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Couture Law P.A. » Tampa » Neck Injuries

Neck Injury Attorney
In Tampa

We proudly defend truck injury victims in Hillsborough County

Neck injuries commonly occur in certain types of accidents. Because the neck plays a role in most day-to-day tasks, an injury can limit mobility and directly impact the accident victim’s lifestyle. Performing work duties, caring for children, and participating in sports and hobbies can suddenly become a struggle. Individuals who sustain a neck injury due to someone else’s negligence may be entitled to compensation.

Causes of neck injuries

Neck injuries can be caused by several personal injuries. Examples include:
  • car accidents
  • commercial truck accidents
  • motorcycle accidents
  • boat accidents
  • slip and fall accidents

The cervical spine is exposed in varying degrees in most accidents. Therefore, the force of a collision can cause the neck to move from side to side or front to back. When the neck moves, muscles or ligaments may become overstretched and other injuries may occur to the bones and soft tissue.

Accidents can cause a herniated disc

Discs are soft cushions located between the vertebrae that allow the spine to stack. The inner portion of a disc is soft and jelly-like. A tough, rubbery outer surface encases in a soft center. Herniation occurs when the center bulges through the rubbery outer casing. A herniated disc is also sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, a ruptured disc, or a bulging disc. In an accident, the sudden jerking movement caused by the collision can create pressure on a disc and cause the disc to become herniated. A cervical disc herniation occurs in the neck portion of the spine, also known as the cervical spine.

Symptoms of a cervical disc herniation

Signs of a cervical disc herniation are most often observed in the neck or upper body. The intensity of the pain may be dull or sharp. The location of the pain may vary from the neck to the area between the shoulder blades and radiate down into the arms and fingers. The pain may intensify with certain postures and movements. Doctors typically treat cervical herniation with pain medication or muscle relaxers and physical therapy. A small percentage of cases require surgery. A doctor is more likely to recommend surgery if the disc material presses against the spinal cord. Symptoms of spinal cord compression include:
  • Difficulty using the hands and arms
  • Tingling or a shock feeling in the torso or legs
  • Stumbling when walking

Whiplash caused by Tampa accidents

One of the most common traffic accident injuries is whiplash. The term “whiplash” refers to the whipping motion the head and neck make in a vehicle accident. A collision from behind often causes the head to be pushed forward and then backward. A frontal collision may create a similar motion in reverse. The whipping motion can cause the neck muscles and ligaments to strain or sprain. Strains and sprains are very similar. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon becomes injured as a result of being forced beyond its range of motion. Tendons connect muscles to bones whereas ligaments connect two bones together at the body’s joints. A sprain happens when a ligament is forced beyond its range of motion. A sprained ligament can cause a muscle to tear. Symptoms of whiplash include:
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues

The symptoms of whiplash can be mild, or they can be highly uncomfortable. Doctors generally treat the condition by initially recommending ice or heat therapy and over-the-counter medication for pain. Very minor cases will resolve within a few days or a few weeks. In some cases, a doctor may recommend physical therapy and a soft neck brace. Some whiplash patients require a steroid injection to reduce inflammation. Doctors often refer patients to massage or chiropractic care for lingering cases of whiplash. Most patients fully recover within a few weeks. Nevertheless, some people have a longer recovery timeline that may take several months or even a few years to fully resolve the injury.

Pinched nerve pain after an accident

A pinched nerve occurs when there is compression on a nerve or group of nerves. In an accident, inflammation from an injury such as a herniated disc or vertebral fracture may create pressure that pinches a nerve. In the case of a herniated disc, the jelly-like interior leaks out and presses against a nerve. A pinched nerve in the neck typically affects the upper body. Pain, tingling, or numbness radiates into an arm, a hand, or the fingers, usually only on one side of the body. An individual who has a pinched nerve may also experience muscle weakness or weakened reflexes.

Signs of a pinched nerve may not be apparent at first. Therefore, accident victims should always seek medical attention immediately after the accident. Medical professionals use the following imaging tools to diagnose a pinched nerve:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • EMG

Treatment for a pinched nerve may involve immobilization, medication, physical therapy, or steroid injection. A doctor may recommend surgery to remove the source of the compression. If a bulging disc is the cause of the compression, the surgeon would remove the portion of the disc that is ruptured.

Accidents may cause a neck fracture

A neck fracture is also known as a cervical fracture or a fractured or broken vertebra. A car or truck accident may cause a vertebra to fracture when the head and neck are suddenly jolted by the force of the collision. The impact of a motorcyclist falling onto the ground in an accident may cause a fractured vertebra. A slip and fall accident can also cause a neck fracture. It is very important that individuals who have a neck injury receive immediate medical attention after an accident. The first step medical professionals take if they suspect a cervical fracture is to immobilize the neck to minimize the potential for spinal cord injury.

