Common Back Injuries from Auto Accidents

Automobile accidents are hectic and stressful. Your schedule is disrupted, your car may be disabled, you might have injuries, and you are instantly thrown from your bubble and into the center of attention. Strangers may come to your assistance to make sure you are alright, police officers, EMTs, friends, family, and of course your insurance adjuster. The first question nearly everyone will ask is “are you injured?” This is a normal question to ask, especially for onlookers and loved ones, but the insurance adjuster is looking for a “no” response and a declining of medical treatment. This is not because he hopes you are ok, but because he knows that in many instances, you might not feel any symptoms of your injury right away. This is often the case with back injuries.

Back injuries are very common in auto accidents because of the violent and sudden movements that are involved. Even with your seatbelt on, your body is not entirely fastened to the seat. When you are in an accident, your back and spinal cord experience the same violent movements that the car does. The spinal cord is only made to twist so far, and the maximum radius usually requires some stretching and slow movements first. The neck and back can flex and extend like any other muscles, but it is not made to do so at high rates of speed. As such, damage usually occurs.

However, during an accident, the adrenaline is rushing and the pain and symptoms of your injuries might not appear for several weeks or months. This is why insurance adjusters want to ask early. They hope that they can get you to admit that you are uninjured and then wrap up the case with a release prior to any pain appearing. Or they want you to feel confident that you are alright so you avoid medical treatment immediately and let time go by until you finally seek treatment allowing them to question if the pain is actually from the accident at all.

If you have been in an accident which cause your head, neck, or back was jolted, twisted or jerked in any way, it is advised to have a doctor check for injuries right away. Even if you do not feel pain immediately, your only response to the question should be to say that you are having your doctor review you. Following are a list of common back injuries that occur during an auto accident.


Whiplash1 occurs when your neck is rapidly thrust backwards and then immediately forward. The pain and symptom from whiplash can take a couple weeks to a couple months to be known. Common issues include the neck, upper back, lower back, and shoulder pain.

Herniated and bulging discs

There are 23 disks located between the vertebrae. When you suffer trauma to the back, one or more of the disks can become herniated or bulged. Disk herniation2 occurs when a disk breaks open and part of the inner cartilage protrudes outward. Disk bulging happens when the damage pushes or squeezes a disk out of its natural position between the vertebrae.

Soft tissue bruising and tearing

During a collision, any number of soft tissue ligaments, tendons, and muscles surrounding the vertebra can violently stretch or tear. When this type of back injury occurs, it affects thousands of nerve endings, resulting in mild to excruciating pain.

Compression fractures

The trauma brought on from the force of impact causes the front (anterior) part of the vertebra and spine to compress downward. The vertebrae fractures as it compresses.

Axial bursts

The impact’s force causes multiple vertebrae in the cervical and lumbar regions to disintegrate. The result is sometimes a loss of mass in the ends of the cervical and lumbar region of the vertebrae.

Flexion-distraction fractures

Flexion-distraction fractures occur most often in head-on crashes when occupants are wearing seatbelts. At the point of impact, the upper vertebrae and spinal cord bend violently forward. Because the seatbelt firmly holds the lower back and pelvis, it acts as an anchor. The upper body’s violent movement, even with the seatbelt, exerts so much pressure on the upper back that the vertebrae fractures.

Transverse process fractures

In a collision, an occupant’s vertebrae and spine can pitch forward, backward, and side to side. The vertebrae and spine can twist well past their natural radius, resulting in a transverse (crosswise) fracture.

Dislocation fractures

Dislocated fractures are among the most common back injuries resulting from vehicle collisions. When one or more vertebrae fracture, soft tissue from other areas around the disk moves into the damaged area.


The New Port Richey, Florida back injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group have extensive experience with auto accidents causing back pain. You do not want to ignore symptoms and have to deal the ever-increasing pain. We can help you identify the potential current and future issues that were caused by your accident and fight to ensure that you are fully compensation for all of your injuries. Call today at 727-853-6275 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275