Car crashes frequently inflict back and spine injuries that range from whiplash to herniated discs and paralysis. Lumbar strains, which occur when the muscles and tendons of the lower back twist suddenly and violently, are among the most commonly diagnosed conditions in victims of traffic accidents.
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A lumbar strain can be mild or severe, causing symptoms that include stiffness, pain with movement, pain to the touch and swelling. While symptoms persist, the person suffering from the lumbar strain may find it difficult to stand, walk, sit for long periods and bend at the waist—all of which are required to perform everyday activities like cook, clean, bathe, dress and work. A lumbar strain can even make sleeping a struggle.
Most back muscle and tendon injuries do not require surgical repair, though persistent swelling may cause nerve impingement that will respond to a surgical intervention. The normal course of treatment for lumbar strains progresses from rest, light exercise and anti-inflammatory medications to physical therapy and prescription painkillers.
The time needed to recover full range of motion and previous muscle strength, as well as to live pain-free, varies depending on the severity of the strain and a host of other factors unique to the individual. Some people’s lower backs never stop giving them trouble following a car crash.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I know from speaking with our car accident clients that lumbar sprains can be as debilitating as any back and spine injury. Hearing those individuals describe their situations should convince anyone that their injuries make them eligible to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering from the driver who caused the car crash.
Insurance claims adjusters, of course, disagree. People can damage the muscles and tendons of their lower backs in many ways, including lifting heavy objects, tripping, and falling. In truth, most people will suffer at least a mild lumbar strain at some point in their life, which leads insurance reps to argue that any lower back injury in a car crash is actually a preexisting condition that had nothing to do with the wreck.
Countering an effort to deny or minimize an insurance claim due a preexisting condition requires presenting evidence that the car accident inflicted a new injury or exacerbated a previously manageable health problem to the degree that it became debilitating and disabling. Such evidence comes from medical specialists and physical therapists, as well as from friends. family members and coworkers who can testify on the car crash victim’s health before and after the wreck.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.