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Neck Injury Resulting from an Auto Accident: Steps to Take

Friday, January 27, 2023 9:30 AM

Doran Beam Farrell Jan 2023 1 pic

Neck injuries following a car accident can be severe, resulting in permanent disability, chronic pain, or a potentially life-threatening condition. Victims of car accidents must be able to identify signs and symptoms of neck injuries and seek medical attention immediately.

Knowing what steps to take following a collision is also essential. Acting quickly can help you ensure a successful recovery, avoid a lifetime of pain and disability, and receive the compensation you deserve.

What neck injuries are caused by car accidents?

Rear-end collisions are the most common cause of injury after a car accident. Drivers’ and passengers’ heads are thrown backward and forward by the force of an accident and can cause severe injuries to the neck, including:

  • Soft tissue damage. A tear, sprain, or strain to your neck.
  • A neck injury that results from the rapid and forceful back-and-forth movement
  • Slipped disk. This is when intervertebral discs of the cervical spine are displaced and compress the spinal cord nerves.
  • A herniated disc. This occurs when the disc’s outer shell breaks or tears, and the internal fluid leaks into the spinal channel or presses against nerves in the spinal cord.
  • A facet joint injury. If the cervical spine’s facet joints become inflamed or irritated, it can affect surrounding ligaments and limit’s range of motion.
  • Neck fracture. A fracture in any bone of the neck.
  • Cervical spine stenosis. The narrowing of your spinal canal or passages for spinal nerve roots in your neck.

In addition, accident victims may experience the following symptoms after a car accident:

  • Jaw pain
  • Limited range of movement
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Vertigo and other balance issues
  • Numbness in the upper limbs
  • Difficulty inhaling or swallowing

Steps to take if you have sustained a neck injury

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. If a neck injury is caused by a car accident, it is crucial to get the proper diagnostic tests and treatment. Your doctor cannot treat you unless they understand the cause of your symptoms. The appropriate diagnostic testing, such as an MRI scan, will allow your doctor to determine the best course for treatment and make appropriate referrals. Additionally, Florida law requires that the injured receive initial medical treatment within 14 days of the accident to collect benefits for medical expenses under personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you do not, then you waive your benefits.
  2. Document sooner than later. It is always easier to avoid problems with your insurance company by early documentation. Whether from reporting your symptoms at the emergency room or your family doctor, a medical report can help document that your neck injury or symptoms started directly after the car accident. If it does turn out to be a more severe injury, you’ve documented the early symptoms. You can avoid many problems arising when an insurance company denies a causal relationship and refuses to pay for medical treatment. Early treatment and medical documentation create the temporal relationship insurance companies will look for when asked to pay for necessary medical care.
  3. Show a relationship between the collision and your injuries. It is easier to obtain a fair and full legal settlement for your injuries if there is a clear and measurable causal relationship between the crash and documentation of treatment for a condition or injury. Delays in seeking medical attention will make it more difficult for you to recover successfully and quickly. Additionally, it will be more difficult for your attorney to convince a reluctant insurance company to cover your treatment and make it harder to get a fair legal settlement.
  4. Don’t “tough it out.” A neck injury could signify a more severe injury, which may even prove fatal if you do not seek immediate treatment. There have been many cases where people thought they would complain. But within days or weeks, what they thought was a minor injury or something that would disappear becomes much more severe.
  5. Contact your auto insurance company. Inform your auto insurance company about the crash and that you sustained an injury in a car accident. Florida drivers must carry no-fault insurance. If you are involved in an accident, you can file a claim against your PIP insurance coverage, which covers up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages (if not excluded). To submit to your insurance provider, keep detailed records of all medical bills and lost wages. If you sustain serious injuries, you also can file a claim against the at-fault driver. Florida Statute § 627.737 defines serious injuries as permanent and significant disfigurement, significant and permanent loss of an essential bodily function, permanent impairment or disability, and death. By hiring our law firm, we would handle all communication with the insurance companies on your behalf.
  6. Don’t sign anything. You should only sign settlements, waivers, or releases from an insurance company (yours, the at-fault driver’s, or otherwise) relating to your collision once you speak with an experienced attorney who will look out for your best interests.
  7. Consult with a car accident attorney. Our experienced lawyers have assisted people with neck injuries after car accidents, and our initial consultation is free. During the consultation, you will learn what your insurance company is responsible for and what benefits you have regarding medical care and wage loss. In addition, our attorneys can review your medical records and the treatment you are receiving to ensure that bills are being paid. We also help you determine how much your case may be worth if you have suffered from pain or disability due to another driver’s negligence.

Attorneys You Can Talk To! 

Accidents happen, and when they do, you and your family will have questions about your rights and their impact on your life. The attorneys at Doran, Beam & Farrell, PA, understand your concerns and are ready to answer any questions or address concerns that you may have about your claim.  

To schedule a FREE consultation, call or text us at (727) 846-1000 or complete our online contact form.