While many people think of head injuries as some of the most devastating, just south of your head lies one of the most critical body parts—the neck. Allowing not only for you to move your head, the neck also provides a critical pathway for your brain and organs to interact and for blood to flow throughout your body.
Unfortunately, the neck is an exposed part of your body and quite susceptible to injury. A neck injury can be the result of sports accidents, car accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Regardless of how you were injured, you are probably suffering from some pretty severe consequences. You may also have doctor bills piling up since neck injuries often require intensive treatment that may last for years.
If you need help paying for your neck injury and getting back on your feet after an accident, seek help from a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers can help you get the support you need to recover from your injury, whether through recoupment of medical, financial, personal care, transportation expenses or something else. In this blog post, you’ll learn more about neck injuries and how to pursue needed compensation after a serious accident.
Neck Injury Statistics
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, about 17,810 new spinal cord injuries occur every year in the United States. The number of people who live with a spinal cord injury in the United States is somewhere between 250,000 to 368,000 people. About 78 percent of spinal cord injuries occur in males, with most injuries occurring in car accidents.
Neck injuries cost a lot of time and money to treat. People with neck injuries generally stay in the hospital for around 11 days before release, and often require medical care for far longer.
Overall, neck injuries are a serious problem that can cost the injured person and their family a lot of time and money to fix.
What Are Common Neck Injuries?
Neck injuries can occur in many situations. Depending on your circumstances, your neck injury may require extensive time to heal. Regardless of what kind of injury you have, you’ll need to seek medical treatment to start down the path to recovery. More serious injuries may even result in lifetime medical needs..
Some of the most common neck injuries include:
- Neck strain, or whiplash. Caused by a sudden back and forth movement of the head. Usually, the movement is faster than the neck can effectively handle, leading to strain on the neck muscles, sometimes traveling down the spine. Most commonly, this type of injury is the result of a car accident or a sports accident.
- Herniated discs.A herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc tears and leaks its soft, jelly-like interior. Herniated discs can occur naturally due to the wear and tear of a busy life, but falls and other severe accidents also often cause them. In addition, some herniated discs may become more severe, or exacerbated, following an accident.
- Pinched nerves.A pinched nerve will show up when the bone, tendons, or tissue surrounding a nerve press in on it. This type of injury often results as a consequence of muscle strain or sprain.
- A broken neck (fractured cervical spine).A very serious accident can fracture your spine, leaving you with severe pain and limitations. You have to seek treatment for this type of injury right away, or it could lead to death.
The symptoms of neck injury may vary based on the severity of the injury. In most cases, you will feel pain in your neck.
You may also experience:
- Difficulty turning your neck/head;
- Stiffness in your neck;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Muscle spasms and pain in your neck and shoulders; and/or
- Weakness in your arms, legs, hands, or fingers.
Common Causes of Neck Injury
Neck pain can be a daily part of life for some people, but severe neck injuries can also result from serious accidents.
The most common causes of serious neck injury include:
- Car accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Work related accidents
- Bad falls;
- Football accidents;
- Diving accidents;
- Bicycle accidents; and
- Falls in cheerleading or gymnastics.
Excessive pressure on the victim’s neck causes most of these injuries. If the victim falls on their head or neck while playing a sport, or if their head is whipped back and forth in a car accident, this puts undue pressure on neck muscles and bones. Sometimes, neck injuries can be devastating, leading to paralysis or death. Neck injuries can also lead to pain and require ongoing treatment.
Common Treatments for Neck Injury
Medical treatment for neck injury varies widely based on the severity of the injury and other factors such as the age and life circumstances of the injured person. However, there is no doubt that any of the options are expensive. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent every year by neck injury victims on surgeries, hospital visits, physical therapy, and more.
The most common neck injury treatments include:
- Physical therapy to help strengthen the neck and learn correct posture and alignment.
- Acupuncture or similar treatments to activate chemicals in your body that can help relieve pain.
- Traction, which uses equipment to gently stretch your neck under professional medical supervision.
- A collar for short-term immobilization.
- Surgery to correct compression and other internal issues.
- Surgery to fuse together parts of the spine.
