Sciatica might be the culprit if you experience pain, muscle weakness, or numbness in your lower back after a car accident. According to Mayo Clinic, sciatica is a “pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, branching from the lower back through the hips and glutes and down each leg.
After suffering a sciatic injury from a car accident, it’s possible to recover compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. This compensation will help cover accident damages like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. In addition, if your injury leaves you permanently disabled, you can also seek recovery for future lost earning potential.
Car accident injury cases, including back pain, require the injury victim to prove causation. That means you need evidence to show the accident caused your injuries. Sometimes insurance companies try to assert that back injuries are “old injuries” or pre-existing conditions. However, sciatica nerve damage often results from a new injury caused by a motor vehicle accident. For example, we often see herniated discs or bulging discs with sciatica from a car accident.
Moreover, even if the injured victim had a pre-existing condition, the at-fault driver is still liable if the accident exacerbated that injury. In many cases, a car crash aggravates or triggers activations of a previously asymptomatic injury.
What Is A Sciatic Injury Damage From a Car Accident?
Sciatica nerve damage or sciatic injury results from compressing, pinching, irritating, or inflaming the sciatic nerve. Many older people with limited mobility experience sciatica. However, the trauma of auto-vehicle collisions can cause the sciatic nerve to become damaged as well.
Then, the injury victim experiences pain in the sciatic nerve path, which runs from the lower back through the glutes and down to the legs and feet. Sciatic usually affects one side of the body. The resulting main can range from mild to severe. In some cases, the collision can cause sciatica and even damage the surrounding connective tissue.
Can a Car Accident Cause Sciatic Injury?
Yes. Car accidents can and often do cause sciatic pain. Furthermore, a car crash can cause a new back injury, such as a herniated disc, which will cause sciatica. The herniated disc can pinch or press a nerve, causing back pain.
The trauma of a collision can also reactivate an existing condition. For example, if a person has a degenerative disc disease, a car crash could trigger their pre-existing condition’s traumatic activation. Even if they were asymptomatic before the crash, sometimes the collision is bad enough to aggravate the condition. For example, the injury victim will experience pain if the sciatic nerve is affected.
Sciatic injuries can also result from a crash with a broken or fractured bone injury. In such a case, a bone fragment can damage or irritate the sciatic nerve. This will also result in the injury victim experiencing back pain in addition to the pain from the broken bone.
So, the bottom line is that car accidents can cause sciatic injury, regardless of whether or not a person has a history of back injuries. However, insurance companies will try to fight claims for sciatica if the injured person has a pre-existing condition. That means it will be more challenging to prove that your pain and suffering result from the accident and not from a previous injury.
Pain and Suffering Compensation After A Sciatic Injury
Injury victims who suffer sciatica nerve damage from a car accident can seek recovery for several types of damage. One of those damages is pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages are any physical and emotional discomfort and distress the victim experienced due to the car crash. It also includes any inconvenience, anguish, or emotional trauma that the injury victim experienced as a result of the car crash.
To file a claim for damages, you must be able to prove that the at-fault party was negligent and caused the accident. You must also prove that the accident is the direct cause of your back injury.
Under Colorado law, any person who sustained a personal injury or serious bodily injury in a car accident is entitled to claim for pain and suffering damages. Other damages injury victims can seek to recover are medical bills, wage losses, repair costs, and more.
What Is the Average Settlement for Sciatica Nerve Damage After a Colorado Car Accident?
There is no fixed value for a sciatic injury settlement. That’s because every accident case is unique and different. Therefore, your Denver car accident lawyer can assess your case and help you determine a fair value for your sciatic injury claim. Some factors you should consider when determining the value of your sciatic injury claim include the following:
- The nature and extent of your injury
- The nature and extent of any impairment due to the injury
- Whether or not your injury caused permanent disability
- The amount of treatment you required due to injury
- The cost of your medical bills
- How much work you missed due to injuries
- The at-fault driver’s liability insurance limits, or if the other driver was adequately insured
Choosing an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can also distinguish between a good and bad case outcome. Insurance companies know when they deal with serious attorneys who will go to trial if needed. Rather than settling short or letting insurance companies give unfair settlement offers, more experienced attorneys usually settle cases with better outcomes and higher settlements. That’s why choosing your attorney wisely is crucial – you need an attorney with a proven record of success and a good reputation.
