If you are suffering from neck pain after a car accident, you are not alone. It is the most frequently reported injury after a car accident. While many are victims, few people understand how minor neck pain can develop into major injuries.
To better understand these complicated injuries, we sat down with Georgia trauma injury expert Dr. Chris Connelly. This is what we found out.
The injuries and symptoms
During a car accident, the head whips back and forth, commonly known as whiplash. According to Dr. Connelly, this causes tears in the neck ligaments and sometimes the muscles and disks too. This can result in:
- Muscle strain
- Tearing of soft tissue
- Pinching of the nerve root
- Rupture of ligaments
- Bone Fractures
- Dislocations of the cervical spine
These serious injuries can lead to more than just pain. Dr. Connelly explained that patients also complain of numbness, tingling, swelling, weakness and a burning sensation in the neck.
Development and seriousness
After an accident, many don't think their neck pain is severe enough for a doctor's visit. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. According to Dr. Connelly, many of the serious conditions mentioned above develop in the weeks and months after an accident. Left untreated, this pain can even become permanent. Approximately 10 to 30 percent of people with "minor" neck pain after an accident will experience chronic, lasting symptoms.
How to avoid the worst
To avoid these devastating outcomes, Dr. Connelly emphasized the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis with a medical professional. With a focused examination, a complete history of the accident and additional testing, doctors can provide patients with a specific treatment plan to minimize the pain and duration of their injury.
Technological advancements, like new Digital Motion X-rays, are also helping doctors better treat neck injuries. While regular X-rays only provide pictures of the bones at rest, motion X-rays show how the ligaments in the neck react when the patient is moving. This provides doctors with clear evidence of instability in the patient's ligaments and joints and results in a faster, more accurate diagnosis.
Explore your legal options
Many believe that they can't seek compensation for their neck injuries because they felt fine after an accident, or the pain didn't become severe until weeks or months later. This isn't true. As we've explained above, neck injuries take time to develop and regardless of the timeline you deserve legal justice. With medical advancements, such as video evidence from motion X-rays, we have more resources than ever before to prove the severity of your injuries to insurance companies or even juries.
That said, it is important to talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You only have up to two years from the date of your accident to take legal action in Georgia. After this deadline (known as the statute of limitations) expires, getting the compensation you deserve can become very complicated or perhaps even not possible.
Don't hesitate. Make your first call to a doctor and your second call to the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. Get the justice you deserve for your injury.