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Neck Injuries are a Common Consequence of Car Accidents

It is not uncommon, during car accidents, for an occupant’s neck to take the brunt of the impact, jerking forward and backward, or even side to side, which can cause serious injuries. Tensing up immediately prior to a crash can worsen these injuries, causing serious damage to the ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and bones in the neck. Motorists who sustain neck injuries could face ongoing problems with mobility and chronic pain, which can make it difficult to return to their pre-accident lives. Fortunately, it is possible for accident victims to recover compensation for their losses from the at-fault party who caused their injury. 

The Anatomy of the Neck 

The neck is a complex structure made up of seven small bones (cervical vertebrae) in the spine. Between these bones are cushion-like cervical discs that separate and support the vertebrae, as well as facet joints that connect the bones and allow the head to pivot. The type of blunt force trauma that often accompanies car accidents can wreak havoc on any of these areas of the neck. Because our cervical discs are basically shock absorbers, for instance, they are frequently damaged in car accidents. Similarly, facet joints, responsible for our necks’ range of motion, are vulnerable to whiplash and similar injuries in the event of impact. 

Neck Injury Symptoms 

The types of symptoms that someone suffers after sustaining a neck injury will depend on the type of injury in question, but most involve:

  • An inability to turn the neck from side-to-side;
  • Stiffness in the neck;
  • An inability to look up or down;
  • Tenderness and pain;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • A numbness or tingling in the arms;
  • Dizziness or nausea; and
  • Headaches. 

These symptoms don’t always show up immediately. In fact, it’s pretty common for car accident victims to experience injury-related neck pain many days, or even up to a week after the crash. 

Common Neck Injuries 

There are a lot of different ways that a person’s neck can be injured in an accident, but some of the most common injuries include:

  • Cervical spondylolisthesis, which occurs when the facet joints in the spine are damaged, which in turn allows the vertebrae to become unaligned, sliding forward over an adjacent bone and pressing on the spinal cord, causing pain and weakness;
  • Herniated discs, which occur when the discs that cushion the vertebrae slip, rupture, or bulge, result in significant pain, and are common in side-impact crashes;
  • Neck sprains, which occur when the ligaments, which connect the bones to each other, are torn and result in pain and reduced mobility;
  • Neck strains, which occur when the facet joints and tendons that connect the bones to the muscles are damaged, resulting in pain, reduced mobility, and muscle spasms;
  • Cervical fractures, in which one or more of the vertebrae in the neck break, leading to significant pain and an inability to move and, if the bone pierces the spinal cord, potential paralysis; and
  • Lacerations to the neck, which can cause bruising and bleeding, as well as damage to the tendons and ligaments.

The type of treatment that an accident victim requires will depend on the nature of the injury. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Neck Injuries 

A correct diagnosis is critical to an accident victim’s ability to obtain treatment. For neck injuries, this will require a physical exam, as well as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. Once diagnosed, a person can begin treatment, which could involve everything from icing and rest to surgical intervention. Many of those who suffer from neck injuries must use neck braces, take pain relievers, and attend physical therapy, while in more severe cases, a person could need rods and screws placed in the spine to support it or fusion surgery. Diagnosing and treating neck injuries can quickly become expensive, which is why it’s so important for accident victims who weren’t at fault for their injuries, to reach out to a lawyer who can help them seek compensation from the negligent person who caused their accident. In addition to recovering reimbursement for medical expenses, an accident victim could also be entitled to compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. 

Committed to Helping Our Clients Maximize Their Recovery

The Miami personal injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein provide clients with the kind of one-on-one, personalized attention that accident victims need to file successful legal claims. For an evaluation of your own case, please call our office at 305-371-2692 or feel free to send us an online message. While our office is located in Miami, our lawyers represent clients throughout the state and the country.