When to Seek Medical Assistance for a Sciatic Injury
Car accident victims with sciatic injury often experience the following symptoms:
- Sharp pain radiating from the lower back down to the butt, legs, and feet, making it hard or impossible to walk
- Numbness in the lower back, glutes, legs, and feet
- Feeling pins and needles in those areas
- Burning sensation in the leg, which is usually worse when sitting
- Foot drop (the inability to bend the foot upward)
- Restriction or loss of movement
- Constant pain in one side of the buttock or leg (usually occurs unilaterally)
If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a couple of weeks, you should make an appointment to see your doctor or primary care physician. They can do the proper testing and diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan.
These symptoms can dramatically affect your everyday life and cause frustration if it limits your mobility. Sadly, that can lead to a decreased quality of life for the injury victim and their family or loved ones.
What Do I Need to Tell My Doctor About the Car Accident?
If you are speaking to your doctor because you experienced any of the above symptoms, you will need to share details about how your injury started. You should share as much detail with your doctor as possible. They might want to know when your symptoms started, where the pain is located, if it happens more during certain activities or times of day, and more.
It’s also good to tell your doctor about the car accident. That might help them make a proper diagnosis. For example, you might want to share these facts with your doctor:
- The date of the accident (how long ago)
- Where were you in the car (driver, passenger, front, back?)
- What was the type and severity of the accident?
- And what happened right after the accident?
The court could subpoena your doctor’s medical records if your claim goes to trial. Therefore, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible following the accident and disclose all details. It can be bad for your claim if you fail to tell your doctor about the car accident during the initial appointments.
Typical Testing and Treatment for Sciatica Injury after a Car Accident
If your doctor thinks you have sciatica, they might refer you to a specialist and order an X-ray, MRI, or EMG.
Treatment for sciatica usually includes rest, physical therapy, spinal injections, and medication for any pain and inflammation. On rare occasions, the injury victim might require surgery for extreme pain, injuries that continually worsen, or those that don’t respond to treatment.
Get the Most Out of Your Colorado Personal Injury Claim
Car accident injuries can affect people for days or even years. From aches and pains to lost work and reduced quality of life, it can tremendously impact the victim and their family. That’s why getting prompt and appropriate medical treatment for injuries is paramount.
Delaying medical treatment can further complicate an already challenging process of dealing with insurance companies. On top of that, the injured person will experience physical, mental, financial, and emotional strain from their injuries.
Having a trustworthy and competent attorney on your side can make all the difference in the claims process. They can walk you through the confusing legal process and help ensure you get full compensation for your losses. If you wish to file an injury claim, you have a time limit. A legal professional will help make sure you file your claim on time.
If you experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) after the accident, your attorney can also help you claim for those damages. Symptoms of PTSD look like this:
- On-going or a generalized sense of uneasiness
- Anxiety around cars or riding in cars
- Excessive fear of or avoiding medical testing and procedures
- Irritability, anger, and worry more than before the accident
- Nightmares about the accident or trouble sleeping
- Feeling disconnected from others and not wanting to participate in events
- Invasive memories about the accident that you cannot control
You might benefit from seeing a mental health professional if you suffer from any of these symptoms.
Contact a Denver Car Accident Attorney Today
Back pain is one of the most common injuries after a car accident. It can be debilitating and annoying if it interferes with your life and work. Furthermore, back pain might allude to something more serious than sciatica, like a spinal cord injury, so get medical treatment right after the accident.
Strong legal representation can make all the difference in your compensation. A knowledgeable attorney can help ensure you get all necessary documents and paperwork, file a claim on time, document the totality of your injuries, and show how they’ve affected your life.
That way, you can focus on healing and recovering from the unexpected injuries and chaos after the accident.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation.