No matter where a car accident takes place, neck and back injuries are common consequences. Victims can suffer long-term effects that can potentially ruin their life. Here’s a look at some of the potential physical, financial, and emotional impacts that can result.
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Types of Neck and Back Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Car accidents can lead to various neck and back injuries. The following are just a few.
Many car wreck victims experience whiplash. The impact of an accident, such as a rear-end collision, can abruptly throw the head and neck backward and then forward. This sudden motion can strain or damage the neck’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
A herniated disc happens when the soft cushioning material between the vertebrae ruptures or slips out of place. The impact of a car accident can cause the discs in the neck or back to bulge or rupture, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness in the affected area.
Car accidents can exert immense force on the spine, leading to fractures in the vertebrae. These fractures range from hairline cracks to more severe breaks, potentially causing spinal cord damage and long-term complications.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Severe car accidents can result in spinal cord injuries, which can have life-altering consequences. These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and other debilitating effects.
How Do Car Accidents Cause Neck and Back Injuries?
The force generated during a car accident can cause rapid and forceful movement of the head and body, leading to neck and back injuries.
When a vehicle abruptly collides with another object or comes to an immediate stop, the occupants’ bodies are subjected to rapid acceleration or deceleration forces. These forces can damage the ligaments, muscles, and vertebrae in the neck and back. Car accidents can also subject the spine to compression or twisting forces. This can lead to herniated discs, fractures, or damage to the spinal cord.
Symptoms of Neck and Back Injuries
The symptoms of neck and back injuries may vary depending on the severity and type of injury. Common symptoms include:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Back pain or discomfort
- Headaches, often originating from the base of the skull
- Limited range of motion in the neck or back
- Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Radiating pain or numbness along the nerves
- Difficulty walking or maintaining balance
Treatment Options for Neck and Back Injuries
The treatment for neck and back injuries after a car accident depends on the specific injury and its severity. Treatment options may include the following:
- Rest and pain management: Mild to moderate neck and back injuries can sometimes improve by resting, taking over-the-counter pain medication, and applying ice or heat packs.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility, and promote healing in the affected areas.
- Medications: In some cases, physicians may prescribe muscle relaxants, pain medications, or anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate symptoms and aid recovery.
- Injections: Corticosteroid injections can be a treatment option for individuals with neck and back injuries sustained in car accidents. These injections involve administering anti-inflammatory corticosteroid medications directly into the affected area, such as the muscles, joints, or spinal column.
The Cost of a Long-Term Injury
Neck and back injuries sustained in car accidents can result in significant financial costs for the injured individuals. These costs can easily run into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over a victim’s lifetime. Examples of costs include:
Neck and back injuries can involve various medical services such as doctor visits, diagnostic tests (e.g., X-rays, MRIs), physical therapy sessions, medications, injections, and even surgeries. The cumulative expenses can quickly add up, particularly for long-term or severe injuries.
Rehabilitation and Therapy
In more severe cases, accident victims may require ongoing rehabilitation and therapy to regain mobility, manage pain, and improve functionality. These sessions, which may include specialized therapies like chiropractic care or acupuncture, can be costly.
Assistive Devices and Equipment
Depending on the severity of the injury, people may need assistive devices such as neck braces, back braces, walkers, or wheelchairs to aid in their recovery or return to their normal daily activities. These devices can be expensive and require maintenance or replacement over time.
Dealing with a Lifelong Injury
In addition to the financial implications, neck and back injuries from car accidents can also have substantial mental and emotional costs. These can include:
- Pain and suffering: Chronic pain resulting from a long-term injury can significantly impact the quality of life, leading to physical discomfort, emotional distress, and a reduced ability to engage in daily activities or hobbies.
- Emotional distress and mental health issues: Coping with a lifelong injury can cause emotional distress, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The emotional toll can stem from physical limitations, lifestyle changes, and the trauma of the accident itself.
- Impact on relationships: Long-term injuries can strain relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. The physical limitations, financial burdens, and emotional challenges can affect the dynamics within these relationships and lead to feelings of isolation or dependency.
Recovering Your Damages
If you’ve sustained neck and back injuries in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your damages. But you’ll need skilled legal help to have the best chance of getting what you deserve. You must hire an attorney as soon as you can so they can gather critical evidence before it disappears.
If the injuries result in missed work days or a reduced ability to work, for instance, you could be eligible to recover the wages lost during the recovery period. In cases where the injuries lead to long-term or permanent disabilities, you may obtain damages to cover future medical expenses, ongoing treatment, and assistive devices.
Not only can you pursue compensation for lost wages and medical damage, but you may also be able to obtain money for your mental and emotional suffering.
File a Car Accident Lawsuit with Help From Cellino Law
A professional with Cellino Law can find out how the accident happened and who is to blame. We’ll protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your long-term injuries and associated costs.
Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.
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