Neck Injuries After Motor Vehicle Accidents: A Personal Injury Prognosis

After a motor vehicle accident, victims are left with any number of injuries that span from head-to-toe. Strains, sprains, broken bones, bumps and bruises, dislocations, and whiplash injuries can all cause a victim widespread chronic pain. However, one of the most serious injuries sustained in a road-related accident is any impact to the head and neck area. Spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries can dramatically impact the victim's ability to live a full, independent life. When a car accident victim sustains an injury to the neck or cervical spine, they're at-risk for serious complications such as numbness, migraine, chronic pain, and in the worst case scenarios they can suffer partial or total paralysis. These physical injuries compounded by lost wages and losing quality of life cause mental anguish and emotional trauma to the victim.

From a Personal Injury perspective, a client who sustains a neck or spinal cord injury needs to be represented by legal counsel that has experience with similar cases. There are many firms that will attempt to take a spinal cord injury claim, only to leave the client high and dry when it comes times to face the judge and jury. That's not only a deceitful business practice, it hurts the victim, prolonging the legal process and causing them to suffer financially in addition to their physical and emotional pain. With the proper board certified legal counsel representing a spinal cord injury victim, they're given the best chance at obtaining the damages they deserve for their pain and suffering. We've consistently made note of the fact that it's not always about the compensation, but about the justice the client rightfully deserves. This point is exceptionally true when it comes to spinal cord injury victims who may have lost their ability to live a full life due to partial or total paralysis.

Neck Injuries After Motor Vehicle Accidents: A Personal Injury Prognosis will focus on the types, complications, and symptoms of neck injuries a victim can sustain after a motor vehicle accident, as well as how appointed legal counsel must proceed in order to obtain compensation on behalf of the client.

 When a car accident victim sustains an injury to the neck or cervical spine, they're at-risk for serious complications.  ©BigStockPhoto

When a car accident victim sustains an injury to the neck or cervical spine, they're at-risk for serious complications. ©BigStockPhoto

Neck injuries

Many things factor into the type of neck or spinal cord injury a victim sustains. As far as neck injuries are concerned, there are several types of serious injuries that can leave a victim with widespread, sometimes even chronic pain. Let's explain several of these more common injuries, first:

  • Whiplash injuries: this type of injury can occur after an accident that causes the head and neck area to move-or "whip"-around violent. This injury is considered by medical professionals to be the most common type of neck injury, specifically after a motor vehicle accident in which the victim is rear-ended, causing them to jerk forward in a violent back-and-forth motion.
  • Strain, repetitive motion: it's important to maintain proper posture, especially in the event of a neck or cervical spine injury. Lack of posturing the body correctly (either due to working at the computer, sleep difficulty, or lack of exercise) can cause painful muscle strain.
  • Sprain injuries: certain types of injuries (sports-related, motor vehicle accident-related) can cause sprains in the muscles of the neck. These injuries are further aggravated by over exertion or too much activity during the healing process. Doctors recommend anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and reducing physical activity to allow a sprain to heal properly.
  • Pinched nerve injuries: a "pinched" nerve in the neck can cause severe burning, sharp, or shooting pain down the victim's back and into the arms. When treated effectively, these injuries tend to heal on their own fairly quickly.
  • Disk injuries: these injuries frequently occur in work-related accidents that require the employee to lift heavy objects repeatedly. Heavy lifting on a regular basis can cause the nerves in the neck to become irritated and for these "jelly-like" cushions to slip out of place. Disk injuries with no known cause are usually attributed to the normal aging process.

Spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe injuries a victim can sustain. These injuries can be fatal if left untreated and are known to more frequently cause partial or permanent paralysis even with proper medical intervention. The list of these injuries is lengthy, so we'll provide the most common types and causes of spinal cord injuries:

  • Cerebral fracture: the most severe motor vehicle accidents, falls, or blows to the head and neck can cause the vertebrae in the neck to fracture or break. This injury is considered to be a medical emergency and requires immediate transport to the emergency room by ambulance, where a patient can receive the proper medical attention right away. Spinal fractures can cause serious damage to the spinal cord, resulting in the victim being unable to breathe on their own. Cerebral fractures can lead to paralysis and can be fatal if not treated immediately.
  • Spinal cord damage: this is the most severe injury sustained in the aforementioned accidents. When the spinal cord is damaged, there is only a limited window of time in which medical professionals can save the victim's life. These injuries usually result in paralysis to some extent, leaving the victim unable to walk, and wheelchair bound. Recent advancements in spinal cord injuries have given hope to many victims who believed they would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.
 Personal Injury attorneys are familiar with car accidents and the injuries that result.  ©BigStockPhoto

Personal Injury attorneys are familiar with car accidents and the injuries that result. ©BigStockPhoto

A Personal Injury prognosis

Within the specialty of practicing Personal Injury, attorneys are familiar with car accident victims and the injuries they present from the very first consultation. It goes without saying, though, that not every Personal Injury attorney is created equally. The attorney must be able to act aggressively when it comes to taking on the insurance company who may have lead the victim to believe they're only entitled to a paltry sum for their serious injury. When it comes to neck and spine injuries, the insurance company should never be allowed to play "schoolyard bully" with the client. An experienced Personal Injury attorney knows this to be a fact, and will present well detailed evidence to the court, if necessary, in order to fully compensate their client for all they've lost when they were not at-fault.

What does a Personal Injury need to have on hand in order to present their case like a well oiled machine?

  1. Complete records: hospital records, doctor's notes, and medical bills that can clearly show the extent of the victim's financial injury due to lost wages and medical expenses not covered by insurance.
  2. Documentation: accident reports, police reports, and insurance claims filed by or on behalf of the victim.
  3. Expert testimony: hearing from an expert in the courtroom can back the victim's own testimony that they're suffering from severe, intractable pain after their accident.
  4. Witness testimony: those who know the victim best and those who may have witnessed the accident are both necessary to provide the whole picture for the court, if necessary.
  5. Accident Reconstruction: an attorney who lacks experience may not consider this, and it can hurt the victim! Accident Reconstruction can provide the closest thing to allowing the jury to actually witness the accident in real-time, providing them with insight they may not have otherwise had to be able to rule heavily in favor of the plaintiff.
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