existing injury or condition, such as degenerative disk disease, go to a doctor or hospital immediately. A doctor can verify whether you have suffered a new injury or exacerbated an existing condition. In these cases, you may be eligible for financial compensation from an insurance company. If you wait to go to a hospital, however, this could give an insurer a reason to deny your claim or reduce the payout.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
If your doctor gives you a treatment plan for a back injury, follow the instructions exactly. Skipping any doctor’s appointments or not taking medications can result in the rejection of your insurance claim. Common remedies to manage back pain include rest, ice, heat, painkillers, massage, physical therapy and gentle exercise. Keep copies of all of your medical records and bills to use during your car insurance claim.
Report Your Injuries to a Car Insurance Provider
You should call your own car insurance company right away after an accident to report the crash. Then, if you believe that the other driver is at fault, call his or her car insurance company to file a claim next. You may be entitled to insurance benefits for the full cost of your current and future medical bills for a back injury, as well as other related losses, such as lost wages from being unable to work.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Albuquerque
During conversations with an insurance claims adjuster (the person assigned to process your claim), do not admit fault or agree to give a recorded statement. Do not rush into a settlement or accept the very first offer, either. Car insurance companies are known for devaluing claims and trying to take advantage of claimants. Your car accident and back injury may be worth more than an insurer initially offers. Before accepting a settlement, contact an Albuquerque car accident lawyer who has experience with back injury cases. A lawyer can help you protect your rights.