Neck and spinal cord injuries both fall into the category of soft tissue injuries. These injuries can include a sprain or strain, contusion, laceration, and/or repetitive strain injuries, such as tendinitis. These are different from a broken or fractured bone in the sense that most soft tissue injuries will be able to heal themselves over time – after some physical therapy or other forms of traditional medical treatments. Unfortunately, despite some neck injuries requiring minimal treatment, more serious injuries may require neck surgery. When complications arise, some accident victims could find themselves suffering from pain, long-term disabilities, and limited neck movement. This can make leading your normal, active life difficult,.
Here at The Law Place, our personal injury lawyers recognize the potential severity of these injuries, and we strongly believe you should receive the justice you deserve and thus be suitably compensated. Our team boasts 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases similar to your own, and many of our lawyers are AVVO 10.0 rated. Therefore, you can be confident in our ability to win you a fair settlement. If you want to learn more about what we could do for you or just want to have some general legal questions answered, then contact our office today to schedule your own no-obligation free consultation.
Call The Law Place at (941) 444-4444 today. Our phone lines are open 24/7, so do not hesitate to pick up the phone.
Common Symptoms That May Indicate a Serious Neck Injury
Your neck acts as the beginning of your brain and spinal cord. It contains roughly two dozen separate vertebrae, as well as important tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Severe neck injuries can therefore cause a significant array of health issues. This may include a limited range of motion, muscle spasms, and neck stiffness. Other symptoms of a neck injury include, but are not limited to:
- Shooting pain in your neck.
- Stiff neck.
- Neck pain.
- Jaw pain.
- Severe headache.
- Upper shoulder and back pain.
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in areas.
However, in some cases, the neck injury may be more serious. Possible symptoms that follow a more severe neck injury includes:
- Total paralysis or an inability to move certain limbs.
- Severe neck stiffness.
- Nerve root compression
- A loss of balance/ vertigo.
- Loss of bowel control.
- Severe pain in the arm, chest, or shoulder area.
- Your neck muscles may feel weak.
- Decreased neck movement, e.g., this could mean you are unable to move your head forward.
Your neck and spinal cord are extremely delicate, and damage to these areas can have severe effects. These symptoms may not be immediately obvious, so you may not know how serious your neck sprain is. For these reasons, it is important you seek immediate medical attention if you suffer whiplash injuries or other injuries to your neck in a car accident. A physical examination by a medical professional will allow your injury to be detected (e.g., through magnetic resonance imaging) and suitably treated (e.g., designated physical therapy).
Why Can Neck Injuries Be Considered So Serious?
Neck pain is a very common complaint that can be caused by something as simple as poor posture or general wear and tear. However, it is important to be aware of the warning signs for when your neck pain has become a serious problem and when it may require medical care. You should see a doctor if your neck pain is accompanied by a loss of strength in your arms or legs, shooting pains into your shoulders, and/or arms/legs numbness.
Severe neck injuries can lead to serious issues such as paralysis or serious migraines. Issues such as these can be life-changing and extremely damaging. They also, unfortunately, have the potential to lead to certain psychological impacts. Many people who experience paralysis go on to suffer from depression or/and issues of isolation and anxiety. Because of the severe impact that an injury to your neck or spinal cord can have, it is important you see a doctor and contact a lawyer so that you can be suitably compensated.
What Can Cause a Neck Injury?
Your neck supports your head and is very flexible but made up of a complex structure. Therefore, it can be at risk of severe injuries. Multiple circumstances have the potential to cause neck injuries and cause neck pain. Potential causes include, but are not limited to:
- Auto accidents – Neck injuries are, sadly, very common in the event of a car accident. A whiplash injury occurs when a sudden stop causes your head to move forward and then back very quickly. Car accidents can also cause herniated discs, a torn muscle, and general (less serious) neck pain.
- Sports injuries – Sports, especially those which involve heavy lifting, can cause neck injuries. If your neck injury has been caused by inadequate supervision, equipment, and/or training, then you may be able to claim compensation from the liable party.
