Settling Your Head, Neck or Back Injury After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Even some of the most damaging motor vehicle accident injuries will not always present immediately. It’s the head, neck and back that are most sensitive to painful, long lasting accident injuries and are the most frequently reported car accident injury claims, including whiplash and delayed onset post-traumatic headache, totaling millions in damages each year. These areas are most impacted because the force in which a driver or passengers’ body moves backward or forward and then thrust into the opposite direction. This creates a major sensitivity to unnatural spine movements and causes damage, friction and tension throughout the body. More serious injuries can actually cause changes to occur throughout the structures in and surrounding the cervical spine, causing each to become a potential source of chronic or debilitating pain. These types of injuries most often require extended therapy or even invasive surgeries that take months of rehabilitation and recovery time and include cerebral hemorrhage, concussion, disk damage, spinal cord damage and torn muscles and ligaments. Surgery is generally required for more serious head, neck and back injuries with a recovery period from six to nine months.
Some of the signs and symptoms of a serious head, neck and back injury include:
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your neck and spinal cord
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
- Dull, radiating pain from the neck to the arms
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Dull or intense headache
- Inability to move your head with ease
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Memory loss and confusion
- Tenderness and pain in the chest, arms, shoulders and upper back
- Weakness or tingling in your arms, hands, or legs
In more rare cases, head and neck injuries may also cause lower back pain. There are two areas of the spine that become especially vulnerable in a high speed impact crash or accident with a large truck.
- Sacral Area: This area is located in the very bottom of the spine and consists of a flat, nearly triangular shaped bone that is joined to the lumbar spine with a sacral hinge. In general, the sacral area of the spine is a stable area for the hips and typically does not move.
- Lower Back (Lumbar): The lower back is an almost elastic part of the spine that consists of five lumbar vertebrae held together by tendons, cushioned by soft discs.
Remember, symptoms of a motor vehicle accident do not always present themselves immediately. The body will pump adrenaline the moments after a wreck and can make a victim numb to recognize any pain. Issues can present within a few of hours to even up to a day later. Any form of pain after an accident should be treated as soon as it is recognized, even if the symptoms are delayed. Immediate care and a medical visit to be assessed by a professional will reduce the chance of complications and provide the treatment and proper documentation, as well as all the collected evidence needed to make a case for the incident.
Track Your Symptoms, Medical Visits and Bills
Be sure to set up a medical evaluation immediately after an accident or get to an emergency room to be assessed by a professional. This care will reduce the chance of complications and provide the proper documentation needed to make a case for the incident and have a diagnosis of the injury. In the days and weeks after, keep track of all the specific information about your injury and symptoms, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, medical procedures, date of surgeries, and any other dated details of how the treatment needs have impacted your daily life should be included. Descriptions should be extensive and focused on the pain you have experienced, the area of your body where the pain occurs, the severity of your pain and how often the pain occurs. Medical records and doctors’ notes can be helpful but having your own account will also be relevant. Always account for:
- Exact dates and times you have visited doctors’ offices or hospitals as a result of your injury
- Names of any physician or specialist you may have consulted and their office location
- Treatment and rehabilitation needs prescribed
- Medical tests or referred services
- Severity of your injury or changes in pain throughout the recovery process
In addition, keep track of any occurrences of lost wages, hours without pay or how much work you have missed due to medical appointments or because of your head, neck and back injuries such as a delayed onset post-traumatic headache.
Once you have all the information documented and gathered, and you haven’t already done so, begin consultations with an experienced attorney to help move claims forward and make sure that the insurance company will not be entitled to the greater rights than your benefits as the injured, innocent victim. Personal injury claims can take time to resolve, so immediately recording the details of your accident may help you remember all the complex details including the full description of the event that resulted in your injury. Be sure to always update your legal team about any new developments in your health, medical treatment, new injury symptoms, medical conditions or mental struggles you are experiencing.