What Are Common Types of Back Injuries From Car Accidents?

April 5, 2024
Contact a Skilled Delaware County Car Accident Lawyer at Eckell Sparks for Legal Guidance

The force and impact of a car accident can subject the body to immense stress. Back injuries resulting from car accidents can range from minor strains to severe spinal cord damage, significantly impacting one’s quality of life. The back comprises a complex system of muscles, ligaments, vertebrae, and disks, so the injuries can be quite serious. Understanding the types of back injuries that can occur in car accidents is crucial for anyone who has experienced such trauma.  

Spinal Fractures

  • Compression fracture: This occurs when the vertebrae are crushed or fractured due to the accident’s impact. It can lead to severe pain, limited mobility, and potential nerve damage.
  • Burst fracture: This is a more severe form of compression fracture, where the vertebrae shatter into multiple pieces. This type of injury can result in spinal cord compression and neurological deficits.
  • Chance fracture: This happens when the spine is flexed forcefully forward and backward, often from the abrupt stop caused by a seat belt during a collision. This injury typically affects the thoracic or lumbar spine.

Herniated Disks

Disks in the spinal cord act as cushions between the vertebrae. In a car accident, the impact force can cause the disks to rupture or bulge. That can cause pain, numbness, tingling, weakness in the back, and radiating symptoms down the arms or legs. The symptoms depend on the location of the affected disk.


Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly and forcefully jerked backward and forward, commonly seen in rear-end collisions. While whiplash primarily affects the neck, it can also cause significant strain and damage to the muscles, ligaments, and disks in the upper back and shoulders.

How Do Car Accidents Cause Back Injuries?

Car accidents can subject the body to tremendous force and sudden movements. Here are common ways that crashes cause back injuries:

  • Rear-end collisions: These often cause whiplash injuries due to the rapid acceleration and deceleration forces exerted on the neck and upper back.
  • Side-impact collisions: Also known as T-bone or broadside collisions, these can lead to spinal fractures or herniated disks, particularly when the impact occurs on the side where the first vehicle is struck.
  • Rollover accidents: Rollovers can cause occupants to experience multiple impacts, increasing the likelihood of sustaining severe back injuries like spinal fractures or herniated disks.
  • Head-on collisions: Due to the high impact forces involved, these collisions can result in the most severe back injuries, including spinal fractures.

Vehicle speed, seat belt usage, seat position, and the presence of airbags can also influence the severity and type of back injury sustained in a car accident.

What Should I Do if I Suffered a Back Injury in a Car Accident?

Even if you do not feel immediate pain, it is best to undergo a medical evaluation to diagnose any underlying injuries, including those affecting the back. Take photos of the accident scene, your vehicle, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses and exchange insurance details with other parties involved.

Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan and attend all follow-up appointments – failure to do so could jeopardize your recovery and potential compensation claims. A knowledgeable attorney can assess your case, determine liability, and help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact a Skilled Delaware County Car Accident Lawyer at Eckell Sparks for Legal Guidance

If you have sustained a back injury in a car accident, contact an experienced Delaware County car accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Contact us online or call 610-565-3701 for a consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.