Symptoms of a cervical fracture can vary depending on the location of the fracture and whether there are other related injuries. Nevertheless, common symptoms are:

  • pain at the site of the fracture during movement or when pressure is applied
  • reduced range of movement in the neck and surrounding areas
  • weakened neck muscles
  • reduced balance
  • difficulty standing from a seated position
  • difficulty moving while in bed

Treatment for a fractured vertebra can vary depending on the location of the fracture. First, medical professionals will stabilize the neck by placing the patient in a collar and backboard. If necessary, traction is used to realign the spine. In severe cases, surgical placement of a bone graft and plates may be necessary at the site of the fracture.

The timeline for a vertebral fracture treatment can be as long as a few months. During this time, the individual must typically wear restrictive braces because the spine is so delicate. Accident victims who have a vertebral fracture are usually required to miss work and are unable to perform most daily tasks as they would normally. Courts consider these factors when determining award amounts for plaintiffs in personal injury cases.

Spinal cord injuries from accidents

Spinal cord injuries are usually among the most severe injuries sustained in personal injury accidents. The spinal cord is a tube made of nerve tissue that is encased by the spine. The spinal cord carries nerve signals to all parts of the body. The cervical spine is especially close to the brain. Therefore, spinal cord injuries in this region have a greater potential to affect more parts of the body. These injuries often cause loss of sensory function. Injuries that occur higher up on the cervical spine can be fatal. Medical professionals determine the severity of a spinal cord injury by using diagnostic imaging. They may initially administer a steroid anti-inflammatory and steroidal drugs to reduce swelling as swelling is can cause secondary injury in the delicate area.

Prognosis varies depending on the severity of the injury. Spinal cord injuries are often permanent. If necessary, doctors perform surgery. After the swelling subsides, the recovery process can begin. The recovery process is focused on stabilizing the injury. If the injury caused paralysis, the individual will undergo a rehab process to teach them how to use the non-paralyzed parts of the body. Some people who have a cervical spine injury require round-the-clock care for life.

Cervical spinal cord injuries commonly impact the injured party’s overall lifestyle. Therefore, courts most often award emotional damages and compensation for future medical expenses and future lost income in these cases. A Tampa accident lawyer can determine the types of compensation an accident victim may receive and file a personal injury claim accordingly.

Liability in neck injury accidents

The person who is responsible for negligently causing an accident victim’s injury is liable under state law. Therefore, a civil court may order that person to compensate the victim for his or her injuries. In some cases like DUI accidents, courts may also order the liable party to pay punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate the injured party for his or her losses, punitive damages are solely intended to punish the party that caused the injury. Punitive damages serve a greater purpose of discouraging others from engaging in egregiously negligent or reckless conduct. Nevertheless, punitive damages are also usually paid directly to the plaintiff.

How is liability determined in falls?

In traffic accidents involving a collision between cars and trucks, pedestrians, and motorcycles, the driver is typically the liable party if he or she behaved negligently. There are some cases in which liability may be shared or an additional party may be legally responsible. A property owner may cause a car, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident by improperly maintaining a parking lot or driveway. A manufacturer may be liable if a defective part causes an accident.

Liability in premises liability accidents

A premises liability accident occurs when an individual gets hurt on someone else’s property. The most popular examples of premises liability cases are “slip and fall” accidents in which a visitor slips and falls on someone’s property due to a negligent hazard created by the property owner or business. In these accidents, the liable party is the property owner or a manager or business that is responsible for maintaining the property. Depending on the nature of the injured visitor’s presence on the property, he or she may be able to receive compensation for his or her injuries in a civil court claim.

Filing a claim for a neck injury in Tampa

After receiving medical attention, Tampa accident victims should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to explore the available legal options. Some accident victims will need to contact their own and the other party’s insurance company to file a claim for an insurance settlement. Your personal injury lawyer can handle all discussions and negotiations with the insurance companies. If you are unable to obtain a fair settlement from the insurance company, your attorney may file a claim in civil court.

Florida imposes a four-year statute of limitations in Tampa personal injury cases. Therefore, accident victims who opt to file a civil court claim must do so within four years of the date the accident occurred. It is always better to get an attorney involved early while witnesses’ memories of the accident are still fresh and other evidence is more likely to be readily available and unchanged. Your accident lawyer will work diligently to establish your case and fight for your rights to the compensation you deserve.

Contact us to receive a complimentary case evaluation. We will keep your information confidential and handle your case with the utmost compassion and professionalism. Our staff will work hard to obtain the most favorable outcome in your case while you focus on healing.

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Couture Law P.A. » Tampa » Neck Injuries
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