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When a neck injury is far worse than whiplash

You may have started your day running through the list of things you needed to take care of that day. As you drove to your first destination, your plans suddenly changed, perhaps for much longer than you anticipated. You never saw the other vehicle coming, but you definitely felt the impact.

When your vehicle came to rest, you may have felt some pain in your neck. Perhaps you didn't think it was that serious because, after all, you were in an accident. It's probably just whiplash, right? However, while you sat in your car waiting for emergency responders to arrive, you began to wonder if your injury was much worse.

Symptoms of a neck fracture

In addition to the excruciating pain, you may have felt the following during your wait:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased sensation in your limbs
  • Paralysis in your limbs

When emergency medical personnel arrived, they may have suspected that you suffered a fracture to your neck. Getting you medical attention as quickly as possible becomes a priority because permanent paralysis or death could result from this type of injury. Once at the hospital, medical personnel performed imaging tests and confirmed that diagnosis.

Medical intervention

After immobilizing your neck, doctors will ascertain whether you suffered any other injuries. You may need intravenous fluids and a breathing tube, among other things. More than likely, doctors admitted you in order to determine the severity of your injury and a course of treatment.

Your treatment depends on which cervical bones broke, where they broke and the severity of the fracture. Doctors also need to determine whether any paralysis due to nerve injury or spinal cord trauma exists, along with whether it's temporary or permanent. A severe injury may require surgery. Doctors may put you in traction or a neck brace to keep your neck in line and immobile. You may need to remain in the hospital for a while.

The danger doesn't necessarily end when you leave the hospital. It could take weeks for your neck fracture to heal. In addition, you may require help breathing and you might not be able to walk, at least temporarily. In any case, you face a significant recovery period.

Legal intervention

More than likely, you will incur a significant amount of medical bills. You may not be able to work during your recovery. In addition to the stress associated with your physical recovery, you could also begin to feel the strain of dwindling finances as well.

It may help to obtain some information regarding your rights and legal options in connection with the accident that caused your injury. If the evidence supports your contention that the other driver's negligence led to the crash and your current medical issues, you may receive much-needed compensation to cover your current and future medical needs.

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