The neck is perhaps one of the most important body parts a person can take for granted—until an injury makes even the slightest movement painful. The extent of your neck injury impacts your ability to perform daily tasks and makes it impossible to work. When the injury results due to the negligent actions of another person, they may face liability for your damages.
Common Causes of Neck Injuries
Car accidents are common causes of neck injuries, especially rear-end collisions. The impact of a rear-end collision can cause the neck to move back-and-forth rapidly. The Mayo Clinic compares this forceful motion to the cracking of a whip.
Rear-end collisions can occur when a driver loses control of their vehicle due to one or more of the following actions:
A survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that more than 80 percent of drivers admitted to expressing aggression or rage behind the wheel within the past 30 days. Aggressive driving includes such actions as purposely tailgating and speeding.
The National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes during 2019. Reduced visibility and reaction times are just two examples of how alcohol affects the ability to drive.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists three main forms of distraction:
- Visual: Removes your eyes from the road
- Manual: Removes your hands from the wheel
- Cognitive: Removes your mind from driving
Sometimes coffee is not enough to keep a driver awake and alert. The National Sleep Foundation survey found that 60 percent of respondents admitted to driving while drowsy within the previous 30 days. Nodding off behind the wheel due to a lack of sleep or undiagnosed sleep disorder can cause serious and deadly harm to others.
This is not a complete list but rather a few examples of how a driver can cause a rear-end collision. Even if you observe them in your rearview mirror, it is often too late to avoid the impact of a crash. If you or a loved one suffered a neck injury due to a driver’s reckless actions, you may want to contact a personal injury lawyer for a free case consultation.
Whiplash: More Than a Sore Neck
The neck contains bone, arteries, and other components that make whiplash a serious injury and more than just a sore neck.
Accident victims who experience this type of injury may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Reduced or lost range of neck motion
- Headaches starting at the base of the skull
The sore neck you experienced from a rear-end or another type of collision may indicate a larger problem.
Seeking immediate medical attention is imperative for two reasons:
- With a proper diagnosis, you can receive the treatment and care you need.
- Your medical record serves as important documentation of your accident-related injury.
Establishing a clear record of when and where you received treatment is critical for a personal injury claim and lawsuit. Insurance companies seek to find any reason possible to deny or to delay a claim. Delaying medical treatment for your injuries is something they can most likely use against you when you fight for compensation.
Other Causes of Neck Injuries
In addition to car accidents, neck injuries can occur in the following situations:
- Sports activities
- Construction accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
Negligence is possible in any of these and other types of accidents that result in a neck injury. A lawyer can explain the civil process and get to work managing the details of your claim and lawsuit.
Common Types of Compensation in Personal Injury Cases
A neck injury like that of whiplash can result in significant time missed from work. From desk jobs to construction careers, the ability to turn your neck without pain is vital to completing your work.
Anxiety can quickly mount as the medical bills begin to arrive and your income stops. The stress of your situation can prohibit your ability to relax and rest—two important components for healing.
The types of compensation typically pursued in a personal injury case include:
- Medical expenses: If your injuries are so severe that you required an air ambulance, you may face thousands of dollars in flight costs. Additional medical expenses include fees for your care once you arrive at a medical facility.
- Ongoing medical costs associated with long-term care: These costs may involve such care as various therapies, prescription medications, and rehabilitation. Planning for how to pay for your future medical needs is where a personal injury lawyer can help you.
- Time missed from work: A serious neck injury can end your career or delay a return to your job. The wages or potential income you lose during and after your recovery are important damages.
- Pain and suffering: In addition to the financial impact, a neck injury can affect you physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Holding the responsible driver accountable for their actions is easier with a personal injury lawyer by your side.
No one personal injury case is alike. The outcome of your case may differ from another case involving a neck injury related to a car accident.
The Settlement Process
Fighting for a fair settlement requires strong negotiation skills. Insurance companies want to protect their best interests and not the interests of accident victims seeking compensation. An initial settlement offer may seem like the answer to your financial stress when in fact, it is the least amount they want to offer.
Settling your claim as quickly as possible—and before you secure a lawyer—is a common factor in why an insurance adjuster may contact you soon after your accident. The adjuster may use pushy tactics designed to pressure you into accepting their initial offer.
The danger with accepting their offer without legal guidance is that doing so closes your claim. The insurance company moves on, leaving you no further options for compensation if your medical condition worsens.
While compensation is never guaranteed, it is worth fighting for the best possible outcome of your case. A personal injury lawyer has the negotiation skills and the trial skills necessary if your case goes to court.
Many personal injury cases never reach a courtroom. Most insurance companies understand the time and money-saving options of settling out of court. However, your case may necessitate taking the important step of a jury trial. A lawyer can prepare and present your case before a judge and jury professionally and compellingly.
Why You Must Act Quickly
A neck injury can cause you to put off important tasks—like collecting evidence, filing the necessary documents, or contacting an attorney. Time can fly by following an accident, meaning evidence can be lost, witness memories can fade, and you may even be barred from pursuing compensation should the statute of limitations expire.
Evidence Is Valuable for Your Case
Regardless of how your injury occurred, evidence can help your lawyer build the best case possible.
Important evidence includes but is not limited to:
- Photographs and videos of the scene
- Police reports or store incident reports in cases involving slip and fall accidents
- Contact information for eye-witnesses
- A copy of your medical records and related expenses
Take Neck Injuries Seriously
After a serious crash, you may feel relieved to realize you simply have a sore neck. Never assume your neck is just sore, but rather seek immediate medical attention. Complications from your neck injury can cause extensive medical costs if you do not take action following the crash.
A sore neck may indicate another type of injury. Only a medical professional using the proper tests can determine the true extent of your injuries. Taking your neck injury seriously following a traumatic crash is imperative for obtaining the medical care you need.
The driver responsible for your car accident should pay your medical costs. A California driver’s license is a privilege that far too many drivers abuse. Your defensive driving skills do little to prevent a rear-end collision that results in whiplash for you.
The neck serves an important role in your body’s daily functions. It is an essential part of the body and one that is easily taken for granted until injured. If you are dealing with significant neck pain and injury due to a negligent driver, a lawyer can help you.
You May Need Assistance
A free case evaluation is a great opportunity for learning more about how to move forward. Predicting the outcome of your case is impossible; however, the knowledge that someone is on your side is invaluable after such a traumatic event.
Personal injury lawyers work to help accident victims secure the best outcome possible. Whether your case settles out of court or goes to trial, managing your case alone is stressful. A lawyer can communicate with you throughout the process as you work to heal your neck injury.
Medical care is expensive and not something you should pay out-of-pocket when another person is responsible for your injury. If you suffered a serious neck injury due to another person’s reckless actions, seek immediate medical attention, and consider scheduling a free case consultation with an attorney as soon as possible.