San Antonio Neck Injury Attorney
People don’t often think about their neck until there is something wrong and it’s causing them pain. Then you realize how much an injury to the neck can affect your day-to-day life.
The neck is composed of many different parts. Those parts must all work together to ensure that the body functions properly. When one or more of those parts become damaged, it can cause debilitating pain and require expensive medical treatment. Often, when a person is experiencing pain in the neck, it prevents them from working and enjoying life the way they did before the injury.
When a neck injury is due to an accident that was the fault of someone else, such as a car accident or a fall on dangerous property, you can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. An experienced San Antonio neck injury attorney from Ketterman Rowland & Westlund can explain your legal rights in a free consultation. Contact us today to get started.
Common Causes of Neck Injury
Neck injuries are commonly caused by accidents resulting from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Some of the most common types of accidents that result in serious neck injuries include:
Auto accidents. Topping the list of common causes of neck injuries are car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. During these accidents, a vehicle may suddenly stop, causing whiplash, or physical force may be applied directly to the back of the neck by an object in the vehicle. During a car accident, the neck and spine may also become twisted in an awkward position, causing strain and damage to the neck.
Slip and fall accidents. This is another very common cause of neck injuries. When someone falls, they often land on their back, which can have significant ramifications for the neck. These falls can cause fractured discs in the neck, muscle strains, and ligament sprains. In the worst of cases, a person may even suffer from partial or complete paralysis after a fall.
Workplace accidents. Overexertion in the workplace is another common cause of neck injuries. These injuries occur when a person lifts, pushes, or pulls on something heavy. This can cause serious strains and sprains in the neck that could take a long time to recover from.
No matter what type of accident you were involved in, if you believe someone else’s negligence was the cause of your neck injury, you should speak to a lawyer right away.
Types of Serious Neck Injuries
The neck is an intricate structure made up of bones, discs, ligaments, and tendons. As such, there are a number of different things that can go wrong and numerous types of injuries that can occur. Below are some of the most common neck injuries seen after an accident.
- Whiplash: Perhaps the most common type of neck injury, this occurs when the neck snaps back and forth in rapid succession. Whiplash is extremely painful and causes damage to the soft tissues in the neck, such as the muscles, ligaments, and nerves.
- Sprains and strains: It’s easy for the delicate tissues in the neck to become sprained or strained. This injury most often occurs when the neck and head are twisted into an unnatural position.
- Herniated disc: While most discs in the vertebrae are found in the back, the spine also travels up the back of the neck, and there are discs found here as well. When one of these discs ruptures, the soft jelly-like interior squeezes through the hard exterior. That can cause extreme pain, particularly if the interior pushes on an adjacent nerve root.
- Neck fracture: This is also sometimes referred to as a broken neck and is commonly caused by high-impact trauma, such as a car accident. These are some of the most serious neck injuries and can cause paralysis from the neck down.
- Cervical dislocation: This injury occurs when immense pressure is applied to the neck. When that pressure is great enough, it causes the spinal cord to dislocate from the brain or skull. These injuries are typically fatal.
- Cervical spine injuries: The cervical spine is located at the top of the spinal column, which is in the neck. This portion of the spine can become dislocated and sustain other injuries. Due to the fact that the higher up on the spine an injury occurs, the more severe it is, these neck injuries are some of the most serious. They often result in paralysis on one or both sides of the body.
- Chronic neck pain: A very common type of injury, chronic neck pain is caused by a number of things. Some conditions such as degenerative disc disease can cause chronic neck pain, as can certain accidents that result in whiplash, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and more. Chronic neck pain can last for months or even years.
Symptoms of Neck Injuries
Symptoms associated with a neck injury may appear immediately following an accident, or they can take many days to present themselves. Due to the important functions the neck performs, if you recognize any of these symptoms after an accident, you should speak to a doctor right away:
- Chronic pain
- Decreased mobility or range of motion
- Inability to perform daily functions such as work or other activities
- Weakness in the area
- Neck stiffness
- Difficult chewing, swallowing, or breathing
All of these symptoms suggest that something very serious is going on with the neck. They should not be taken lightly. Particularly when the symptoms are severe, persist for several days without relief, or the pain starts to radiate down the arms and legs, it’s very important to seek medical help immediately.
Treatment for Neck Injuries
Most mild to moderate neck injuries will heal on their own through self-care and lots of rest. If the pain or symptoms persist for more than two to three weeks, a doctor may try a number of different treatments.
The first course of treatment a doctor will likely recommend is medication to help ease the pain of the injury. This can include over-the-counter medication, muscle relaxants, and tricyclic antidepressants.
Therapy is often recommended for neck injuries. Different types of therapy may be recommended, depending on the type of injury. Physical therapy is most often the first course of therapy prescribed. This can help teach a person correct posture and include exercises that can help with alignment and neck strength. Physical therapists may also use heat, ice, and electrical stimulation to help with pain and prevent a recurring injury.
Another type of therapy often used to treat a neck injury is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). During this type of therapy, electrodes are placed on the neck. These deliver tiny electrical impulses to the area, which may help relieve pain.
Traction is a type of therapy that uses weights, pulleys, and air bladders to gently stretch the neck. This can also help relieve neck pain, particularly when it’s due to nerve damage.
A health care professional may also decide to immobilize the neck temporarily. In these cases, the patient must wear a soft collar that supports the neck and helps keep it in place so no further damage is done. It’s important those suffering from a neck injury only wear these collars for a few hours at a time, and for no longer than one or two weeks. Any longer and the collar could do more harm than good.
If therapy and medication do not help correct the neck injury, surgery is sometimes used as a last resort. Surgery can help relieve nerve root or spinal cord compression. A surgeon may also inject corticosteroid medications near the roots of the nerve to help with the pain. Numbing medications, such as lidocaine, are also sometimes injected into the nerve roots of the cervical spine, or the muscles in the neck.
Compensation for Neck Injuries
The many available treatments for neck injuries are often very successful, but they are also quite costly. Sometimes, accident victims must undergo these treatments for several months, or even years. Some have to continue on with treatment for the rest of their lives. As such, victims need compensation in order to pay for it all.
In Texas, accident victims can claim personal injury compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Property damage (such as in a car accident)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical disfigurement or impairment
Your neck injury lawyer will help you document and calculate all the damages you have suffered after an accident. It is important to know that this is not something that can be determined immediately, as it will take time to understand the true extent of your injury and how it may affect you in the future.
Contact a San Antonio Neck Injury Attorney for Help
Neck injuries are very serious and can affect a person for many weeks, months, or the rest of their lives. If you’ve suffered a neck injury due to an accident that was at the fault of someone else, contact the experienced Texas neck injury attorneys at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund to assist with your case.
Our powerful team of personal injury lawyers will thoroughly investigate your case and demand every bit of compensation you are entitled to receive. Please contact us today to set up your free consultation.