Neck Injury Lawyers
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
The primary causes of neck injuries are motor vehicle accidents and falls. Other causes of neck injury include pedestrian accidents, railroad accidents, bicycle accidents, work-related accidents, striking the bottom of a pool while diving, the use of defective products, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse.
Neck injuries vary widely in type and severity. Whiplash, probably the most common type of neck injury, is a neck strain or sprain that most often occurs in motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash itself can range widely in severity. Other types of neck injury can involve nerve damage, ruptured ligaments, fractures of the vertebrae, disk damage, and spinal cord injuries, among others. Spinal cord injuries are usually serious and often life threatening.
A description of some of the more common neck injuries follows:
- Whiplash - hyperextension injury to the neck, often due to being struck from behind, as by a vehicle in a car accident. Muscles and ligaments may be stretched or torn as the head is initially rocked upward and backward, and again in a reflex action in which muscles contract to bring the head back forward to prevent excessive injury.
- Cervical fracture (broken neck) - an injury to the vertebrae (spine) in the neck, usually due to high-energy trauma from a motor vehicle accident, fall, or sport injury. Injuries to the vertebrae can have serious consequences because the spinal cord runs through the center of the vertebrae.
- Spinal cord injury - damage to the spinal cord resulting in loss of feeling (sensation) and muscular (motor) control. Injury to the spinal cord at the level of the cervical vertebrae can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis of the body from the neck down.
- Degenerative diseases (such as cervical spondylosis, osteoarthritis) - the disc and two facet joints that are part of each vertebra begin to wear out after the first two decades of life. This condition is progressive as we age. Degenerative disease is the most common reason for neck pain.
- Overuse of the neck (such as at work) - activities such as sitting at a computer desk all day, driving long hours, and even worry and stress can strain neck muscles. Continuous muscle strain can cause chronic neck pain.
- Herniated disc (herniated nucleus pulposus) - occurs when the annulus fibrosus (disk of a vertebra) cracks or breaks open, allowing release of the nucleus pulposus. Can lead to pinched nerves or cervical disc material to push on the spinal cord, which can be serious. Symptoms can resemble those of rotator cuff problems, gout, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Spinal cord compression symptoms may include stumbling or awkward gait, "shock" type or tingling feelings down the torso or into the legs, and difficulty with fine motor skills in the arms and hands.
It should be pointed out that if you encounter someone at the scene of an accident who you suspect may have suffered a neck injury, do not move him or her unless absolutely necessary (such as if caught in a burning or sinking vehicle). Moving someone with a neck injury could aggravate the injury or even cause death. Call for help and, only if necessary, support the head and neck as you move the person as a single unit.
If you or a loved one has injured their neck as the result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to much needed compensation. Contact a qualified neck injury attorney who can answer your questions and help you determine your best legal course of action.