Cervical Spine Injury Lawyers
There are seven (7) cervical vertebrae located in the neck and upper back. Severe bruising, compression or severing of the spinal cord in this area will result in quadriplegia. Whiplash is a less serious form of cervical spine injury. About 10 percent of whiplash victims will experience ongoing problems with headache, pain and weakness that can be permanently disabling.
Because any injury to the spinal cord affects all the areas below the level of the affected vertebrae, cervical spine injuries are the most serious of all spinal cord injuries. The location of the cervical spine injury will determine the effect of the harm:
- High cervical injuries — C1 to C4 — cause breathing difficulties and can require a ventilator. With rehabilitative therapy, as many as 85 percent of people with C4 injuries and around 60 percent of those with C3 injuries can eventually breathe on their own.
- C3 and C4 can also affect the shoulder, chest and downward.
- Injuries at the level of C5 and C6 affect the outer arms and the chest downward.
- The nerves exiting the lower cervical vertebrae affect portions of the hands, as well as the chest downward.
Injuries to the cervical spine are most common in car accidents, when bicyclists are hit by a car, and pedestrian accidents. Falls from heights and diving accidents also cause cervical spine fractures.
Diagnosing A Cervical Spine Injury
A person with a cervical spine injury may have no feeling or movement immediately upon injury. Emergency personnel will immobilize the injured person and emergency room doctors will order X-rays, CT scans and/or MRIs. The patient will be given steroids to reduce swelling and surgery will be performed to repair bone fractures. Patients with severe injuries from C1 to C4 (possibly C5) are likely to be put on a ventilator that will breathe for them.
The Importance of Rehabilitation and Ongoing Nursing Care
As with other spinal cord injury cases, rehabilitative therapy can help the injured person regain some functioning. For example, the diaphragm is affected by nerves at the C4 level. Thus, persons with high cervical injuries — C1 to C4 — experience breathing difficulties and at least initially will be dependent upon a ventilator. With rehabilitative therapy, as many as 85 percent of people with C4 injuries, and around 60 percent of those with C3 injuries, can eventually breathe on their own.
For those with complete cervical injuries, in-home nursing care will be critical to assist the injured person and the family cope with daily care. This is an expense few families can afford on their own.
Full And Fair Compensation In Cervical Spine Injury Cases
The San Francisco spinal cord injury lawyers work closely with clients to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate medical and rehabilitation treatment.
Our experience handling cases involving serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries, and our access to medical and investigative experts, have contributed to our extensive track record of successful results for past clients.