Neck Injury from
Neck injuries are very common after a car crash and can have long-term or even permanent effects on your life. Understanding the symptoms of certain kinds of neck damage after an accident can help you get the right treatment for a full recovery.
If you’ve suffered a neck injury after a car accident, or even if your neck just feels a little sore, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately to reduce complications.
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Neck Injury After a Car Accident
At NST Law, we see many plaintiffs who have suffered neck injuries after a motorcycle crash, collision with a commercial vehicle, or in an Uber or Lyft accident. We’re familiar with neck injury symptoms and the resulting conditions, but remember, only a qualified medical professional can diagnose your injury and recommend a course of treatment.
Complications from neck injuries include physical pain and difficulty moving. But because of the neck’s vulnerable placement on the body and its proximity to the head and spine, complications from neck injuries can lead to long-term disabilities and health problems if left untreated.
If you don’t get medical attention for a neck injury after a car wreck, you may realize years down the road that your health problems stem from the collision.
Common Neck Injuries After Car Wrecks
Neck pain after a car crash is commonly caused by whiplash, which is damage to soft tissues of the neck caused by rapid back-and-forth movements. Whiplash and car accidents are almost synonymous for a good reason. When another vehicle collides with yours, the sudden impact and transfer of energy cause your head to rapidly move back and forth, violently pulling on your neck and damaging muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and discs.
Whiplash can cause:
- Muscle spasms
- Ligament or tendon sprains or strains
- Damage to the facet joints of your vertebrae, which are the small joints where one neck bone meets the next one
- Herniated intervertebral discs, which are located between the neck bones; a herniated disc can put pressure on a nerve, leading to tingling or a burning sensation in the neck or the arm (known as paresthesia)
- Back injuries
The pain and lack of mobility resulting from whiplash may be prolonged. They can even last for years after an accident, particularly if you don’t get proper medical treatment.
Victims of car crashes may also suffer from lacerations, or cuts to the neck. These can damage various structures in the neck, and may lead to pain and scarring. They can also become infected, which can become a serious medical issue if not treated promptly.
Vocal Cord Damage
The larynx, or voice box, contains your vocal cords. It lies in the middle of the throat and can easily be damaged in a car accident. In some cases, the crash may directly injure the vocal cords themselves. However, more commonly, symptoms related to the vocal cords are actually caused by damage to the nerves that control the vocal cords.
As a result of this nerve damage, one or both vocal cords may be partially or even completely paralyzed. This can make it hard to speak, and can also lead to choking on food and drink, because the closing of the vocal cords when you swallow helps to prevent food and beverages from entering the airway.
Vocal cord paralysis, if not properly diagnosed and promptly treated, can be permanent, significantly impacting your life.
The spinal cord carries signals between the brain and the rest of the body. If a car crash causes damage to the spinal cord in the neck, this can lead to paralysis. Depending on the severity of damage to the spinal cord, paralysis may be partial or complete. The arms may retain some movement or may be completely paralyzed, depending on the level of the spinal cord damage.
When the spinal cord is damaged in the upper parts of the neck, this may prevent the person from breathing independently, because it interrupts the communication between the brain and the diaphragm (the large flat muscle of breathing, located below the lungs).
In some cases, the neck injury may damage blood vessels in the neck. This can affect blood flow to the brain, which can lead to brain damage. In addition to their neck injuries, victims may also have traumatic brain injury (TBI), which results from a severe jolt or impact to the head. An injury severe enough to cause whiplash often can also cause TBI.
Long-Term Effects of Neck Injuries
After a car crash, some people are tempted to brush off neck pain. They may believe that they’re just “shaken up” and that it will go away after a few days. However, because the symptoms of minor neck pain and those of more complicated damage to your neck are similar, it’s critical to have a doctor examine your neck and throat after any car accident. It’s also important to take neck pain seriously after a car crash, and not to minimize any symptoms that you experience.
The chronic pain and systemic health effects of neck injuries may last for months or years following the injury. This can affect every aspect of your life. In some cases, you may even be unable to care for yourself, or to continue in the same career you once had.
Symptoms of long-term neck injury may include:
- Jaw pain
- Pain in the shoulders or lower back
- Muscle spasms
- Compromised range of motion
- Lower back pain
- Chronic headaches
- Fatigue and trouble sleeping
- Blurred vision, dizziness or vertigo
- Problems concentrating
- Problems speaking, breathing or swallowing
If you have neck pain after an accident, consult with a physician. You may also want to get a second opinion from a doctor specializing in neck and spine injuries, to ensure that you’re receiving the best possible treatment.
FAQs About Car Accident Neck Injuries
Your car accident lawyer will seek damages that include paying for the costs of your medical care, including long-term care if you cannot live independently, in addition to other damages like pain and suffering.
Yes. Hiring a lawyer protects your interests. We’re often able to get a higher settlement than the insurance company initially offers, or we can make sure that the settlement covers not just immediate care but long-term rehabilitation from a neck injury too.
How a Car Accident Injury Lawyer Can Help You
When you file a personal injury lawsuit for damages against the at-fault driver who caused your accident, your lawyer will tally up the medical bills from your treatment, including everything from the initial hospital visit and ambulance ride after the accident to ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Pursuing a claim for neck injuries after an accident may be more difficult than other types of injuries because they’re more difficult to prove. Strained muscles, pulled or overextended ligaments and tendons, and other soft tissue damage don’t all show up on X-rays and may be hard to identify even with an MRI.
Because neck injuries are harder to diagnose and tie directly to a car accident, the other party’s lawyers and the insurance company may try to deny your claim outright. An experienced car accident lawyer who is used to these tactics from insurance companies will know how to litigate the case and fight for your interests.
Contact Our Experienced Car Crash Injury Attorneys
Getting the best care for a neck injury after a car crash may mean expensive specialist care or treatments not covered by your health insurance. The financial compensation you receive from the at-fault driver can help pay for the rehabilitation or surgery you need to regain the abilities you had before the collision.
Let the legal team at NST Law fight for you.
If you need help recovering damages after a car crash, contact us today. We have more than three decades of experience pursuing car accident and neck injury litigation, and we can bring our expertise to your claim.
Your personal injury attorney will help you understand your rights and how a settlement can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.