The neck is a very important and very vulnerable part of the body. Serious injuries to the neck can occur with very little force in the event of an accident. As a result, even with seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features protecting drivers and passengers, neck injuries are still some of the most common injuries caused by car accidents. Some accident victims may not even realize that they are hurt until hours, days, or even weeks after the crash.
It is essential that you seek a thorough medical exam as soon as possible after an accident to detect neck injuries and other conditions that may not present immediate symptoms. Even with proper treatment, a serious neck injury could cause lasting pain, limited range of motion and other problems.
If you are considering legal action to recover compensation for your medical bills and other expenses resulting from an accident caused by someone else, the Sacramento car accident lawyers of Demas Law Group can help.
Common Types of Neck Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
The neck has so many bones and soft tissue, and also houses part of the spinal cord, it can be injured without a direct or forceful impact. There are several main types of neck injuries, all of which require different types of treatment.
Here are some of the most common types of neck injuries caused by car accidents:
- Whiplash. Whiplash is broad term covering injuries to the bones, muscles, nerves, and more when the neck and head are whipped violently forward and backward, often as the result of a rear-ender accident and often causing concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
- Cervical fracture. Some accidents can cause parts of the cervical spine, which runs through the neck, to fracture. This is always a medical emergency and can result in paralysis.
- Disc injuries. Like the rest of the spine, the neck contains discs, which can herniate or otherwise become injured when a collision occurs.
- Muscle injuries. The neck includes a number of muscles, which can become severely strained or bruised in an accident.
- Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord, which runs from the brain through the neck, is a bundle of nerves that connects the brain to the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is injured, you can experience anything from minor nerve tingling to full-body paralysis. A broken neck can lead to severe spinal cord injuries.
Your doctor may have to run multiple tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, to determine which type of neck injury you have. In some cases, you may have more than one. It is extremely important that you follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure an effective recovery.
Following up with Your Doctor
Recovering from a neck injury can take time. Some patients may never fully recover, and may be forced to deal with pain, as well as physical therapy and other treatments, for the rest of their life. Whatever your road to recovery looks like, it is critical that you follow your doctor’s instructions and come back for regular checkups.
Not only will following up with your doctor and complying with their instructions aid in your recovery, but failing to do so could make it more difficult for you to secure compensation later in a personal injury claim.
Steps to Take After Injuring Your Neck in a Car Accident
Neck injuries can be extremely serious and may require emergency medical attention. Whether or not you need to be rushed to the hospital, you can help protect yourself by taking the following steps:
- Call 911. If you are in excruciating pain and find it difficult or impossible to move, you may have broken your neck. If you are experiencing this or another medical emergency, ask for an ambulance. Regardless, it is important to have the police at the scene of the accident, as they will write up a report that you and your insurance company will need in the future.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver. You will need this information later in the claims process.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures of the scene of the accident if you are able, or ask someone to do so for you. If there are any witnesses nearby, get their contact info.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. However, you should not provide a written or recorded statement to any insurer without assistance from an attorney.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you did not feel the need to rush to the emergency room, it is extremely important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Neck injuries may appear in the hours and days after an accident. A doctor will perform tests, possibly including X-rays or other scans, to diagnose your neck injury and make a plan for treatment.
- Keep track of all medical receipts and documentation. In order to help secure the compensation you need after being treated for your neck injuries, you will need to keep track of all of your medical bills and receipts.
After taking these immediate steps, you will begin both the claims process and what could be a long road to recovery depending on the extent of your injuries.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento Today
Dealing with the aftermath of any car accident is difficult, and a neck injury can make the process even worse. In addition to medical bills and severe pain, you may be facing nerve damage that could put you out of work for some time, or even permanently. You don’t have to face this alone. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you hold the driver responsible for your accident financially accountable.