What Causes Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?

Learn the causes of crash-related back pain and what you can do to secure compensation

Lower back pain is a common injury symptom after a car accident in Maine, ranging from minor discomfort to debilitating agony. The injuries that cause back pain can have a significant impact on your well-being and the quality of your life. As such, seeking fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses with help from an experienced attorney is essential.

If you’re suffering from a back or spine injury after a car accident that was not your fault, it’s important that you understand your rights and get experienced legal representation. Based in Portland, Maine, our car accident lawyers at Romanow Law Group are ready to advocate for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Potential causes of lower back pain after a car accident

Lower back pain following a car accident can stem from many sources. Understanding these causes is important for effective diagnosis and management. If you’re experiencing low back pain, here are some common conditions that might be responsible:

Herniated or bulging discs

This condition, common in rear-end accidents, occurs when the cushion-like discs between the vertebrae rupture or bulge and put pressure on nearby nerves. The result is significant pain and discomfort in the lower back, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the extremities. Mobility issues, such as difficulty walking or standing, are also common.

Treatment for a herniated or bulging disc typically includes rest, physical therapy, medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, and possibly surgery for severe cases.

Spinal fractures

High-speed collisions can lead to spinal fractures. These are cracks or breaks in the vertebrae. Such fractures can twist or bend the spine unnaturally and cause acute pain and potentially severe complications.

Symptoms include severe pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the lower back and legs. In some cases, damage to the spinal cord can lead to paralysis or respiratory difficulties.

Muscle strain

Muscle strains in the lower back arise when muscles are overstretched or torn. This is often due to sudden, forceful movements during a collision. This injury manifests as pain, stiffness, and limited mobility in the affected area.

The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), physical therapy, and pain management are common treatments. Surgery may be necessary for severe tears.


Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated, often due to herniated discs or direct trauma from a collision. The condition often causes pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness that radiates from the lower back down through the legs.

Treatments include physical therapy and medications to relieve pain and inflammation. In serious cases, surgery may be required to alleviate nerve pressure.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis involves the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can compress the nerves within the spine. You may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the lower back and legs. Severe cases can also lead to bladder or bowel dysfunction.

Treatment often includes physical therapy, medications to manage symptoms, and potentially surgery to relieve nerve pressure.

How are back and spine injuries identified?

It’s critical to get prompt medical attention after a car accident, even if you’re not experiencing any back pain. Some injuries don’t produce back pain or other symptoms for several days. When you see a doctor, you can get a diagnosis and begin treatment before your injury worsens.

The process begins with a detailed medical history and physical examination. A doctor will inquire about the nature of your car accident, the onset of symptoms, and any previous back issues. They may also administer a physical exam to test your range of motion, strength, and reflexes in the lower back, legs, and feet.

To gain a clearer view of the internal structures of your lower back, your doctor may order X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. These imaging tests help identify fractures, herniated discs, and other abnormalities that cause back pain.

In some cases, diagnostic injections (such as nerve root blocks or facet joint injections) are used. These can help pinpoint the precise source of pain by temporarily relieving it in specific areas of the back.

Treatment is typically influenced by the type and severity of your injury, your overall health, and your response to initial treatments.

Can I seek compensation for a back or spine injury following a car accident?

In Maine, you can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company if their negligence led to your injury. To have a viable claim, you must prove that:

  • The other driver had a duty of care to uphold by driving safely and following all traffic rules.
  • The other driver breached their duty of care by driving distracted, speeding, driving drunk, or disobeying traffic rules.
  • Your crash and injuries must have been caused by the other driver’s negligence.
  • You must have sustained damages as a result of the other driver's negligence.

If you’re able to establish liability, you can file a car accident claim against the other driver’s insurance company. This allows you to seek compensation for:

  • Current and future medical expenses.
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings.
  • Rehabilitation and therapy expenses.
  • Costs associated with home modifications or accommodations for disabilities resulting from the accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

Before filing your claim, it’s best to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer who can walk you through the process and ensure that you don’t make any errors. An attorney can also investigate your car accident, determine the true value of your claim, and negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company for a fair settlement that covers your losses.

What challenges may I face when seeking compensation?

Seeking car accident compensation in Maine isn’t as cut-and-dry as it seems. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize compensation or deny claims outright. They may argue that your injuries are exaggerated or shift the blame onto you.

If they can’t achieve either, they may pressure you into accepting a quick, lowball settlement so they can close out your case before you understand the full extent of your losses. As such, it’s usually best to avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. Let a car accident attorney handle all communications with them instead so you don’t inadvertently admit fault or otherwise jeopardize your claim.

You can help minimize these challenges and maximize your compensation by following your doctors’ recommendations and your attorney’s legal advice. That means, don’t engage in any activities that could disprove your claim.

You can also help by obtaining photos of the crash scene, the police accident report, witness statements and contact information, and video footage (if available). Be sure to keep all medical bills, receipts, records, and prescriptions, as well as pay stubs and a journal documenting your pain and suffering.

How can a car accident lawyer help me?

Handling an insurance claim on your own can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re already dealing with lower back pain, medical costs, wage loss, and other complications. Hiring a car accident lawyer can make a night-and-day difference in the outcome of your case.

Best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything upfront. The attorneys at Romanow Law Group in Maine offer legal representation for personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

We’ll handle every aspect of your case, including:

  • Thoroughly investigating your car accident and compiling compelling evidence to bolster your claim.
  • Calculating all eligible damages meticulously to provide an accurate estimate of your compensation.
  • Engaging in negotiations with insurance companies skillfully to secure maximum compensation on your behalf.
  • Advocating for your rights in court and vigorously presenting your case if negotiations falter, seeking a favorable court award.

With a law office in Portland, we serve injured motorists and their families throughout Maine. We would be glad to listen to your concerns and provide honest answers to your questions during a free legal consultation. To learn how we can help, contact us online or call our Portland, Maine office.

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