If you or someone you care about sustained a neck injury or any other injury in any accident in California, please contact our legal team now for an absolutely FREE consultation by calling 866-INJURY 2 (after hours, extension 1) or use our easy Contact Form. There is NO fee on injury claims until you WIN!Experience
Our office has more than 45 years experience handling neck injury and other injury cases in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and throughout all of California.Services
We help injured victims obtain the medical care they need and the financial recovery they deserve. We have successfully resolved thousands of neck injury claims (from many causes including car accidents & motorcycle accidents, falls, animals including dog bites & attacks, and wrongful death), recovering over $100 million for our clients. The consultation is FREE and there is NO fee on injury claims until you WIN!Neck Injuries
The neck (cervical spine) with seven (7) vertebrae is the most vulnerable part of the spinal column. When you are the victim of a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or slip and fall accident your neck is often forced to move beyond its range of motion – either from side to side, front to back or back to front upon impact, thereby causing injury.
To better understand neck injuries, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the spine. The neck consists of the top seven (7) vertebrae (bones) of the spine. In medical parlance, this is called the cervical spine. The bones are identified by the letter C (as in cervical) and then the number of the bone, counting from the top to bottom. So, C3 is the third cervical vertebrae from the top. Below the 7 cervical vertebrae, beginning at the bottom of the neck, are 12 thoracic vertebrae to which the ribs in the back attach. They are identified by the letter "T" and the number of the bone, also counting from the top from where the cervical vertebrae end. Below the thoracic vertebrae, beginning in the low back area, are the 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1 through L5), then the sacrum (S-1) and then the coccyx.
Necessary flexibility exists in the spine because of spongy discs that are between each bone in the spine. The discs allow for movement and act like a shock absorber to cushion the bones of the spine as you twist, jump and move your spine. Discs are sometimes analogized to jelly donuts. The outer part, which is actually called the annulus fibrosis, holds in the "jelly," which is called the nucleus pulposus. In addition to the bones and discs, the spine includes the surrounding soft tissues, muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves.
Though the cervical spine is very flexible, it is also at risk for injury from strong, sudden movements, such as whiplash-type rear end car accidents. This high risk of harm is due to the limited muscle support in the cervical area, and because this part of the spine has to support the weight of the head. This is a lot of weight for a small, thin set of bones and soft tissues to bear. Therefore, sudden, strong head movement can cause damage. The most common types of traumatic neck injuries are as follows:
- Neck sprain-. This involves stretching and/or tearing of the soft tissues of the neck. A neck sprain may occur without any obvious injury but sometimes it may be caused by a sudden impact with an object. An impact may force the neck to quickly extend beyond its normal range, and then snap back forcefully.
- Neck strain- A strain is an injury to a neck muscle. A strain to a neck muscle can include any of a number of either deep or superficial muscles located around the neck. The muscles of the neck are responsible for the following movements including flexion (chin to chest), extension (eyes to ceiling), rotation, and lateral flexion (ear to shoulder). When any one of these muscles becomes injured, the movements of the head can become severely limited because strained muscles often result in associated muscle spasms in the injured or surrounding muscles. While a strain involves a tear to the muscle fiber, a spasm is an involuntary contraction of the muscle that tightens the muscle to a point where movement is not possible. Muscle spasm is a mechanism of the body to protect injured or weakened muscles and often accompanies a muscle strain.
Neck sprains and neck strains are sometimes called "hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries" or more commonly "whiplash."
- Cervical Radiculopathy (pinched nerve). Cervical nerves leave the spinal cord in the cervical spine area and travel down into the arm. Along the way, the nerves supply sensation (feeling) to a part of the skin of the shoulder and arm and supply electrical signals to certain muscles to move part of the arm or hand. When a nerve is irritated or pinched, by either a bone spur or a fragment of a herniated (ruptured) disc, it causes the nerve to not work properly. The result can be weakness in the muscles the nerve goes to, numbness in the skin where the nerve goes, or pain in the area where the nerve travels. These radiating symptoms are called cervical radiculopathy.
- Herniated Disc. When neck motion puts too much pressure on a disc, a herniated disc may result. Sometimes these are called "slipped discs" or "ruptured discs." In this injury, the annulus is torn and part of the nucleus pulposus squeezes out of the center of the disc. In the jelly donut analogy, the jelly comes out of the donut. If the tear is on the side of the disc next to the spinal canal, the nucleus pulposus can press against the spinal nerves. This pressure can cause pain, numbness and weakness along the nerve. There is also evidence that the chemicals released from the ruptured disc may irritate the nerve root, leading to some of the symptoms of a herniated disc, especially pain.