- Poor posture – Neck pain is extremely common for those who have bad posture. This is especially the case if you work continuously at a desk, look down at your phone for extended periods, and/or have poor sleeping positions. Certain stretching and strengthening exercises, awareness of your posture, and using a heating pad/ice pack can all help with this neck pain and will overall aid long term.
- Worn neck joints – As with any joints in your body, the joints in your neck will experience wear and tear as you grow older. Osteoarthritis can cause the cushioning between your bones (known as cartilage) to deteriorate. This can then cause your body to form bone spurs. This will affect joint movement and cause neck pain.
- Certain illnesses – Diseases and issues with spine health such as degenerative disc disease, meningitis, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis all have the potential to cause severe pain in the neck and back area. Genetics can contribute to the onset of some of these illnesses, so it is best to check if you have a family history of neck pain.
If you have been victim to any of these, then, given they were not your fault, you could be owed a financial settlement. Contact a personal injury lawyer from The Law Place today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn whether or not we believe your case could be compensated for.
How Are Neck Injuries Treated?
Sometimes neck pain can be treated easily from home and will not require professional medical intervention. Some common treatment methods include:
- Use good posture – When sitting and standing, it is best to always be aware of your posture. This means keeping your shoulders in a straight line over your hips, and your ears should be directly over your shoulders.
- Rest – It may sound basic, but resting your neck by refraining from any strenuous actions for a few days can greatly help your neck pain begin to heal. However, despite what you may think, a neck brace (aka a soft collar) or total bed rest is not typically the best option. Extensive rest can lead to the muscles in your neck weakening and thus increase your recovery time.
- Heat and cold therapy – Applying ice to the area within 48 hours of your injury or when you first notice the neck pain can help to reduce inflammation and any possible swelling. After the first 48 hours, either heat or ice can be applied. Heat will help improve blood circulation and thus help provide nutrients to the damaged tissue. If you do choose this method, then it is best to keep a layer (e.g., a cloth) between your skin and the hot or cold substance. This will protect the skin. Applications should be limited to 10-20 minute periods.
- Pain medication – It is sometimes advisable to take some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen). This will reduce inflammation which can consequently help with any pain. Pain relievers, such as paracetamol and aspirin, could also be useful. Always remember to check you are not exceeding the recommended dosage and seek medical attention as soon as possible if you have.
What If My Injury Is More Severe and Does Not Respond to This Treatment?
If your home treatment plan does not prove successful, then you should definitely consider seeing a medical professional as soon as possible. Other treatments may include the following:
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy could be deemed necessary so that the muscles and joints in your neck can be strengthened. In most cases, a physical therapist will assign their patients a series of exercises to complete over a number of weeks or months. These will hopefully relieve pain and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.
- Acupuncture – Despite the success of acupuncture not being scientifically proven, lots of people find that it is a good method to relieve pain. It is based on the theory that blockages of energy in the body can cause neck pain. In order to stop this blockage, thin needles are strategically placed across the body to restore a balanced flow of energy.
- Prescription medication – Sometimes, a medical professional will prescribe you stronger medication to help with your neck pain. Stronger forms of pain medication (such as analgesics or muscle relaxant pills) can help relieve any severe neck pain you are suffering from.
- Neck surgery – If your neck injury involved severe trauma (e.g., you suffered direct blows in a car accident), then surgery may be required. This is likely to lead to a longer recovery period but may be absolutely necessary for preventing any further injuries or issues with other joints.
- Massage therapy – Massages can increase blood flow to the muscles in your neck. This can help them relax and loosen, consequently providing effective relief from neck stiffness and will relieve pressure in your neck.
- Manual manipulation – An experienced medical professional will make manual adjustments to your cervical spine. The aim of this is to improve your neck’s range of motion, reduce pain, and realign your joints.
If you have had to seek any of the more serious aforementioned means of treatment for your neck pain, then it is likely your injury was severe enough to be compensated for. If you want to learn more about the money you could be owed
How Do I Determine Liability for My Neck Injury?
If your neck injuries were caused by an accident that was not your fault, then you could be owed compensation on the grounds of negligence. There are many scenarios whereby you could claim negligence. No matter the specific cause of your injuries, if it was not your fault, a case could be made.
