Accidents are generally divided into three categories: head-on, side-impact and rear-end. All three categories can result in a whiplash effect that sends an occupant head traveling in a different direction than the rest of their body. The end result is usually neck or back injuries that can range from mild sprains and bruises to herniated disks, fractured vertebrae, and even spinal cord damage. Even the most minor accident can cause a serious and lasting neck or back injury. If you’ve been injured from a car accident in Sacramento, contact an auto accident attorney for help.
TYPES OF NECK AND BACK INJURIES
- Herniated or Bulging Disks – There are 23 disks located between 24 vertebrae in the human body. These disks serve as impact cushions between each vertebra and are designed to compress and handle the gravitational forces that the vertebrae cannot handle on their own. These disks, however, are not indestructible and they themselves can only handle a certain amount of force. When this force is applied from the side, which often happens in a car accident, damage can occur. A herniated or bulged disk is a disk that has squeezed out of its natural position or has begun to leak its inner cushion as a result of damage.
- Soft Tissue Damage – The human body is made up of different types of soft tissues including ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Our necks and backs have a high concentration of these tissues because they are used to move and interconnect bones and vertebrae, of which our spine has many. The smallest application of force at the perfectly wrong time and direction can severely damage the soft tissues of our neck and back. A car accident will often times result in this perfect storm of force, direction, and timing that results in injury.
- Compression Fractures – As we described earlier, the right amount of force at the wrong time can herniate or bulge the disks that are designed to protect our vertebrae. Sometimes, our bodies disc system fails and that force is absorbed by the vertebrae itself, causing the vertebrae to fracture under the pressure. This type of injury can be caused by a multitude of factors, but usually, occur in more serious automobile accidents at high speeds. Fractures in and around the spinal cord are extremely dangerous and can lead to paralysis and death.
- Flexion Distraction Fractures – This type of injury is most common with head-on collisions where the occupants were wearing their seatbelts. At the point of impact, the seat belt is holding the occupant’s lower back and pelvis against the seat, acting as an anchor while the rest of the neck/back is thrown violently forward from the force of the crash. The result can be a fracture of a vertebra in the upper back and/or neck.
- Transverse Fractures – When an automobile accident occurs, the human body is violently thrown forward, backward, and/or side to side. This causes our spine to twist and move, and when the vertebrae twist beyond their natural radius, they fracture transversely from the force.
- Dislocation Fractures – These are some of the most common types of back injuries seen during automobile accidents and they represent a combination of soft tissue damage and vertebrae fracture. When one or more vertebrae fracture, soft tissues including ligaments, tendons, muscles and even pieces of damages disks can move into the damaged area. Surgery’s to correct dislocations can be dangerous and expensive.
Neck and back injuries are very serious and can cause lasting pain, paralysis, and death. No case is ever the same so it’s best to talk to an auto accident attorney regarding the specifics of your situation. Treatments for these injuries vary widely as the type and severity of the injury also vary. Medical professionals require X-Rays, Magnetic Response Imaging Scans (“MRIs”) and Computer Axial Tomography Scans (“CTs”) just to determine what type of back injury you have, which means that your medical bills could total upwards of $10,000 before the type of injury has even been determined!
The severity of these injuries and associated costs make it important for anyone experiencing neck or back pain after an accident to contact an experienced injury attorney immediately. The accident attorneys at this law firm have been representing injury victims for years and have the experience necessary to properly handle your case. Call us today for a free consultation with an auto accident attorney!