Although most people have not heard of facet joint syndrome, it is a debilitating medical condition that can cause severe pain after a car accident. Facet joints are tiny joints between the vertebrae, or bones, in your spine. Without facet joints, you could not bend or twist, because facet joints make your back flexible.
Pain and swelling at the joint between two vertebrae in your back is facet joint syndrome, also called osteoarthritis. You might ask if it is possible to get arthritis from a car accident, and the answer is yes. If you suffer a back injury in a crash, arthritis can develop at the location of the damaged tissue. Trauma, such as a car accident, is one of the leading causes of facet joint syndrome.
Diagnosing Facet Joint Syndrome
Facet joint syndrome is tricky to diagnose because it involves joints, not nerves. With nerve damage, the pain will travel along a nerve root pattern, so your doctor can look at a chart and determine which nerve is causing you problems by the location of your pain. Facet joint pain, on the other hand, does not follow such organized patterns.
Because facet pain is in a joint, not a nerve, the brain has a hard time figuring out where the pain signal is coming from. Medical professionals call this situation “referred pain.”
Your pain might be in a general region of your neck or back, rather than in a pinpoint location. Your doctor may need to perform a physical examination, order imaging tests like X-rays or an MRI, and possibly inject a diagnostic block into the facet joint. Sometimes doctors misdiagnose facet joint syndrome as fibromyalgia or myofascial syndrome.
How Facet Joint Syndrome Can Impact Your Life
If you suffer a herniated disc, whiplash, or other neck or back injury in a car accident, the spine can sublux, or move out of joint. Subluxation irritates the joint capsule and leads to severe pain. Facet joint syndrome can make you miserable on a daily basis and keep you from enjoying ordinary tasks and getting a good night’s sleep, because:
- When all your muscles relax at night, the joints can grind together.
- Joint capsule irritation can increase when you either make a sudden movement or when you hold a position for a long time, like working on the computer or in the garden.
Who is Liable for Your Facet Joint Syndrome After a Crash
The person whose negligence caused the accident that led to your injuries is responsible for your damages. Sometimes more than one person is at fault in a crash. For example, one driver may have been speeding while another ran a red light. We can sort out whose negligence caused the injuries you suffered.
In a multi-car crash, it can be challenging to identify the liable party, but through investigation we may be able to find who was responsible. All drivers have a legal duty to drive safely and follow the rules of the road. If someone drove carelessly, for example, was filming a video while driving, this is negligence. If that negligence caused an accident that harmed you, the careless driver is at fault and is responsible for compensating you for your losses.
Damages for Facet Joint Syndrome from a Car Accident
Once we establish liability, we can pursue a damages claim, which may include:
This includes costs from the ambulance to the emergency room and all the way until you have completed the healing process. Some examples of medical costs are the emergency medical transportation, the emergency room, doctor fees, diagnostic blood work and imaging tests, medical treatment, hospital, surgery, prescription drugs, wheelchair, crutches, and physical therapy.
These are the wages and other income you missed because of the wreck, medical procedures, surgery, physical therapy, and recuperation.
Future Medical Expenses
If a doctor can say with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that you will need additional medical treatment in the future, these expenses are also recoverable.
Long-Term Care and Assistance
If your injuries render you unable to take care of yourself for an extended time, these expenses may be recoverable.
Pain and Suffering
You may be able to recover expenses to compensate you for having to undergo physical pain and emotional distress.
Loss of Consortium
Your spouse might have a loss of consortium claim for damage to your relationship because of the injury.
How to Get Legal Help for Facet Joint Syndrome After a Motor Vehicle Wreck
We can deal with the insurance company on your behalf. We will negotiate to get you a fair facet joint injury settlement. Do not sign anything, give a written or recorded statement, or agree to settle your claim without talking with us first.
At Max Meyers Law, we are dedicated entirely to helping people who have suffering harm in transportation-related events. If someone caused your injuries, please call us at 425-399-7000, so that we can give you a free consultation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you get compensation.