Cervical Spine Injury from a Car Accident

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Woman Holding Neck Next to Cars After AccidentMotor vehicle accidents cause nearly half of all new spinal cord injuries in America. Collisions are the leading cause of these devastating injuries. Damage to the cervical region of the spine can be life-changing. If you have a cervical spine injury from a car accident, you might be eligible for compensation. Max Meyers Law will talk to to you at no charge to see if we can assist you in your case.

Call us at 425-399-7000 for a free consultation.

Cervical Spinal injuries and How They Can Happen in a Car Crash

The cervical section of your spine is the area most people call the neck. The seven vertebrae of the cervical region connect the base of the skull with the thoracic region of the spine in your upper back. Going from the top (the base of the skull) downward toward the thoracic region, your cervical vertebrae are C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-5, C-6, and C-7. These bones surround and protect the spinal cord.

When the cervical vertebrae get broken, dislocated, or crushed, broken bits of bone can pierce and sever the spinal cord. A spinal injury can rob the patient of all function below the point of the damage, which is why many cervical injuries result in paralysis of the arms and legs as well as loss of respiratory and other abilities.

A car accident can injure your cervical spinal if:

  • The force of the crash ejects you from the car.
  • The impact throws your body violently inside the vehicle.
  • A sharp object pierces your neck.
  • You sustain a direct blow to the head, neck, chest, shoulders, or upper back.

Types of Cervical Spinal Injuries

If you have no control over moving your body below the level of the injury and you have no sensation in the same area, you have a complete spinal cord injury. If you retain some motor function or feeling below the damage, you have an incomplete injury.

Paraplegia refers to the loss of movement or sensation below the waist. Quadriplegia, also called tetraplegia, is paralysis and loss of feeling in the arms and legs, as well as trunk and pelvic organs. People with quadriplegia often require respirators to breathe.

Symptoms of a Cervical Spinal Injury

In the case of a complete cervical spinal injury, the patient is unable to move or feel their arms and legs. With an incomplete injury, the patient might lose any of these: sensation, movement, and control of the bladder or bowels. The person could experience spasms, neck pain, or difficulty breathing.

What to Do if You Suspect a Car Accident Caused a Cervical Spinal Injury

Injuries to the cervical portion of the spine can cause permanent paralysis from the neck down. These injuries can be fatal. If you think that you or someone else sustained a cervical spine injury from a car accident, call 911 for an ambulance. Make sure the emergency personnel do not move you or the injured person before notifying them of the possible cervical injury. Moving you incorrectly can cause irreversible damage to your spine.

How Your Life Can Change in the Short-Term After a Cervical Spinal Injury

When you sustain a cervical spinal injury, the rest of your life comes to a screeching halt. You will likely be in intensive care for at least several days, while your medical team works frantically on reducing the swelling and compression around your spinal nerves.

They will immobilize your head and neck to prevent additional damage. You will have imaging studies (X-rays, MRIs, and other tests) to get detailed information about your vertebrae and spinal cord. You will likely undergo several surgeries to remove pressure from the spinal cord and stabilize your neck.

By the end of the first week or so, your treatment team will put together a plan for your treatment and recuperation. You will likely face long months of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other interventions at a spinal cord injury rehabilitation center.

Compensation for Your Initial Losses from a Cervical Spinal Injury

If someone else is liable for your injury, you can make a claim for your initial damages, which can include your:

Long-Term Consequences of a Cervical Spinal Injury

Depending on the extent of your cervical spinal injury, you might be facing a lifetime of changes, which are also compensable, including:

  • Ongoing medical care
  • Equipment, like wheelchairs, respirators, home modifications, adaptive vehicles, and other mobility items and supplies
  • Lost income
  • Physical pain and mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Long-term assistance with daily living activities
  • Depression and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Your spouse’s loss of consortium

Getting Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer

The Max Meyers Law accident injury team will evaluate the facts of your situation and tell you if we can assist you. We do not charge for performing this service for people who have suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

We will investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, review your medical records, and fight to get you all the compensation you deserve. To set up your free, no-obligation consultation, please call us today at 425-399-7000. 
Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.