Neck & Whiplash Injury Lawyer Washington DC
When extreme force is exerted on the head, such as in a car accident, the portion of the spine that is in the neck may be whipped forward and backward rapidly, causing a whiplash injury. The term is based on the whip-like motion of the head and neck. When whiplash occurs, the muscles and ligaments located around the spine can be injured.
A whiplash injury is not the only type of neck injury that can accompany a car accident. Inside the spinal cord are nerves that are responsible for sending signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Those messages tell the body what to do and relay sensory messages back to the brain.
The spine includes a number of bones called vertebrae. In between the vertebrae are discs. The discs act like cushions that keep the vertebrae from scraping together. This system allows for a wide range of motion.
The cervical spine is the area of the spine that extends roughly from the base of the skull to the bottom of the neck. A car accident can injure the vertebrae, the discs and the nerves in the cervical spine. A common injury to the cervical spine is a herniated or bulging disc.
Symptoms of a herniated disc in the cervical spine include:
- Pain in the neck, arms or hands.
- Tingling in the arms or hands.
- Numbness in the arms or hands.
Because the nerves in the cervical spine are responsible for sending messages down the arms, symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck will usually produce symptoms in only the arms or hands.
If an injury to the disc or vertebrae is severe, paralysis can result. When this occurs in the cervical spine, it typically leads to quadriplegia, or a loss of muscle control and sensation in both the upper and lower body.
Neck Injuries Are Common in Car Accidents
Neck injuries caused by car accidents are extremely common. Each year, more than 3 million people suffer a whiplash injury, with the majority of those being the result of a motor vehicle accident. Although the rate of other neck injuries is not as high, they still occur fairly often. Each year, 12,000 new cases of paraplegia and quadriplegia occur in the United States. The leading cause of acute spinal cord injury in the U.S. is a motor vehicle collision. In fact, car accidents account for almost half (45 percent) of all acute spinal injuries in the U.S. each year.
Herniated discs are less common than whiplash, but more common than paralysis. Although collectively referred to as “herniated discs,” a disc can actually be bulging, ruptured or completely removed from between the vertebrae. The precise nature of the disc injury determines how serious the neck injury is.
Treatment for Neck Injuries
Treatment for car accident neck injuries depends on the nature and extent of the injury:
- Whiplash – Many whiplash injuries will heal entirely within a few weeks to several months after the accident, but about 1 in 10 whiplash victims end up with a permanent injury. Doctors typically prescribe anti-inflammatory medications as well as muscle relaxants, steroids and pain medications for whiplash. In addition, rest and stretching exercises will likely be ordered.
- Herniated discs – Treating herniated discs is complicated and often takes numerous approaches. Conservative treatment includes medications, steroid injections and at-home traction exercises aimed at preventing the need for surgery. When those methods fail, a patient may require surgery to replace the injured disc. Sometimes, the victim continues to suffer nerve damage long after the herniated disc is removed, meaning that the victim will live with pain indefinitely.
- Paralysis – Because there is no cure for paralysis, immediate care is critical to reduce the risk of further injury when a patient suffers a neck injury. If the patient has already been paralyzed, then future treatment will be aimed at making the patient comfortable and increasing mobility.
Get Help from a Washington Injury Attorney at The Abelson Law Firm, Today
If you have suffered a neck injury in a Washington DC, car accident, or you have lost a loved one as a result of one, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries or loss you have suffered.
The Washington neck injury lawyer at The Abelson Law Firm, can help you navigate the legal process and help make sure that you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Although the law is designed to protect victims of car accidents, the law also limits the time within which a victim can pursue compensation. Contact us online today for a no cost, no obligation review of your case and to learn what legal options you may have. You will not incur any attorney fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for your injuries or loss for you.