How To Claim Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident

Welcome to our guide on claiming compensation for a back injury after a car accident. If you have been injured because another road user breached their duty of care towards you, resulting in an accident, you could be entitled to claim. 

Guide to claiming compensation for back injury after car accident

Guide to claiming compensation for a back injury after a car accident

However, you may not be sure who was liable for the accident that caused your injuries. Our article will guide you through determining how someone else’s negligence could have caused your road accident. This will allow you to understand whether you have a valid claim. 

Claim For A Back Injury After A Car Accident

If the claim you hold is valid, you can start building up evidence to support your case. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of evidence you’ll need for the different damages you could be awarded. 

Furthermore, we’ll look at the various back injuries you could have suffered in different road traffic accidents. We’ll also examine how a pre-existing condition might be exacerbated by a car accident and whether this could be the basis of a claim.

If you feel ready to start your claim after reading our guide, an advisor from our team could connect you with an expert personal injury solicitor from our panel. See below for how you can get in touch with our team to get started.

Alternatively, please continue reading for further details on making a personal injury claim

Get In Touch With Our Team

You can speak to our team at any point whilst reading our guide. You can also get in touch if you’ve finished reading but still have more questions that you would like to ask. Why not get in touch on the details below?

  • Call us on 020 3870 4868
  • Request a call-back by filling out our form
  • Speak to an advisor 24/7 via live chat to the bottom right of this screen 

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Claiming Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident
  2. What Is A Back Injury After A Car Accident?
  3. Injuries To The Spinal Cord
  4. Lumbar Spinal Injuries
  5. Injuries To The Thoracic Spine
  6. Herniated Disc Or Slipped Disc Injuries
  7. Sciatica And Lower Back Pain
  8. Calculating Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident
  9. Aggravation Of A Pre-Existing Condition
  10. What Evidence Could Support My Claim?
  11. Time Limits To Claim For A Back Injury After A Car Accident
  12. I Suffered A Back Injury In A Car Accident, What Should I Do?
  13. Claiming Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident On A No Win No Fee Basis
  14. Useful Pages
  15. FAQs About Back Injuries After A Car Accident

Everything You Need To Know About Claiming Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident

If you have injured your back in a car accident, you might find that this has a severe impact on your quality of life. You may experience ongoing pain or discomfort, and your mobility may be reduced. 

However, in order to claim compensation, it is not enough to simply show that you were injured in a car accident. You also need to show that the accident came about because of another driver’s negligence.

Negligence is when someone who owed you a duty of care breached this duty, resulting in an accident that caused you to suffer either physical or psychological harm. Examples of road accidents caused by a breach of duty of care might include:

  • A lorry driver failing to check their mirrors when changing lanes on the motorway and colliding with another car. This could result in the driver suffering severe damage to their spinal cord, amongst other injuries.
  • A driver failing to signal when turning from the main road into a side road, causing a cyclist to become badly injured.
  • A motorcyclist failing to adhere to the speed limits, resulting in them knocking over a pedestrian and causing them to suffer a broken back.

In each example, the driver or motorcyclist owed a duty of care to the other road users and, by failing to adhere to the road rules, caused them to suffer physical harm. As a result, the injured road users could seek compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.

What is the duty of care for road users?

Every road user has a duty of care to one another to keep each other safe when navigating the road. This includes following the guidance set out in the Highway Code and ensuring you take all reasonable steps to ensure your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road.

All road users need to conduct themselves with the care and skill of the average motorist. Even if you are inexperienced or a newly qualified driver, there are no allowances made; the duty of care is the same for everyone.

What Is A Back Injury After A Car Accident?

A back injury could occur after many different kinds of accidents involving various types of road users. However, there are certain road users considered to be more at risk of being injured than others. For this reason, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists are referred to as “vulnerable road users”. 

According to the Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2020 Annual Report, the group of vulnerable road users accounted for over 777 road fatalities in 2019. In contrast, car occupants accounted for 624 fatalities. 

The graph below highlights how fatality rates in car accidents vary across different kinds of road users.  The figures come from the Department for Transport.

compensation for back injury after car accident statistics graph

Injuries To The Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is made up of different nerves and cells that transmit messages between the brain and body. It starts at the base of the skull and runs to the base of the spine. It’s protected by the vertebrae of the spine.

The spine is made up of different sections; these are the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine. Each section protects part of the spinal cord.

If the bones of the spine are damaged, it could result in an injury to the spinal cord. The impact of this type of injury could result in various severe permanent effects, such as paralysis. This could occur if the nerves in the spine are no longer able to send messages between the body and brain.

There are many ways someone could damage their spinal cord in a car accident. For instance, another driver could fail to keep a safe stopping distance between themselves and you. This could mean that they crash into the back of you, and the force of the impact could cause damage to the spine and spinal cord.