- Steroid injections or numbing injections to relieve pain.
- Pain medication.
- Applying heat and cold treatments to soothe muscles.
- Gentle stretching exercises to increase your neck’s mobility and strength.
- Massage or chiropractic treatments to adjust joints and relieve muscle strain.
Some of these treatments are relatively inexpensive and you can apply them at home without supervision. Other treatments are more costly. All treatment should occur under the care and supervision of a treating provider..
Who pays for Neck Injury Treatments
In most cases, your medical insurance will cover treatments for neck injuries. However, there may be times when your insurance company won’t cover all the costs. In that case, you may need further help paying for your injuries.
This is where the law comes in. In a situation where you suffered a neck injury due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, you may be able to file a claim to try to recover compensation from the person who was at fault for your injury. If, for example, someone rear-ended you, or if you slipped and fell in a store where the manager failed to warn against, or to clean up a spill, that other party should be held responsible for your neck injuries. .
What you must show in your personal injury case::
- You must show that the other party owed you a duty of care. Anyone who drives a car, for example, has an inherent duty to protect others on the road and avoid injuring or killing people with their car. Business owners and managers must warn visitors that there may be dangers associated with stepping on the property, and may even be responsible for making the property safe. In many additional situations, the law acknowledges that a person or entity has a legal duty to others not to cause them harm.
- You must prove that the other party breached their duty of care. If someone hit you with their car or a business failed to warn you about a hazardous condition on their property, for example, they may have breached the legal duty they had to protect you.
- You must prove that the other party’s breach of their duty led to your accident. The other person’s breach must cause the accident or you cannot file a claim against them. You must be able to show that if they had performed their duty, the accident wouldn’t have happened.
- You must show that your accident led to serious consequences. You will need to have evidence of injury, medical expenses, and other damages resulting from the accident.
If you need help finding the money you need to pay for your neck injury, start by hiring a lawyer.
The Damages You Can Claim in a Neck Injury Case
If you determine someone else was responsible for your accident, victims can generally include a demand for several types of damages related to their accident.
The most common damages victims claim include:
- Medical expenses, including emergency costs, surgery expenses, and ongoing costs for medication or therapy.
- Loss of income if the injury keeps the victim out of work, whether for a short time or permanently.
- Loss of earning capacity when the injury makes returning to their old job impossible.
- Property damage to their car or other personal belongings that were damaged in the accident.
- Other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident and their injuries, including childcare, transportation, and more.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of life enjoyment, such as the inability to return to a beloved sport or hobby because of the injury.
- Loss of relationships.
- Scarring, disfigurement, or humiliation.
When making a claim, you must gather evidence for each of the types of damages you include. You’ll want to keep records, bills, photographs, and (if applicable) witness statements to prove your losses. Your attorney may also hire a medical expert to help determine how much you will lose in the future from dealing with your neck injury.
Why You Want to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you first suffer an accident, you usually aren’t thinking much about the future. You’re trying to deal with the pain and loss and you may not even be concerned yet about the money you’ll have to pay to get on the road to recovery. However, as soon as you start feeling better, you’re sure to have lots of questions about how to get back to a normal life with all these extra costs and difficulties.
A personal injury lawyer can help you find the immediate support you need after your accident. They can guide you through the daily impact of your accident and help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve.
Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be challenging. Most insurance companies don’t like to pay any more than they have to, which may mean they’ll try to avoid paying you all that you deserve.
If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can help you by negotiating with the insurance companies and other lawyers on your behalf. That way, you can focus your energy on recovering instead of fighting for your rights. Personal injury lawyers are devoted to helping their clients get justice and get back to their lives as quickly and smoothly as possible.
If you were in an accident and suffered a bad neck injury, please:
- Keep medical bills and records as well as any repair receipts or other documentation of accident-related costs.
- Talk to any witnesses of your accident and get their contact information.
- Get contact and insurance information from the person responsible for your accident.
- Reach out to a personal injury lawyer for help. Your lawyer can help you gather the rest of the evidence you need and make a strong claim for the compensation you deserve.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a personal injury lawyer with any questions. Start today to seek the help you need to get back on your feet after your neck injury accident.