Your cervical spine is made up of the seven small bones of your neck. The bones in your cervical spine, frequently referred to as the c-spine, connect your head to your shoulders. Reference is made to the c-spine when discussing a broken neck. A person’s neck can break in a car crash as well as in a fall from height. A broken neck is a terrible injury that can be fatal or lead to paralysis. The personal injury attorneys with Parker Waichman LLP devote their years of experience as well as the firm’s tremendous resources to fighting to maximize your financial recovery if you suffered a broken neck as a consequence of another’s negligence.
Why Is a Cervical Fracture (Broken Neck) So Dangerous?
A break in any of the bones in the neck can lead to death or paralysis. The neck bones provide stability to allow a person to hold their head up. Additionally, the neck bones protect the spinal column. A fracture in the neck area can damage the spinal cord. Damage to the spinal cord impinges the body’s ability to send signals from the brain to the other body parts including those organs such as the heart and lungs which work without thought. Spinal cord injury, if it does not lead to death, can cause permanent or temporary paralysis. Paralysis can be from the neck down.
Emergency Response for Patients Suffering a Cervical Fracture
In a car accident or a fall, emergency responders will assume that the patient has suffered a head and neck injury if the victim is unconscious when medical personnel arrives on the scene. First responders place a cervical collar on the patient. A cervical collar is a device that maintains the proper spine angle and prevents further damage to the spinal cord and nerves. Additionally, the car crash victim could be in shock at the time of first intervention or be suffering from paralysis.
Incredibly, a victim of a broken neck might not feel any pain from the fracture. The pain a car accident victim with a broken neck might feel is in his or her extremities because of the broken bones compressing the nerves that lead to the area in which the victim perceives pain.
Emergency room doctors will perform several tests on patients suspected of having a broken neck. Doctors will order x-rays and MRIs to learn more about the structural damage. Additionally, the physicians will subject the accident victim to a battery of tests designed to determine the extent of nerve damage, if any.
Additional Treatment for Cervical Fractures
Treatment for a broken neck seems draconian in nature. Depending on the type of fracture, the person could end up in traction, wearing a “halo” collar, or a full body cast. After that, the victim will need intensive physical therapy to regain strength. Patients who have paralysis will have to learn how to use the paralyzed limb again. The attempt might be futile. Patients whose spinal cord was severed and survived most likely will not walk again. They might have trouble breathing spontaneously. Furthermore, the patient who is paralyzed will require around-the-clock care to feed, bathe, change, and perform all other life functions. They might need assistance to speak and require the assistance of a speech box.
Monetary Damages for Cervical Fracture Injuries
The amount of financial compensation an accident victim may recover will depend on the nature of the injury, whether the injury is permanent, the need for future medical intervention, and lost wages or loss of future income. One of the most significant categories of damages to consider is noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The victim might suffer horrific mental anguish after learning he or she will never walk again.
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