As per Florida’s negligence laws, four factors must be established in your case so that liability can be assigned:
- Did the defendant owe you a duty of care? – Firstly, you and your lawyer must be able to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. An example of this would be that all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road that they will behave as reasonable people and follow all traffic laws to ensure their safety. All employers also have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their employees when in the workplace, as does any property owner when somebody visits their premises.
- Did they breach this duty of care? – Secondly, you must have evidence that the defendant breached the duty they owed to you. For example, if you can prove that the other driver in your auto accident was speeding at the time, then this would be evidence of them breaching their duty of care.
- Did this breach cause your injuries? – Thirdly, you must be able to prove that there was causation, i.e., that the defendant’s breach of their duty directly caused your injuries. This could be in the form of an action, e.g., their drunk driving caused you to be injured in a car accident. Alternatively, the breach could be inaction, e.g., a grocery store’s failure to clear a spillage caused you to fall and injure your neck.
- Did you suffer damages? – Finally, you must prove your injuries led to damages, e.g., you have sustained medical bills and lost wages.
What Damages Will I Be Able to Claim for Following a Neck Injury?
- Medical bills – If you had to seek medical care because of your neck injuries, then you should be able to include any consequential medical bills in your claim. Similarly, if your injuries require ongoing treatment, then any expected medical costs can also be factored into your settlement.
- Lost wages – Neck injuries often require some time to rest and recuperate. If you have had time off from work and thus have missed out on an income, then any lost wages can be included in your settlement. Similarly, if you cannot return to work, you may be able to claim for a loss of earning capability.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering include any mental or physical suffering you endured because of your neck injury, as well as any loss of enjoyment in life. Loss of enjoyment aims to compensate you if you are now unable to enjoy activities you once did, e.g., not being able to partake in your weekly baseball team. It is important to keep in mind that pain and suffering are hard to prove and to translate into an appropriate sum. Because of this, it is best to hire a lawyer to help you with your case.
- Property damage – This is not directly specific to your neck pain, but if any of your property was damaged in the accident that caused your injury, then you could claim for property damage. This would include any repair or replacement costs, e.g., if your vehicle was damaged in a traffic accident. It is important you keep evidence of these costs, e.g., receipts from the mechanic’s shops.
Will Comparative Negligence Laws Affect My Settlement?
Possibly! Florida’s comparative negligence laws are explained in Florida Statute 768.81. Comparative negligence means that your Judge will assign liability for your injuries, and your settlement will then be suitably adjusted to reflect any fault you had for your own accident, if any.
For example, if you sustained your neck injury in a traffic accident that was mostly caused by another driver driving whilst intoxicated, but you were also proven to be distracted by a notification on your phone, then the Judge working your case may reduce your settlement by roughly 10%. This percentage reflects your own liability whilst also still punishing the suitable party. Drunk driving is seen as a more serious driving offense than being slightly distracted.
Is There a Time Limit on My Personal Injury Case?
Yes! Florida Statute 95.11 explains Florida’s statute of limitations. If you wish to file a claim for your neck injuries, then you will have four years from the date your accident occurred to put forward this claim for compensation. If you fail to meet this deadline, then the courts will permanently bar your case from being heard, and you will be unable to receive any compensation for your injuries. This is reduced to two years in the unfortunate case of wrongful death.
Furthermore, Florida Statute 627.736 explains that you will have two weeks from the date of your accident to seek medical attention. If you fail to do so, then insurance companies can use this against you as a means to reduce your settlement value. It is also to protect your own health and safety as most neck injuries are not visible and require special imaging tests.
Contact a Lawyer From The Law Place Today!
If you have suffered neck injuries in Florida because of another person’s negligence, then do not hesitate to contact The Law Place today as you could be owed compensation! Here at The Law Place, our team prides itself in going above and beyond for our clients, and with 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases such as your own, we are more than ready to take on the challenge. If you do decide to seek legal representation from us, then one of our dedicated lawyers will be by your side to help guide you through the confusion of a personal injury claim and take on this legal battle for you.
If you wish to schedule a free consultation with our team, then call our office at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.