Car Accident Neck Injuries
Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and are traumatic for the victims. With the increase in vehicles sharing the roads, the risk of being involved in a car accident is high. Thousands of people each year experience life-changing injuries in car accidents that can result in permanent damage, long-term complications, and costly medical treatment.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are suffering from a neck injury or ongoing neck pain, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your personal injury. You must hire an experienced auto accident attorney to ensure your case is handled by a professional.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been injured due to someone else's carelessness. We understand the laws that apply to these cases, and we know how to get our clients the maximum compensation possible.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay us unless we recover money for you. We offer a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Contact one of our car accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
Neck Injury Risk Factors and Statistics
All auto accidents have the potential to causeneck injuriesthat result in pain and suffering, and according to the United States Department of Transportation, 94% of car accidents are caused by human error and therefore are completely avoidable.
Data shows that there are over 800,000 cases of vehicle accidents in the United States each year that result in a neck injury. The cost of treatment for these neck injuries is as high as 5.2 billion dollars annually.
The trauma experienced in a car accident can cause significant damage to the neck and surrounding skeletal structures. However, some pre-existing conditions may increase the likelihood of sustaining an injury, including:
- A job that requires repetitive neck movement or strain
- Poor posture or workstations that are not ergonomically correct
- A history of neck arthritis
- Elderly patients with declining muscle strength and skeletal fragility
- Previous injury or trauma from a prior accident
What Happens to the Neck During a Car Accident?
The neck is a vulnerable structure that consists of neck bones in the spinal column, soft connective tissues, muscles, and ligaments.
During a collision, your neck is not well protected and may jerk back and forth or from side to side with the abrupt impact of the vehicles.
Additionally, the anticipation of the accident causes the muscles to become tense, which increases susceptibility to injury from the collision as relaxed muscles are less likely to suffer injury.
Common Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
The neck is the vital structure that supports the skull and protects the spinal cord. Injuries that affect these structures can cause ongoing chronic pain and, in some cases, life-changing permanent disability.
Whiplash Injury and Whiplash-Associated Disorders
The sudden back and forth motion of the neck during a car accident can cause damage to the tendons, torn ligaments, muscles, and nerves. This damage to the soft tissue is often referred to as whiplash.
Whiplash-associated disorders most frequently occur in a scenario where there has been a rear-end collision. It is not uncommon for severe pain and long-term headaches to persist for many years following the accident.
Neck Sprain, Muscle Strain, and Soft Tissue Damage
The soft tissue damage that can occur may cause muscle spasms, muscle strain or stiff muscles, neck stiffness, and neck pain that requires medical attention. Neck sprains and strains can cause a stiff neck and involve damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the neck. Car accident victims who suffer from a neck sprain or strain may experience delayed symptoms after the car wreck.
A common car accident neck injury is damage to the network of nerves in the cervical spine. A pinched nerve can cause pain and weakness or a sensation of numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and even fingers.
Pinched nerves can cause stiffness, pain, and muscle spasms and often require medical care and physical therapy to heal correctly.
A Slipped or Herniated Disc
A herniated disc is a serious injury that occurs when the cushion-like pads that sit between the vertebrae are forced out of position and enter the spinal column. When a disc herniates in the cervical spine and moves out of position, it has the potential to compress nerves that run from the spine.
Disc injuries from an auto collision are serious injuries and can result in spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis occurs when the disc protrudes into the spinal column, causing space narrowing and compression of nerves.
Spinal stenosis can be a severe injury resulting in permanent damage and a life-long spinal cord injury. Severe compression of the nerves in the spinal cord could result in bowel or bladder dysfunction. It is a traumatic injury, and the victim should seek medical attention immediately.
Common herniated disc symptoms include:
- Pain and numbness, usually on one side of the body
- Pain extending down your arms or legs
- Pain that worsens at night or when performing certain movements
- Pain worsening after standing or sitting for prolonged periods
- Pain when walking
- Muscle weakness in the arms or legs
- Abnormal sensations such as tingling, aching or burning in the affected area
Facet Joint Injuries in the Cervical Spine
The facet joints are small joints in the cervical spine that decrease friction between the vertebrae. Facet joints are commonly injured during a car accident due to the force that the spinal cord has to absorb during the collision.
Damage to the facet joints can result in chronic pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation. It is a common car accident neck injury.
