car accident neck injury

3 Common Neck Injuries After a Car Accident

car accident neck injury

1. Cervical Vertebrae Injury

The spinal column is made up of stacked bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae in the neck are called cervical vertebrae, and there are seven of them. The closer to the brain a cervical spinal cord injury occurs, the more severe the resulting damage to the entire body. A high cervical spinal cord injury can often be fatal. Victims who survive such injuries will likely experience paralysis of the arms, trunk, and legs. They may also not be able to breathe independently or speak and may lose bowel and bladder control.

2. Spinal Cord/Disc Injury

In a car accident, the spine may be damaged, and vertebrae may be fractured or dislocated. Damage to vertebrae may, in turn, cause damage to the discs that separate them. A disc has a rubbery exterior with a softer interior.

If the exterior of a disc is damaged, it can allow the soft interior to push out or become herniated. A cervical herniated disc can put pressure on nearby nerves resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs. Disc injuries in the neck or cervical vertebrae will typically affect the arm or shoulder and usually on only one side of the body.

3. Whiplash

Whiplash injuries are common for occupants when a vehicle is hit from behind. The impact causes the tissues to stretch beyond their normal range and results in pain and stiffness in the affected area.

Neck Injuries in Car Accidents Facts

Neck injuries are a common complaint after a car accident. While the rest of the body is relatively secured in the seat by the shoulder and lap belts, the head is not restrained, which allows the force of impact to throw it around. Rapid, forceful motion by the head can cause injuries to the head, damage to the tissues in the neck, the bones of the upper spine, and / or the spinal cord itself. The severity of a car accident neck injury often corresponds to the collision speed, the location of impact, and the body’s position at the time of the crash.

There are roughly six million traffic accidents every year in the U.S. Close to half of those accidents result in injuries. Of the injured who are taken to hospitals, approximately 870,000 are diagnosed with neck injuries. The majority of neck injuries involve strains and sprains to the soft tissues. Only about three percent of car accident injuries affect the spine or the spinal cord

National crash severity data show when car accidents are serious enough that the vehicles cannot be driven from the scene, a severe neck injury occurs to one in 300 of the vehicle occupants. The occurrence of severe neck injuries increases to one in 14 occupants when the person injured has been ejected from the vehicle.

Severe neck injuries usually affect the cervical spine or spinal cord.

Severe neck injuries usually affect the cervical spine or spinal cord. It is known that severe neck injuries:

  • Occur more than twice as often to vehicle occupants between the ages of 16 and 25
  • Account for nearly 6,000 deaths annually
  • Result in approximately 500 incidents of quadriplegia each year

Collision impact with the front or side of a vehicle is more likely to result in severe neck injuries to the occupants than when the impact is with the rear of the vehicle.

The neck can be injured by the weight of the head being thrown around, or it may be injured by direct contact with something during the crash. The injuries may heal without permanent impairment, or they may result in irreparable damage that will last a lifetime. Neck injuries can be any of the following types.

Getting Compensation for a Car Accident Neck Injury

Understandably, neck injury victims may wonder “what kind of car accident compensation” they can expect. Neck injuries can range from tissue damage that usually heals in a few weeks to very serious spinal cord injuries resulting in permanent loss of function. The injury can affect how you feel and what you are able to do for a period of time or for the rest of your life. In California, persons who sustain a neck injury in a car accident may be compensated for their medical expenses and lost earnings as well as their inconvenience and diminished ability to enjoy life, among other potential damages.

Compensation for a neck injury can be significant when the effects of the injury continue to interfere with activities of daily living and cause ongoing pain and suffering to the individual. Because neck injuries can affect so many other areas of the body, it is important to understand the full impact of a neck injury in order to obtain adequate compensation. Contact a California car accident lawyer at Curtis Legal Group to discuss your legal options.