While car accidents aren’t the only cause of neck injuries, they are one of the most common. To make sure you put your well-being first, after you suffer an injury from any accident, seek medical attention right away. Neck injuries have the potential to become debilitating. Once you see a doctor, a seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages for your injuries.
Causes of Neck Pain
The type of accident that causes neck injury can vary greatly. Common sources of injuries include:
- Car accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Slip and fall
- Heavy lifting
- Falling objects
- Repetitive motion
There are additional causes of neck pain that can require more analysis. These include:
- Whiplash – This happens when your head moves violently and is most often caused in car accidents. Whiplash causes damage to the soft tissue in your neck and leads to many painful issues including neck pain and stiffness, headache, dizziness, numbness, and weakness.
- Repetitive strain – Poor posture, an unsupportive pillow, and repetitive motions can cause neck pain. Spending all day at work hunched over your desk is a common example of neck pain.
- Sprains and strains – Muscles and ligaments in the neck can cause pain and discomfort when they are strained. This happens frequently in sports but can also happen by not moving much at all.
- Nerve pinch – This is a common sports related injury where a pinched nerve in the neck causes rapidly shooting pain. This pain usually goes away quickly.
- Disk injury – Injuries to the disks in your back often cause neck pain because the nerves in the neck also become irritated.
- Vertebral fracture – When a vertebra in your neck breaks or fractures, serious injuries result. This type of injury always requires immediate medical attention.
- Spinal cord damage – When an accident is so severe that your spinal cord is damaged, that pain radiates to your neck, causing additional neck injuries.
Your pain, your discomfort, and your physical injury are not your fault. Work with a trusted personal injury lawyer to give yourself the best chance of making a complete recovery.
Car Accidents Cause Neck Injuries
Neck injuries caused by car accidents can vary depending on many factors. Those factors include:
- Type of impact
- Speed of impact
- Your position in the car
- Whether you were wearing a seat belt
- How your body was positioned
- If your body was pinned in the car
- If your body was forced against another part of the car
When you suffer a neck injury in a car accident, it can quickly spiral out of control and force you to suffer great pain and discomfort. Suffering this type of injury also puts you at risk for other injuries. Your neck is connected to your spinal cord, and helps to support your head and brain. When this part of your body is injured, it can create life-altering conditions for both you and your family.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Suffering a traumatic brain injury causes extreme suffering and life-altering conditions for not just the victim, but also the victim’s family and loved ones. Even if you make a full recovery, your family might have to take care of you temporarily. This creates great stress and anxiety around finances if the entire family is out of work.
Neck injuries often lead to, or happen in conjunction with, a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of vision
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Sudden change in behavior
- Change in appetite
Traumatic brain injuries result from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head—not necessarily impact to the head. This is why neck injuries often lead to traumatic brain injuries. When the neck snaps around rapidly, the force can place enough stress on the brain to damage it. This often results in a concussion, the most common type of traumatic brain injury.
But that’s not the only type of traumatic brain injury. Other types include:
- Contusion – A contusion results from an impact to the head where there is bruising or bleeding in the brain. Serious contusions often require surgery to relieve the pressure on the skull.
- Coup-contrecoup – This injury occurs when there are two contusions in the brain, on opposite sides. The first injury is a result of the initial impact of the brain against the skull and the second injury occurs when the brain bounces off the skull to the other side.
- Diffuse axonal – This is a tear in the brain tissue resulting from extreme shaking or twisting of the head and neck. Victims typically lose consciousness immediately.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you or a loved one has suffered a neck injury is that you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Neck injuries are serious, and traumatic brain injuries can be deadly.
After Your Accident
No matter what caused the accident where you suffered a neck injury, there are certain steps you should take right away. Taking these steps will not only help you get on the path to recovery quickly but it can also help your lawyer when it comes time to maximize your recovery.
- Call 911 – For many people, this is a common sense step. However, sometimes, when you are involved in an accident, all you want to do is remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. But calling 911 allows the police the opportunity to provide an objective report on what caused your accident. They may not assign fault, but by creating a report, we can use that later to help you recover for your injuries.
