Some of the most common injuries experienced by auto accident victims are neck and back injuries. Some of these injuries, like whiplash, might not manifest symptoms for several days after the collision occurs. In many cases, it is also difficult to tell what the lasting consequences of the injuries will be as some people can heal much better than others, who experience lingering complications.
If you have suffered a neck or back injury, you need to understand the full extent of damage you have endured and you need to make certain you seek full and fair compensation for losses.
Common Neck and Back Injuries After Car Accidents
While many different kinds of neck and back injuries can happen after auto accidents, some of the most common injuries victims experience include:
- Disc injuries: Discs are spongy cushions that separate vertebrae in the spinal column and which give the spine its flexibility. A disc could slip or rupture as a result of the impact from an auto accident. This is called a herniated disc, and it can cause substantial pain because the disc no longer has its cushioning ability, which puts pressure on nerves. Limited mobility and weakness in the parts of the body where the affected nerve travels is also possible.
- Spinal cord damage: If the spinal cord is damaged, full or partial paralysis could result depending upon the extent of the injury and the location on the spine where the damage happened.
- Compression fracture: Compression fractures are tiny fractures of the bones in the spine. Eventually, these tiny cracks can result in vertebrae deformities or can cause the collapse of vertebrae. Breathing difficulties and pain can result.
- Cervical Radiculopathy: This is a medical term for a pinched nerve which can occur when the nerve is irritated by a bone spur or ruptured disc. Pain and weakness are common results.
- Neck sprain or strain: This occurs when ligaments and muscles in the neck become overextended or damaged as a result of the head jolting forward due to the force of the auto accident impact.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a broad term which refers to both the cause and type of injury to the neck. A victim can suffer whiplash when the neck is forced to quickly stretch to an unnatural degree due to the impact of an auto accident. The soft tissues of the neck can be damaged. A whiplash sufferer may develop chronic whiplash, which means pain, limited mobility, and other symptoms that can persist for months or years following the injury.
These and other back and neck injuries can happen even in low speed accidents. It is important to be able to show the crash was the cause of the injury and to be able to demonstrate the full extent of damage in order to obtain compensation.