Back and Neck Injuries from Rear-end Collisions

Published on May 1st, 2019

Back and Neck Injuries from Rear-end Collisions Article by Thurswell LawWhile many people commonly refer to rear-end collisions as “fender-benders,” these crashes have the potential to cause serious injuries to motorists. When another vehicle suddenly slams into the back of your car, it can cause a serious jolt of your body. The impact can cause you to hit various parts of your body on the interior of the car, causing traumatic injuries. The seat belt and airbag, while providing protection, can also cause trauma to your body. It is important to realize that rear-end accidents can be serious and that you may have important legal rights after suffering injuries. Two of the more common injuries from rear-end collisions are back and neck injuries.

Back Injuries

Your back is made up of many different joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and the ever-important spinal cord. When your body twists or stretches in unusual ways, which is common in a rear-end crash, you can suffer damage to one or more parts of your back. Some common back injuries include:

These injuries often cause serious and ongoing pain and restricted movement, among other effects.


Whiplash is likely the injury most commonly associated with rear-end crashes. When a vehicle hits your car from behind, your head can jolt forward and snap back, similar to the motion of a cracking whip. Whiplash refers to the range of injuries that can result from this whipping motion, which include:

  • Muscle and tendon sprains
  • Ligament strains
  • Soft tissue tears

Whiplash injuries can result in pain, limited range of motion, severe headaches, and more.

Seeking Medical Attention

Most people believe it is normal to feel some degree of pain or stiffness in their neck or back after a traumatic event like a rear-end crash. This often means they will put off going to the emergency room for days or weeks after a crash, expecting the pain to resolve itself with time. Unfortunately, back and neck injuries often require treatment to heal and will only worsen without necessary treatment. The following are some complications that may develop if you ignore your back or neck injuries:

  • Post-traumatic osteoarthritis
  • Formation of scar tissue
  • Permanently lessened range of motion
  • Disc degeneration
  • Joint degeneration
  • Bone spurs

It is highly important for car accident victims to get a full medical evaluation after a rear-end crash (or any type of crash). An immediate evaluation can help ensure you receive a timely diagnosis, which is important for different reasons. An immediate diagnosis can make sure you start treatment for your injuries right away. This treatment can often help your injuries to heal faster, reduce your long-term expenses, and allow you to return to your normal life, hopefully without ongoing pain.

Furthermore, when you get a quick diagnosis, it can serve to prove that your injuries were the result of the crash and not a subsequent event. If you wait weeks after the accident to seek treatment, the other driver and their insurance company may claim you might have hurt your back or neck in another type of accident in the weeks you waited.

When you have medical records showing a doctor’s timely diagnosis following your crash, those records can serve as important evidence to prove the extent of your injuries and losses, as well as the treatment prescribed.

The Effects of Neck and Back Injuries on Your Life

The neck and back support much of the body, including your head and torso. Having a full range of motion in your neck and back is essential for many activities, and an injury can prevent you from working, caring for yourself, or even walking or standing. Many back and neck injuries are temporarily disabling until you undergo the necessary treatment.

Treatment will vary depending on the type of injury, the location of the injury, and the severity of the injury. Some types of treatment you may receive includes:

  • Specialist appointments
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain relief medication
  • Medical equipment
  • Immobilization
  • Surgery

If the injury involved the spinal cord, the patient will often require hospitalization for monitoring and prevention of complications.

Whether you need a few doctor’s appointments, a course of physical therapy, or weeks in the hospital, it will result in many unexpected bills. The medical expenses can add up quickly, even for a seemingly minor injury.

As the bills pile up, you may also be unable to earn income while suffering from your injuries. A back or neck injury can prevent you from doing any physical activity or even sitting at a desk or behind the wheel of a vehicle for many hours. You do not have to have a physical labor job to miss work due to an injury. As your paychecks are on hold, your financial stress will only increase.

Who Is Liable for Your Back or Neck Injury and Losses?

To determine whether someone is liable for your injury-related losses, you must identify who caused the rear-end crash to happen. Typically, the rear driver is presumed to be responsible for causing a rear-end collision, as they likely were following too closely to be able to stop in time. Other causes involve distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, running red lights, failing to yield, and other dangerous driving behaviors. You may be able to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from your back or neck injuries.

Consult Our Michigan Car Accident Lawyers for More Information Today

After a rear-end collision, never write off your injuries as too minor to seek medical care or a legal evaluation. Instead, you should go to the emergency room or your doctor as soon as you can after a crash, and then discuss your options with an experienced rear-end accident attorney. Back and neck injuries can result in extensive losses, so please speak with our car accident attorneys at Thurswell Law about a possible case. Consultations are always free, and we can advise you whether you may have a valid claim. Call (248) 354-2222 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation right away.

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