A rear-end collision can quickly result in many neck and back injuries, from whiplash to a herniated disc. Whether you notice neck or back pain immediately or discover pain that seems to show up days after the accident, the actions you take can help protect your right to compensation and make it easier for you to make a full recovery.
What To Do If You Notice Neck or Back Pain Immediately
You hear the crash of metal, feel the jolt of the car moving abruptly forward. Even as you get out of the car after the accident to survey the damage and exchange insurance information with the other driver, you can tell that you have suffered a neck or back injury. What should you do next?
- Report the accident.
Immediately report the accident to the police. Wait at the scene of the accident for the police to arrive, unless an ambulance arrives first, and emergency medical professionals instruct you to leave the scene of the accident.
- Seek medical attention.
Do not allow neck or back pain to linger untreated or simply hope that it will go away in a few days. Pain indicates that something is wrong with your body because of the accident. Ignoring it could cause you to inadvertently worsen your injuries or delay needed treatment that could minimize further future pain.
- Follow any treatment recommendations given to you by the medical professionals involved in your treatment.
Many people feel tempted to ignore treatment recommendations, not because they feel they know better than their doctors, but because they want to get back to their normal activities as soon as possible. Unfortunately, pushing back to those activities early could cause you to worsen the injuries you may have sustained in your rear-end collision and leave you struggling to recover fully from the accident. Instead, follow all recommendations given to you by a medical care professional, from treatment recommendations about the procedures you may need to physical and occupational therapy. If your doctor recommends limiting certain activities, make sure that you do avoid those activities until you have a chance to heal.
- Contact an attorney.
If you suffered a neck or back injury in a rear-end collision, or if the collision made an existing injury worse, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. In a rear-end collision, the driver of the rear vehicle often bears liability. A lawyer can help you prove liability, establish the compensation you may deserve, and pursue compensation for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Do not contact the other driver’s insurance company before talking to a lawyer, since the insurance company may not provide you with all the information you need about compensation for your neck and back injuries–or may even try to pressure you to accept a settlement offer that does not fit the full needs related to your injuries.
If You Notice Neck or Back Pain Days (Or Later) After the Accident
Sometimes, you may think that the rear-end collision did not result in any injuries. You may have left the scene of the accident and gone about your day. Later, however, pain may have set in. Sometimes, neck and back pain emerges a few hours after the accident. Other times, you may not notice the pain for a few days, especially if you write it off to general soreness from the accident.
If you discover neck or back injuries, from herniated discs to whiplash problems, muscle strains, and more, you may still have the right to compensation for those injuries and the costs you experience in treating them. However, you may need to make sure you take the right steps to protect yourself.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
Many people try to wait out pain from an accident, especially if they consider it relatively minor. However, the longer you allow that pain to linger, the more serious it may become, especially if you inadvertently exacerbate those injuries. Instead, see a doctor. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy, stretching, or rest until your neck and/or back pain resolves. A doctor can also help document your injuries so that you have a record of when your symptoms began and what you did to treat them.
- Follow the instructions given to you by your medical care team.
If your doctor recommends that you rest while your neck and/or back pain resolves, take your doctor seriously and rest for a few days. Avoid heavy lifting if needed. If you need to call out of work, you should follow those instructions. Ignoring your care team not only makes it take longer to resolve your pain, but it may also make it difficult for you to prove that you have done everything in your power to resolve your symptoms and treat your injuries, which could make it more difficult to get the compensation you may deserve.
- Get in touch with a lawyer.
Because you did not get medical treatment immediately after a rear-end collision, it may prove more difficult to establish exactly when your injuries occurred. A lawyer can not only provide you with more information about your next steps, including how to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim, but he can also help you understand how much compensation you may deserve and even help gather the evidence you need to establish that right to compensation. If you have already begun negotiation with the insurance company over property damage, the lawyer can also help you establish your right to compensation for your injuries, too.
Dealing with the aftermath of a serious rear-end collision can prove devastating, especially if you have serious neck and back injuries–whether you received a diagnosis for those injuries immediately after the accident or not.
Contact Baumgartner Law Firm today to discuss your options following a rear-end collision that resulted in neck and back injuries, whether you noticed those injuries immediately after the accident or discovered them sometime later.