Spinal Fracture After a Car Accident
A spinal neck fracture is a critically serious neck injury that can occur after a car accident. The cervical vertebra comprises seven bones that support the head and connect it to the body.
A fracture or break in one of these bones is commonly called a broken neck. A neck fracture is one of the most serious car crash injuries as it can result in temporary or permanent paralysis of the entire body from the neck down or even death.
Common symptoms of a neck fracture include extreme pain in the neck, back, or head, inability to walk or move the fingers and toes, and loss of sensation below the neck. This type of serious back or neck injury after a car accident needs to be treated with extreme care by a medical professional to avoid further damage, permanent paralysis, or death.
Vocal Cord Damage
The human body is complex, and the structures in the neck not only support the skull and protect the brain, but the neck is also the location of the larynx, otherwise known as the voice box. When a car crash results in a neck injury that damages the larynx, the car accident victim may have trouble breathing or speaking.
This neck injury can cause significant neck pain and may lead to vocal cord paralysis. Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the nerves in the neck that control the larynx are damaged or disrupted and can lead to permanent vocal paralysis if urgent medical care and early treatment are not provided.
Cuts and Lacerations Causing Soft Tissue Damage After a Car Accident
A common injury after a car accident is cuts and lacerations to the skin and connective tissues. During an auto accident, glass, debris, or other objects can fly through the air and may strike the neck.
These neck injuries caused by debris may only be small abrasions to the soft tissue, or they may be very serious deep lacerations that damage tendons and ligaments and result in significant blood loss. It is important to seek medical care for any cuts, bruises, or lacerations that are causing pain after a car crash.
Symptoms of Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
Pain after a car accident resulting from back and neck injuries is common. Symptoms of neck and accident injuries may be immediately obvious. However, they can also develop slowly at times and may take a few weeks to appear.
Symptoms of neck pain and neck injuries include:
- Being unable to move your neck freely from side to side
- Stiffness or a feeling that your head or neck is heavy
- Being unable to look up and down without neck pain
- Throbbing neck pain
- Dizziness, nausea, or vertigo
- Shooting pain in the neck or down the arms
- Tenderness at the back of your skull
- Muscle spasms in your neck area accompanied by neck pain
- Changes in sensations, such as numbness or tingling
- Neurological disturbances such as ringing in the ears or blurred vision
- Memory loss or other disturbances in cognitive functioning
If you are experiencing neck pain and injuries after a car accident, it is important to seek care and attention.
How Are Back and Neck Injuries Diagnosed?
Car accident injuries involving the neck need a professional and accurate diagnosis. After a car accident, you should be examined by a physician to assess any neck injuries that may have occurred during the collision.
The physician may order tests or scans such as a computed tomography (CT) scan, X-rays, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to check for soft tissue damage.
Treatment for Neck Injuries and Chronic Pain
The treatment required for a neck injury after a car accident will vary depending on the severity and type of injury sustained. Serious injuries like spinal fractures or disc herniations may require surgical interventions.
Whiplash-associated disorders or soft tissue damage injuries may require a neck brace and pain medication to reduce the discomfort associated with the injury. Long-term physical therapy will likely be needed to recover effectively.
How Do I Claim Compensation for My Injury?
If you or a loved one are experiencing neck pain after a car accident, you must contact a law firm to engage a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If the injured person does not have an attorney, the insurance company may attempt to settle the case well below the claim’s actual value.
Neck injuries have the potential to cause accident victims significant trauma and financial burden in medical bills and lost wages. By contacting an attorney and proceeding with a neck injury claim, you may be able to obtain compensation.
A neck injury claim may provide compensation that covers:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Is There a Time Limit on When I Can Claim Compensation?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years from the date of the crash. If you do not file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the crash, you will lose your right to compensation. For this reason, you must contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
What Steps Do I Take to Start the Process of Compensation?
If you or a loved one have suffered a neck injury in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC for immediate legal assistance. You must engage a professional personal injury lawyer to fight for a fair settlement and the compensation you deserve.
Our personal injury lawyers have many years of experience representing clients who have been injured due to someone else's carelessness. We understand the laws that apply to these cases, and we know how to get our clients the maximum compensation possible.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 for immediate legal help, and schedule a free case consultation to discuss your compensation case.
We accept all injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.