Lumbar Spinal Injuries

The lumbar is the lower part of the spine. It has many functions, including:

  • Stabilising and supporting the upper body
  • Helping with torso movement
  • Controlling leg movement and sensation
  • Protecting the lower part of the spinal cord

If this part of the spinal cord is injured, it could result in numerous problems that may be permanent and severe. For instance, you may experience paralysis of the lower half of the body if your lumbar vertebrae are damaged.

Injury to the lumbar spine can cause full or partial paralysis, and one or both sides of the body could be affected. The extent to which your spinal cord is damaged will determine how severe your symptoms are.

This could happen in cases where a pedestrian has been crossing the road and has been hit by a car. If they were thrown to the ground with some force and fell on their lower spine, this could fracture the lumbar vertebrae and damage the spinal cord.

Injuries To The Thoracic Spine

The thoracic spine is the longest section of the spine. It has many roles and runs from the base of the neck to the abdomen.

In addition to protecting the spinal cord, the thoracic spine helps to keep the rib cage in place, which is there to protect the lungs and heart. It also provides support to the neck and allows it to move.

Due to the various functions of this part of the spine, there are many complications that could arise if it were damaged. For instance, you might experience a Chance fracture as the result of a car accident. This kind of accident is also sometimes referred to as a “seatbelt fracture” because it can occur in someone who is wearing a lap seatbelt with no shoulder strap.

Injuries of this nature could cause damage to the spinal cord, as well as the organs in the abdomen. Furthermore, if someone suffers a Chance fracture and this is not spotted or treated, it could increase the likelihood of rounding of the spine. This could cause pain or deformity.

Herniated Disc Or Slipped Disc Injuries

A car accident could cause back pain if it results in a slipped disc. A slipped or herniated disc is where the cushion of tissue between your vertebrae pushes out. If it presses against the nerves in the spine, this could cause a great deal of pain.

According to the NHS, it could also cause the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or a “pins and needles” sensation in your back, shoulders, arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Neck pain
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Pain in the lower back or other areas such as the hips or legs

You may experience a slipped disc if another car tries to change lanes unsafely and without indicating. This could cause them to collide with the side of your vehicle. The resulting impact could cause a herniated disc.

Sciatica And Lower Back Pain

If you’ve suffered damage to the sciatic nerve, it could cause lower back pain or pain that travels from your lower back down your thighs. This is called sciatica.

The NHS states that sciatica could cause the following symptoms:

  • Stabbing pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Loss of control over bladder and bowels

You might experience some pain in your back. However, damage to the sciatic nerve is usually more likely to cause pain in the legs and feet.

Sciatica can occur as the result of spondylolisthesis, which is where the vertebrae move out of position. This could occur if, for example, you’re a cyclist who is knocked from your bike by a negligent driver. The resulting forceful impact with the ground could result in the vertebrae moving out of place.

Calculating Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident

When you claim compensation for a back injury after a car accident, there are two types of damages your compensation could consist of:

  • General damages- These will cover you for your injury itself and the impact it’s had on you. The amount you receive will depend on the severity of the injury, the amount of pain it has caused and the effect it’s had on your quality of life. You’ll be invited to a medical assessment with an independent expert to help the courts value the general damages head of your claim.
  • Special damages- These will cover you for any monetary losses you may have incurred. For instance, you may have experienced a loss of earnings because you took time off work. Alternatively, you might have medical bills if you have needed treatment that you couldn’t get for free on the NHS. You will need to provide evidence as to the special damages you have incurred.

Due to the varying nature of each case, the compensation award will look different. However, we have created a table that outlines example figures that you could receive for certain back injuries. This table relates to general damages only and does not take into account the value of any special damages.

These compensation brackets come from a document called the Judicial College Guidelines that are based on past awards that have been made for similar injuries. For that reason, the amounts may vary, and you should only use them as a guide.

Type of back injurySeverityFurther descriptionAward
BackSevere(i) Injuries such as spinal cord or nerve root damage resulting in unusually serious symptoms such as severe pain and disability. £85,470 to £151,070
BackSevere(ii) Injuries such as damage to the nerve root alongside other symptoms such as sensation loss.£69,600 to £82,980
BackSevere(iii) Fractures, disc lesions or soft tissue injuries that lead to chronic conditions resulting in ongoing pain and other symptoms.£36,390 to £65,440
BackModerate(i) Injuries might include compression or crush fractures of the lumbar bones that cause ongoing pain and discomfort.£26,050 to £36,390
BackModerate(ii) Injuries that have made a pre-existing condition worse.£11,730 to £26,050
BackMinor(ii) Injuries that don't require surgery and fully recover within two years.£2,300 to £7,410
BackMinor(iii) Injuries that fully recover within three months.Up to £2,300

Please speak to a member of our team on the number above for further guidance on how much compensation you could be owed.

Aggravation Of A Pre-Existing Condition

A chronic pain condition such as a back, neck or shoulder injury could be made worse by a car accident. You may think that because you were already suffering before the accident, you would not be able to claim. However, if you have a pre-existing condition that is made worse by the accident, you may still be entitled to claim compensation.

