Many car accident victims suffer some type of neck injury. While some of these injuries may not be that bad and heal in a few days or a week, some can be quite severe and affect people for weeks or months to come.
Below, we discuss the challenges of linking neck injuries to car crashes and some of the neck injuries commonly caused by auto accidents.
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Your neck is susceptible to a variety of injuries, particularly in a car crash, as victims’ bodies are jostled around violently. Depending on the severity of the crash, a victim may suffer a variety of neck injuries.
When a person’s head and neck quickly whip back and forth, he or she could suffer whiplash. This injury causes the muscles in the neck to become strained and may result in some tears or damage to ligaments.
A whiplash injury is generally considered minor, but it is important to seek treatment right away because if left untreated, the damage could easily get worse.
It is also important to note whiplash can cause pain in the shoulders and arms, not just the neck. The pain can be severe and debilitating. Besides pain, whiplash can result in various other symptoms like:
If you suffer an injury to a muscle, tendon or ligament it is known as a soft-tissue injury. One common example of a soft-tissue injury is tendinitis, or inflammation of a tendon. Another example is an inflamed bursa, also called bursitis. A bursa is a closed, fluid-filled sac that works to reduce friction between tissues in the body.
Despite what the insurance company may say, soft-tissue injuries can be quite severe. The problem is they may not show up on an X-ray or MRI, which can make these injuries difficult to prove. The severity of the injury is based on what the victims says about his or her symptoms, among other things.
These types of injuries occur when either the intervertebral disc in the cervical spine (neck) slip out of place or the soft jelly-like fluid in the disc leaks into the spinal canal and presses against the nerves or spinal cord. A herniated or slipped disc may require surgery in some extreme circumstances.
The pain from these injuries can be considerable, and cause limited mobility that makes it difficult to work and take part in activities the victim used to be able to take part in.
There are seven vertebrae in the human neck, and any one of them may break in a car crash. A fracture in your neck could significantly impact your spinal cord, so these types of neck injuries are often very serious. Victims may suffer paralysis in all four limbs, which can cause a variety of other problems.
The narrowing of the spinal canal is called spinal stenosis and it can occur in the lumbar (back) or cervical (neck) spine. Some cases may be more severe than others and could lead to paralysis due to the compression of the spinal cord.
You will need medical records explaining your injuries and symptoms. This usually includes things like MRI, X-ray or other diagnostic test results, along with notes from your doctor. If your injuries do not show up on an imaging scan, the notes from the doctor will be vital to the success of your claim.
However, the process may become much difficult if the insurance company tries to argue that you have a preexisting condition, your injury is not severe or there is no injury at all. While this may be a fair argument from an insurer, you may still be able to recover compensation. Even if you have a preexisting injury, it may have been aggravated by the crash. While proof of some neck injuries is subjective, it can still be enough to validate your claim.
You should keep in mind that most people already suffer from some type of neck pain and have likely already seen a doctor or chiropractor for it. If so, there is well-documented proof of your existing injuries. That should make it easier to show how the accident worsened your existing condition.
The other challenge of proving your injuries is you must prove the accident directly resulted in your neck injury. This could be difficult if you did not seek immediate medical attention after the accident. However, your treating doctor may be able to testify on your behalf that the injuries were caused by the crash.
Another important factor to consider is that you will likely need to provide some form of proof of the extent of your pain. Since pain is such a subjective issue, keeping an injury journal may be helpful to track your recovery.
Medical treatment is your top priority after suffering any type of injury. You may be able to recover the following medical treatment costs for a neck injury:
If you had to take time off work, lost your ability to perform your job or had to seek alternative employment due to your injuries, you may also be able to pursue compensation for:
Lastly, there may also be non-economic damages you can pursue compensation for, including physical pain and emotional suffering.
Neck injuries can often be devastating or life-altering for some victims. It is important that victims who suffer these injuries have someone on their side who is fully prepared to help them through the legal process.
Our attorneys have decades of experience helping victims of someone else’s negligence recover maximum compensation. We are prepared to help you, too, and there are no upfront costs for our services.
Call 916-777-7777 to schedule a free consultation.