Neck Injury Claims
There is a very wide range of neck injuries and they are frequently accompanied by back and shoulder problems. The most serious can result in devastating disability such as paraplegia. However, by far the most common type of neck injury is relatively minor strain to the tendons and muscles of the neck often referred to as ‘whiplash’.
Severe Neck Injury
Trauma to the neck and back can lead to spinal cord injury and permanent disability. If trauma occurs, the neck and back should be splinted and movement should be avoided. Accurately determining the cause and extent of the injury is important. The vertebral column has many ligaments and muscles that protect the spinal cord and assist in movement. Injury to any of these structures may cause significant and debilitating pain, even if a neck or back injury does not involve the nerves.
Car Accident Claims and Whiplash Injury
Neck injuries are extremely common in the event of road traffic accidents, in particular. In such circumstances, they are usually referred to as 'whiplash' injuries. Whiplash is the effect of very sudden acceleration or deceleration.
In car accidents, when cars travelling forwards crash, the driver and any passengers are thrown forwards. If wearing seatbelts, they will be restrained from the shoulder. Since the head is not restrained, it will continue to move forward at the same speed that the car was travelling before it crashed. When you realise that a human head can weigh up to a stone, you can imagine the huge strain the head puts on the muscles, bones and sinews of the neck when it is suddenly accelerated at the moment of impact and then almost immediately decelerated. In high speed accidents, the muscles and sinews are momentarily stretched as the head is forced forward before immediately contracting and pulling the head violently back to it's original position. The effect is like an elastic band being stretched and released. The difference is that the neck does not possess the same flexibility and serious and painful injury almost always results.
The overall effect in such accidents is similar although sometimes not as pronounced as when a stationary car is struck form behind.
A road user wearing any kind of head protection can be at risk of greater whiplash injuries in accidents because, for example, a cycling or motorcycling helmet increases the effective weight of the head and, therefore, the force which the neck muscles have to manage in the event of an accident.
Whiplash Injury Symptoms
Symptoms of this type of personal injury include, initial pains in the neck and the upper part of the spine at the base of the neck. Dizziness and headaches following accidents are not uncommon. Sometimes the initial symptoms subside very quickly and it appears that there is no significant injury at all but then some of the other effects of this type of personal injury start to appear. Usually, there is stiffness in the neck and upper spine combined with restricted movement and loss of flexibility. There may also be pain and damage to the muscles of the mouth and throat as they stretched and twisted at extremes of movement. Headaches and dizziness are also common personal injury features following accidents of these types.
So how do you know you have suffered whiplash injury after being involved in an accident ? Well, in a sense, it does not matter since so long as you have a personal injury after an accident in which someone else was to blame, you are entitled to claim compensation for it. There are large numbers of personal injury claims for whiplash injuries. It does not matter that an injury does not fit into a convenient category of accidents or personal injury. You may have a number of different types of personal injury. However, since this type of personal injury is very common and the symptoms fairly predictable, any general practitioner would be able to diagnose the injury after an examination and straightforward consultation.
Treatment for Neck Injury
For whiplash injuries, the most common forms of treatment are painkillers and anti inflammatory drugs. Physiotherapy is sometimes helpful. Unfortunately in the more severe cases, it can take several months for the pain to subside but the injuries do in most instances settle and the neck and back return to their normal state. It is important that medical assistance is sought as soon as possible after the accident.
It is worthwhile remembering that, if you do suffer any kind of personal injury, and you are prevented from working, you will be able to make a claim for loss of earnings. Further, if your quality of life is significantly affected, your compensation award in will be higher taking such matters into consideration. For example, you may be prevented from playing for your local pub football team or from playing in your local squash league. Sometimes, the effect on your quality of life life may not be as clear as that. If, for example, you become depressed because of the severity of your personal injury or the length of time it is taking to resolve or you become anxious in certain situations or your confidence is affected your award will be higher.
In a straightforward case, where liability is accepted by the other driver it should not take longer than around 3 -6 months to settle claims for personal injury compensation after an accident and for you to receive your award free from any deductions at all.