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How much can a back problem be made worse in a car accident?

If you are already suffering from a back problem, then being injured in a car accident could be bad news. The good news is that you may be able to make a personal injury claim, if somebody else caused your accident and your existing condition has been exacerbated by the accident. The amount of compensation you could be entitled to receive will depend on your existing back problem and to what degree it has been aggravated after your road traffic accident.

When you get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline to make a claim, we’ll liaise with medical professionals to obtain reports detailing your existing back problem, outlining how it has been made worse and what the prognosis is for the future – for example, will your worsened back problems get better, or will you be suffering from chronic pain for the rest of your life?

Can I claim compensation for an aggravated back problem?

The answer is yes, if you have been injured in an accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligence. The compensation you claim can cover a variety of different things too, not just your pain and suffering. You could be compensated for:

  • Loss of earnings, both now and in the future, if you’re unable to work due to your aggravated condition
  • The cost of medical treatment past and future – for example, treatment that isn’t available on the NHS, such as chiropractic appointments or acupuncture for pain
  • Prescription costs
  • Travel expenses to medical appointments

There’s a three-year time limit in place to claim compensation for any type of injury, so it is best to contact Accident Advice Helpline as soon as possible after your accident.

What causes lower back pain?

Although lower back pain is usually not caused by anything serious, it may be that you have an existing back problem or condition when you are involved in a road traffic accident. Conditions which can cause back pain include:

  • Ankylosing sponditis, where the joints in your spine swell
  • Spondyloisthesis, where the bone in your spine slips out of position
  • Sciatica
  • Slipped disc

You may have suffered a sprain or strain to your back in an accident several years ago which has never fully healed and is aggravated by your most recent accident. According to global study on back pain in 2014, lower back pain causes more disability than any other condition, affecting one in 10 people worldwide, so you are not alone. It seems that women are more likely than men to suffer from a back problem too, with almost one-third of adult females affected, compared to just one-quarter of men.

How to treat back pain

If your back problem has been made worse by a road traffic accident, you will be looking for ways to relieve pain and feel better, and here are a few things you can try:

  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • Stay active and continue with your daily activities, as too much rest can actually make the pain worse
  • Use hot or cold compression packs or a bag of frozen vegetables/a hot water bottle to ease pain
  • Taking part in gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, Pilates or yoga can help
  • Carrying out exercises and stretches for your back can also ease pain

If your pain worsens or does not improve within a few weeks of your accident then you should see your GP, who may refer you to a physiotherapist or specialist. They may recommend manual therapy with a chiropractor or osteopath, group exercise classes to improve your posture and muscle strength and psychological support, which can help you to deal with pain better. A study carried out by researchers from Imperial College London, The University of Aberdeen and Arthritis Research UK revealed that around 43% of adults in the UK are living with chronic pain, but you don’t have to suffer in silence. You could be entitled to compensation if your existing back problem has been made worse after a car accident caused by somebody else.

Have you taken time off work after your accident?

According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. It may be that you have needed to take time off after your road traffic accident for surgery, or maybe you now have to attend regular chiropractic or medical appointment which require you to take time off work. This can affect your earnings, but if you claim personal injury compensation, your lost earnings will be taken into account. Whether you have suffered a lumbar sprain or a muscle sprain (both can be equally painful and require the same treatment) or a more serious injury to your back that has exacerbated an existing back problem, you could get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline after your accident to find out if you are eligible to claim compensation.

What to do after your accident

If you are suffering from lower back pain or any other type of back pain that has suddenly become worse after your accident, it’s best to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer. Although you have three years to do this, in practice it’s wise to do it as soon as possible after your accident. You’ll be able to find out whether you have a viable personal injury claim, but, more importantly, you’ll also be able to get an idea of how much compensation you could be entitled to.

Accident Advice Helpline’s 30-second calculator (which you’ll find here, on our website) can give you a rough idea of what you may be able to claim, and you can always call us to chat to an advisor for confidential, no-obligation advice at any time. It’s free to call our helpline on 0800 689 5659. We have been helping members of the public claim compensation after accidents for over 16 years, and we have a great track record of success. What’s more, we don’t charge any upfront fees for doing so, and our lawyers work on a no win no fee basis. So you have nothing to lose by getting in touch with us after your accident.