Many car accident victims suffer from neck injuries. Even if you’re in a vehicle with the latest safety features, the simple truth is that our necks are delicate and vulnerable to serious harm, even in crashes that occur at low speeds.
Your neck is strong enough to support the weight of your head, but also flexible so that you can move in many directions. The impact of a car accident can thrust the neck in sudden and unnatural ways, resulting in serious and sometimes permanent injuries.
Getting treatment for a neck injury can cost thousands of dollars. If the injury is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may end up with more bills than you can afford to pay. But if you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation under Hawaii law.
At Recovery Law Center in Honolulu, our compassionate auto injury lawyer can help alleviate the stress that you and your family have been coping with since your car accident. To attorney Glenn Honda and his team, you are more than just a name on a case file. You’re a friend. We’ll listen to your story, explain your legal rights and fight for full and fair compensation for you.
Understanding Neck Injuries
The neck has an incredible responsibility to the rest of the body. In addition to protecting the nerves that send out all sensory and motor signals, the neck also transports blood from the heart to the brain. When any of those functions are interrupted by a sudden trauma from a car crash, the results could be life-threatening.
The neck is made up of seven vertebrae (bones) that are also referred to as the cervical spine. In between each vertebra is a disk made up of a jelly-like material that provides stability and flexibility to the neck. Muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and arteries support the neck and keep the brain well-nourished with blood.
The neck also contains structures that enable us to speak (larynx, or “voice box,” and vocal cords), eat (esophagus, or “food pipe”) and breathe (trachea, or “windpipe”). Damage to these areas in a car crash may cause permanent nerve damage and other disorders.
Types of Neck Injuries
The most common neck injuries from a car accident include:
- Soft tissue damage: An injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck can lead to painful sprains and strains.
- Whiplash: Typically associated with rear-end accidents, whiplash is caused by the sudden back-and-forth snap of the neck at the moment of impact. Although whiplash could be classified as a neck sprain or strain, the Mayo Clinic notes that whiplash can cause far more than just pain and stiffness. Headaches, pain that spreads to the arms and legs, vision changes, memory problems and ringing in the ears are also associated with whiplash.
- Pinched nerve: Also known as cervical radiculopathy, this happens when a nerve in the neck is compressed. A pinched nerve interrupts proper nerve signals from reaching the arm and hand, leading to numbness and overall muscle weakness. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a pinched nerve often occurs along with damage to the cervical spine.
- Herniated disk: A car crash can cause the disks in between the neck’s vertebrae to slip out of alignment, irritating the nerves around it. This condition is known as a herniated or ruptured disk and can cause pain, a “pins and needles” sensation in one arm, numbness, or a burning feeling in the shoulders, neck and arms.
In addition to these typical injuries, an auto accident can also cause lesser known injuries such as:
- Vocal cord paralysis: The vocal cords do much more than help us speak. They also prevent food, drink and saliva from entering the airway so that we can breathe. Nerve damage to the larynx after a car crash can cause temporary or permanent paralysis in one or both vocal cords. The most severe cases may put a victim in danger or choking or inhaling foods or liquids, which can cause serious infections like pneumonia.
- Vertebral or cervical artery dissection: A sudden injury to the neck can tear the arteries supplying blood to the brain. This can create a blood clot, which can cause a stroke if it breaks free or completely cuts off blood flow to the brain.
Neck Injury Symptoms
If you’ve been in a car accident in Honolulu or anywhere on Oahu, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to be checked for any neck trauma.
Keep in mind that symptoms of some neck injuries won’t appear until days after a wreck. Be on the lookout for symptoms such as:
- Persistent pain
- Blurry vision
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in sensation or feeling in the neck, shoulders and arms
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty hearing
If you’ve been diagnosed with a mild neck injury, your doctor may recommend a conservative treatment that requires over-the-counter pain medications and rest. More severe injuries can require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
Let Our Honolulu Whiplash Injury Lawyers Help You
Most people can expect to be in some sort of car accident during their lifetimes. Whether it’s a single-car crash, minor fender bender or a serious collision, it’s reasonable to expect that there will be considerable expenses associated with the accident.
The stakes are even higher if you or a loved one has been injured. Even a mild neck injury takes time to heal and may require wearing a neck brace, physical therapy and costly painkillers. People with more serious injuries may not be able to return to their jobs or work at the same level they did before, resulting in lost wages and the reduced ability to earn a meaningful household income.
In Hawaii, these kinds of costs can be recouped with a successful car accident claim. You can also receive compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering. However, the first thing you need to do is talk to a reliable and skilled attorney.
There’s no need to worry about any upfront fees — we only get paid if we obtain compensation for you.
Call (808) 400-7449 or use our online contact form to get started.
Mayo Clinic: “Whiplash.”
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Cervical Radiculopathy.”
Harvard Medical School: “When pain in the neck is serious.”