NECK INJURIES AND ACCIDENTS: HERE'S WHAT HAPPENS
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
In the U.S., nearly 200,000 deaths occur each year because of auto and truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, and falling objects. That’s over one accident-related death every minute. In fact, they’re the leading cause of death for children and adults up to age 44. An additional 3 million people are hospitalized each year because of accidents, and over 30 million are seen each year in emergency departments for injuries sustained in accidents.
That’s scary; but what’s even scarier are the costs associated with all that medical care. Neck injuries from accidents are especially costly because the anatomy of the neck is very complex. A broken arm or leg can be painful, but in most cases, treatment is relatively straightforward. When the neck is injured, there’s no such thing as a “simple” injury; comprising multiple bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles as well as a large number of nerve and blood vessels, handling a neck injury is almost always a complex process, and that means significantly higher costs.
Anatomy of the Neck
To get a better understanding of just why neck injuries can be so severe, you need to know a bit about the anatomy of the neck:
Cervical Vertebrae: The neck includes seven bones which together make up the upper portion of the spine, called the cervical vertebrae. Between each pair of vertebrae is a jelly-like disc that looks sort of like a donut. These discs help cushion the vertebrae from jars and jolts like mini shock absorbers, as well as providing the flexibility we need to bend and twist. The outer part of the disc is called the annulus fibrosis (“fibrous ring”), and it serves as a membrane to hold in the “jelly” (called the nucleus pulposus) that provides the cushioning for your spine.
Spinal Cord: The spinal cord is a long tube or bundle of nerves and other cells that help provide nourishment and support to the nerves. The cord travels through the protective spinal column from the base of the brain all the way down to the lower spine. All along the way, smaller nerves branch off to serve the arms, legs, organs and other parts of the body. These nerve branches leave the spinal column through small openings between the vertebrae. The nerves that branch off from the neck vertebrae serve the arms and hands.
Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons: All around the spine are muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues that can all be affected by a neck injury. Although the spine is designed to be flexible and cushioned, strong impacts and sudden, sharp movements can cause any of these structures to become strained, stretched, torn and injured. The neck is especially vulnerable, because there are fewer muscles in the neck to provide support and stability, and the neck is also tasked with supporting the weight of the head.
Cost of Injuries
When you’re the victim of an accident, it’s easy to feel like you’re at fault. But in many cases, at least one other person bears part – if not all – of the responsibility. And that means those people should be responsible for at least a part of your accident-related costs, including medical costs, loss of wages, pain and suffering or more.
The problem is, just because someone else may be responsible, that doesn’t mean they’ll do the responsible thing and cover your costs. Most of the time, the only way you can get the compensation you deserve is with a lawsuit. And that means you need a skilled lawyer on your side. Don’t face your accident alone. If you’ve been injured in an accident, give us a call and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.