- Seek medical attention – When you call 911, they may also send medical professionals. Do not refuse their assistance. Your neck might hurt but you might feel better than you actually are because your adrenaline is pumping, masking some of your pain. A medical professional can examine you at the accident scene and determine whether you have more serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.
- Take pictures – If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene, any vehicles or equipment involved, and your injuries. If you cannot take pictures, ask a trusted family member or friend to help. These pictures will provide us with additional evidence to show how your accident was caused by someone else and why you deserve compensation for those injuries.
- Get witness contact information – If you can speak with witnesses to your accident, that is best. But at least get their contact information. Many witnesses may not stick around for the police to arrive and take their statement so you want to have their contact information handy so your insurance company can call and speak with them later. Witnesses can also provide a different vantage point about the moments leading up to your accident. The different view they provide can lead to answers about how your accident was caused.
- Keep notes – Over time, you will not recall the daily struggles you faced in your recovery. Writing daily in a journal about how you feel, what roadblocks to recovery you face, and your level of pain can help refresh your memory during your personal injury claims process. Keeping notes can also help to paint a picture of how your life and your loved one’s lives have been altered because of someone else’s negligence.
Finally, you’ll want to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. After your accident, you only have limited time to file a personal injury claim. After this time has elapsed, you cannot bring a claim against the at-fault party. This means you could end up paying for all of your medical bills and face financial hardship because you are out of work. You can avoid all of that by working with a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer.
When you face a neck injury after an accident, if you did not cause the accident, you should not bear any of the responsibility for your medical bills. The costs you face to make a complete recovery could be massive.
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can give you a leg up when you try to get compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medical bills
When you are the victim of a neck injury, your medical bills could be substantial. You do not want to face financial ruin because of your medical bills. Two-thirds of all bankruptcies filed in the United States are a result of an injury that caused high medical bills, lengthy time out of work, or both.
The best way to avoid falling into this situation is by working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer. Your choice of attorney can play a role in your ability to recover damages for your injuries. You deserve a lawyer who has your best interests at heart, and one with the resources necessary to take on your complex claim.
Shortly after the accident that caused your injuries, the insurance company of the at fault party will likely reach out to you with a settlement offer. Many people get excited about the opportunity to put this traumatic experience behind them. But we urge caution.
The offer you receive will probably be a low-ball offer and may not cover all of your medical expenses. This is why it’s so important that you choose to work with a personal injury lawyer you trust.
When you work with us, we can help you create an accurate estimate of your future needs. This includes:
- Extended hospital stays
- Future surgeries
- Rehabilitation in a facility
- In-home rehabilitation
- Your lost earning potential
- Loved one’s lost wages to care for you
By creating an accurate estimate of your future medical needs, we get a better understanding of the compensation to seek on your behalf. Negotiations with insurance companies can be tiresome. While we want to wrap this up quickly for you, we do not want to leave you in a position where you have to pay any of these expenses out of your own pocket.
Your initial low-ball settlement offer from the insurance company likely will not cover all of your medical expenses. What’s worse, when you sign the offer, you may waive your right to bring any future claim against the insurance company for this accident and your injuries. That means you could end up paying out of pocket to get better.
Maximizing your financial recovery is important because it can ease your stress and your worry, but also allow you to focus on your physical recovery. Without the stress of wondering how you will pay your bills, you can focus completely on your physical recovery.
It also relieves the stress of your family. When your injuries are severe enough, your injuries may require your family to take time off work to care for you. With both of you out of work, it can create extreme tension around finances. By working with a trusted California personal injury lawyer who can help maximize your financial recovery, that stress alleviates for everyone.
Speaking With a Lawyer Can Help
Your injuries deserve attention. You deserve to get better. The best way to achieve that is to work with a personal injury lawyer who can help you recover damages for your neck injury and any associated brain injuries. By taking the stress of the legal complexities off your shoulders, you can focus solely on your physical recovery.