The “eggshell rule” means that it will not go against you if you have a condition that means you were injured in an accident because of a pre-existing condition. It doesn’t matter if you were already suffering from pain and discomfort before the accident happened; as long as you can prove that you are experiencing further suffering that you would not have experienced if the accident hadn’t occurred, you may be able to claim.

When you claim compensation for the exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, you will only be compensated for the additional pain caused by the accident. You won’t be compensated for the entirety of your pain and suffering, only the portion of it caused by the accident.

For more information on how you could claim compensation for a back injury after a car accident when you have a pre-existing condition, why not speak to our team today? One of our advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice.

What Evidence Could Support My Claim?

When claiming compensation, you will need evidence to build a strong case. For a road traffic accident, this might include the following to prove the accident was caused by the negligence of another road user:

  • Dashcam footage
  • Traffic camera footage
  • Police reports, depending on the seriousness of the accident
  • The details of witnesses who could provide statements down the line. However, you may still be able to claim if there was no witness who saw what happened.
  • Insurance company reports. You may still be able to claim if the other driver was uninsured; however, this would need to be done through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Additionally, if you’re claiming special damages, you will need to provide:

  • Payslips to prove any loss of earnings, pension or attendance bonus
  • Receipts or invoices that could prove money spent on home adjustments, medical treatment, care or travel costs

For more information on the evidence that could be used to support your claim, get in touch with an advisor by calling the number at the top of the page.

Time Limits To Claim For A Back Injury After A Car Accident

The personal injury claims time limit to start a claim for compensation is generally three years. The three years could start from the date of the accident or the date you obtained knowledge that the accident that caused your injuries resulted from negligence. The latter is called the “date of knowledge”. However, there are some exceptions to this time limit.

In the case of under 18-year-olds, the three-year time limit won’t start until the date of their 18th birthday. Before this, however, someone over the age of 18 could sue on their behalf by applying to act as a litigation friend. A litigation friend could also claim in cases where the claimant lacks the mental capacity to represent themselves.

In these cases where a litigation friend can claim on behalf of someone, the three-year time limit is suspended. If someone lacks the mental capacity to claim, the time limit is suspended unless the person regains their mental capacity.

Due to the various exceptions to the time limit, if you have any questions, you can speak to our team on the number above, and they’ll be happy to help.

I Suffered A Back Injury In A Car Accident, What Should I Do?

The first thing you should do if you’ve been injured in a car accident is to seek medical attention. This will ensure that you get the treatment you need for your injuries. The medical record from this could also strengthen your claim later on.

You should also collect evidence of the circumstances of the accident to show that you were not at fault. For instance, you may take photographs of the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles.

You may also want to seek legal representation from a solicitor who can help you gather evidence to support your claim. It’s not a legal requirement for you to do so, but you may find that doing so helps the process run more smoothly. It could also help you get more money than you otherwise would.

Claiming Compensation For A Back Injury After A Car Accident On A No Win No Fee Basis

You may want to seek legal representation to help you in your claim, but be worried about the upfront or ongoing legal fees that are often associated with doing so. If so, a No Win No Fee agreement could help.

This is a contract between you and your solicitor that states what conditions need to be met before your solicitor requests payment. It essentially means you won’t pay solicitor fees provided your solicitor is unsuccessful with your claim.

If they are successful, a small fee will be deducted from your compensation package. However, this will be capped by law, and the value of the success fee will be set out before your claim starts.

If you’re considering this type of agreement, you can speak to one of our advisors for further details. They can assess your claim and, if they feel it has validity, can appoint a road traffic accident solicitor from our panel to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.

Our advisors are available 24/7, so even if you just have questions you need answering, you can get in touch using the following details:

  • Call us on 020 3870 4868
  • Request a call-back by filling out our form
  • Speak to an advisor 24/7 via live chat below

Useful Pages

For any medical advice, see the NHS website for guidance on various conditions, including a back injury.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has some useful information on road safety.

Think! provides further guidance to road users on how to stay safe on the roads.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident without insurance, see what steps you could take in our guide.

Are you a pedestrian who was hit by a car? If so, our guide could help.

Did you suffer whiplash in a road traffic accident? If so, see our guide for further information on the compensation you could claim.

FAQs About Back Injuries After A Car Accident

The following section will look at answering some questions on back injuries following a car accident. 

How long does back pain last after a car accident?

This will depend on the severity of your injury. You should speak to your doctor about managing your pain following a back injury after a car accident.

How long does it take for your back to heal after a car accident?

The recovery time may differ depending on the type of back injury you’ve sustained. For instance, if you’ve suffered a simple fracture, it may be a shorter recovery than if you’ve suffered a crush injury to your vertebrae. Some injuries, like spinal cord damage, may leave you with permanent effects.

What is the average settlement for a spinal injury?

There is no average settlement amount as each claim for a spinal injury is unique. However, our table above may give you an idea of how much your claim could be worth.

Thank you for taking the time to read our guide about claiming compensation for a back injury after a car accident. 

Writer AC

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