Personal Injury

Did you develop sciatica after a car accident?

Compensation may be available for your medical bills and other costs

Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries to every part of the body, and one of the more common injuries is a type of nerve injury called sciatica. Depending on the extent of the damage, sciatica can cause significant pain and affect your mobility and quality of life. The financial impact can be high, and if someone else caused your injury, you shouldn’t have to pay.

That’s why you need the Texas car accident attorneys at Tracey Fox & Walters on your side. We have extensive experience representing people hurt in car wrecks, and we know how to deal with the insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a medical condition caused by damage to the sciatic nerve, which is the longest and thickest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and extends through the buttocks/gluteal area and down the legs, ending just below the knee. While true sciatic nerve damage (from a car accident or any other cause) is rare, the term “sciatica” can refer to any injury to the nerves in the lower back that causes pain along the path of the sciatic nerve, including irritation, inflammation, pinching, or compression.

How do I know if I have sciatica?

Sciatica causes a distinct type of pain or numbness along the path of the sciatic nerve. It usually affects one leg at a time, though it can affect both legs depending on the nature and location of the injury. Some of the symptoms include:

  • A tingling sensation that runs from the lower back and down the back of the leg.
  • Weakness or numbness along one leg, sometimes down to the foot.
  • Low back pain that radiates down the buttocks and one thigh.
  • Pain and difficulty sitting.

Some patients describe the pain as sharp, shooting, burning, or stabbing. Sciatica pain can be mild or severe, but it tends to be more severe in the leg than in the lower back.

Ultimately, the only way to know if you have sciatica is to see a doctor. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to get medical attention promptly after a car accident, even if your symptoms are delayed. Your doctor can order diagnostic tests such as X-rays to get to the source of the injury, diagnose what’s wrong, and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Understanding the types of sciatica

True sciatica can be either acute or chronic. Acute cases of sciatica can be healed in time, sometimes simply with pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication, although the recovery process may still take months. Chronic sciatica is more persistent and often more intense, and it may require physical therapy and medication to treat.

Complicating diagnosis further, not all cases of “sciatica” are true sciatica. Myofascial pain syndrome caused by a car accident can also present similarly to sciatica. Myofascial pain syndrome is a medical condition in which pressure on sensitive points in the muscles causes “referred” pain in seemingly unrelated parts of the body. One of the most common areas for this pain to be referred to is the gluteal area, leading to symptoms that closely resemble sciatica.

How can a car accident cause sciatica?

Because car accidents occur with the occupants of the vehicle in a seated position, the lower back often takes the brunt of the impact. The most common cause of sciatica from a car accident is a slipped, herniated, or ruptured disc – that is, damage to the gel-like structures between the vertebrae. These discs can pinch or compress the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica.

Another possibility is for a fracture (broken bone) in the lower back to cause a bone fragment to get loose and put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Other types of injuries to the lower back and leg region can cause swelling and inflammation, which again can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

People with certain pre-existing medical conditions, such as spinal stenosis (narrowing of the lower spinal canal) or prior back injuries, can be more vulnerable to sciatica pain after a car accident.

How much compensation can you get for sciatica after a car accident?

There is no single average recovery for sciatica pain after a car accident. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, your claim could be worth tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars. Some of the costs that should be included in a sciatica car accident settlement include:

  • Medical expenses, including pain medication, physical therapy, surgery, and any other past or future treatment for sciatica.
  • Lost income if your sciatica symptoms make it difficult or impossible to work.
  • Replacement services if your sciatica affects your ability to care for children or complete household tasks.
  • Pain and suffering, which can be substantial for chronic sciatica that will cause a great deal of pain over the course of your lifetime.
  • Property damage to your vehicle and other personal property.

Ultimately, only an attorney can investigate your claim and calculate the full value. That’s why you need to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.

How an attorney can help if you developed sciatica from a car accident

Dealing with an insurance company after a car accident is always difficult, and sciatica can pose significant legal challenges. Remember that while sciatica is commonly caused by car accidents, it can also be caused by aging or degenerative conditions. The insurance company may well argue that your sciatica was a result of a pre-existing condition and not related to the accident. Your attorney can investigate, find the medical records, hire experts if necessary, and prove that your medical condition was caused by the accident and should be compensated.

An attorney can calculate the full value of your claim and advocate for you throughout the process, both in negotiations with the insurance company and, if necessary, in court. Your attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf, keeping you informed every step of the way but taking care of the day-to-day while you focus on getting better.

The key is to act quickly before evidence disappears and important legal deadlines expire. The sooner you talk to an attorney after your car accident, the better. If you’re experiencing sciatica or any other injury after a car accident in Texas, contact us for a free, confidential consultation.