Chicago Whiplash & Neck Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident and believe you are experiencing symptoms of a neck injury, it is important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. The fact is our necks are less protected than the rest of our spine, which can make us vulnerable to injuries in this area of our body. In fact, what might feel like a minor ache could really be a herniated disk or sprained ligament.
What may not feel too serious initially, could end up requiring physical therapy or surgery to repair. Not only should accident victims seek medical attention immediately following an accident due to the number of serious neck injuries that can happen, but they should contact an experienced attorney right away. A consultation with an experienced Chicago whiplash & neck injuries lawyer is also a good idea to make sure you preserve any potential claims and pursue them before it’s too late under Illinois law.
Neck injuries can be painful and require weeks of physical therapy or even surgery. All of this medical treatment will be costly, and it shouldn’t be on the injured party’s shoulders to pay the bills. Instead, the person at fault for the collision and injury should be held responsible. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovery.
Neck Sprains or Strains
Numerous muscles, tendons, and ligaments are at work in the neck and they can become damaged through either a strain or sprain. While neck sprains and strains may have overlapping symptoms, they involve different parts of the body and can range in severity. A neck strain occurs when the muscle or a tendon, which is the tissue that connects muscle to bone, is suddenly contracted or stretched by a strong force. A neck sprain is when ligaments, which are the bands of tissue that connect the bones, are stretched or torn.
The most common causes of neck sprains and strains are motor vehicle accidents, repetitive motions such as typing on a keyboard for extended periods of time, or sporting activities. Common symptoms of neck sprains and strains include:
- Mild to severe pain or discomfort that increases with movement
- Muscle spasms
- Limited range of motion in the affected area
- Tightness or stiffness in the neck and shoulder area
Physicians may use X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to determine to extent of your injury and the appropriate treatment.
Although whiplash is usually associated with car accidents, it can result from any sudden and powerful force that causes the head and neck to quickly move backward and forward. This type of forceful movement can cause your head to snap back and forth, which in turn causes the muscles and ligaments in your neck to extend beyond their normal range of motion. Whiplash is a colloquial term that refers to a variety of medical issues, including neck sprains and strains.
When you experience whiplash, you may not feel the pain immediately. You might think you’re fine, and then start to hurt the next day. Symptoms may go away after a few days, or they may linger for weeks or longer. Symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Neck soreness and stiffness
- Blurry vision
- Feeling tired
- Decreased range of motion
If you experience these kinds of symptoms following a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you should seek medical treatment as soon as is possible. Delaying treatment could make your injury worse while at the same time making it harder for you to pursue a claim for compensation of your medical bills. Delaying treatment could also lead to the insurance company making the argument that your injury wasn’t caused by the accident, but instead happened later.
In order to diagnose whiplash, physicians will typically examine your neck, shoulders, and upper back for tenderness, pain, and range of motion. They may also use X-rays, MRI, or Computerized tomography (CT) scans to determine your precise injury and appropriate treatment.
In general, people recover from whiplash in a few months with pain management, muscle relaxants, and exercise. Despite the large foam collars many people see on TV, these aren’t used often as more recent evidence shows keeping the head and neck immobilized can reduce strength and actually harm recovery. A physician may recommend it for brief periods of time for the first week after the accident or to help you sleep.
Every vertebra in a person’s spine is separated by a disk. The disk has a hard exterior and a soft gel interior in order to absorb forces exerted on the body and protect the spine. However, sometimes the soft gel of the disk gets squeezed out from between the vertebrae, which is known as a herniated disc. More common terms are ruptured or slipped discs.
The most common signs of a herniated disk in the neck are:
- Shooting pain in the neck, between shoulder blades, and down the arm. Certain movements such as sneezing or coughing can also intensify pain or cause it to radiate down your leg.
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle weakness
A doctor will test your reflexes, pain level, and range of motion, as well as use X-ray, MRI, or CT scans to figure out if you have a herniated disc and if surgical intervention is required. Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and can include taking pain relievers, muscle relaxers, short or long-term physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases.
A pinched nerve happens when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding materials, possibly by the powerful and sudden force of the car accident or through a herniated disk. Damage caused by a pinched nerve can range in severity and symptoms can be temporary or long-term depending on when the issue is diagnosed and treated.
Signs of a pinched nerve in the neck include:
- Sharp or burning pain that radiates outward
- Numbness or decreased sensation in the area around the impacted nerve
- Tingling or “pins and needles” feeling in the fingers or hands
- Muscle weakness in the arm, shoulder, or hand
To figure out if you have a pinched nerve, your physician may use an MRI, electromyography, or a nerve conduct study. The latter two both include using electrical impulses to determine the electrical activity in your muscles or nerves. Treatment generally involves mild pain killers or corticosteroids to minimize pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is commonly prescribed, however, if the issue doesn’t improve over time, surgery may be necessary.
Contact a Chicago Whiplash & Neck Injuries Lawyer
An experienced lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., will explain your rights, build a strong argument in support of your claim, and negotiate with insurance companies to help secure the maximum compensation available for your case. We have over a decade of experience representing accident victims in Chicago and we are prepared to guide you through every step of the process.
To learn more about how we can help, contact us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free case evaluation.