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Fort Smith Neck Injury Car Accident Attorney

Fort Smith Neck Injury Car Accident Attorney

Neck injuries are among the most common types of injuries that can result from car accidents. The neck is physically complex and vulnerable to injury, especially given the force of impact that results from a crash. The neck contains the cervical spine and comprises many other small parts that work together to move and support the head.

If you injured your neck in a Fort Smith car accident, an attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. is proud to represent accident victims of Northwest Arkansas in Fort Smith and beyond.

Where Whiplash and Rear-End Collisions Happen in Fort Smith

According to a State Highway Safety Report, Arkansas motor vehicle accidents resulted in 2,721 serious injuries in 2020. One of the most common types of injuries that occur in rear-end car accidents is whiplash. When a vehicle is rear-ended, its occupants are jerked backward from a position of rest and then forward rapidly as the car comes to rest. The violent thrusting motion overstretches and compresses the neck muscles abruptly in a few seconds, causing painful neck injuries.

A rear-end crash does not have to occur at a high speed to cause harm. Even when a car accident happens at a low speed, the force of impact can be enough to cause a driver or passenger’s head to jolt back and forth violently. Most whiplash injuries occur at crash speeds below 12 mph.

Rear-end collisions can take place anywhere. In the Fort Smith area, the intersection of Planters Road and Arkansas 45 has among the highest number of traffic accident injuries. Other dangerous interstates include U.S. 71 and I-540.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are known to deny whiplash claims more frequently than others. They may insist that your injury does not exist, especially if you waited to see a doctor. However, just because an injury is not visible does not mean it is less real.

As such, the most important thing you can do after a car accident is to seek medical attention and contact a personal injury lawyer. The Fort Smith car accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. can help you recover compensation for whiplash and other neck injuries you have sustained. We will collect the evidence needed to build a strong case to obtain maximum damages.

Common Types of Neck Injuries Sustained in Fort Smith Car Accidents

The neck comprises many small bones, soft tissues, and cushiony discs, any of which can be injured. This delicate part of the body has little protection when a collision occurs. The seatbelt holds the body in place while the head is free to move, leading to neck injuries.

A few of the most common neck injuries from Fort Smith car accidents include:

  • Whiplash – Whiplash occurs when the neck snaps backward and forward suddenly after an impact, and the muscles and ligaments in the cervical spine become bruised and damaged.
  • Spondylolisthesis – Traumatic spondylolisthesis of the cervical spine is when one of the first seven vertebrae slips out of place after an injury.
  • Herniated discs – Discs are spongy cushions between each vertebra, and they can slip out of place, break, rupture, or bulge. Herniated discs cause intense jolts of pain, radiating pain, and weakness.
  • Muscle spasms – Neck muscles that are hurt during an accident can spasm as they heal. This is very painful and might not start happening until days, weeks, or months after the accident itself.
  • Bone fractures – A break in any of the neck vertebrae can cause pain, paralysis, or death.
  • Facet joint injury – Facet joints allow the neck to move and support the head. Injuring one affects mobility and causes pain.
  • Pinched nerves – Nerves in the neck can be painfully pressed or rubbed by injured structures nearby.
  • Sprains and strains – Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can stretch, tear, and be damaged, causing pain and difficulty moving.
  • Lacerations – The neck houses major blood vessels; a cut to the area can quickly cause life-threatening bleeding.

What Constitutes an Injury as a Whiplash?

Whiplash is one of the most common types of neck injuries to result from car accidents. It is a type of strain or sprain that occurs when the neck jerks back and forth violently upon impact.

Whiplash consists of damage to the neck’s delicate soft tissue and muscles. The rapid back-and-forth motion during a car accident overstretches the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. A wide range of symptoms may point to a whiplash injury, including:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Pinched nerves
  • Shoulder or back pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck pain
  • Tingling
  • Ligament injuries
  • Loss of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Signs of whiplash are not always immediate. Symptoms can often take hours or even days after a car accident to develop. Additionally, the adrenaline after a crash often masks the severity of the neck injury. In any case, it is important to take whiplash symptoms seriously and seek immediate medical attention before the injury gets worse. For example, numbness in other areas of the body can be a sign of nerve damage.

Not only is whiplash painful and debilitating, but it can also change the quality of your life. While many whiplash injuries heal with the right medical treatment, others may result in residual pain or even long-term disability. Around 9 percent of Americans have chronic neck pain arising from low-speed rear-end collisions.

Whiplash can leave you dealing with expensive costs of medication and long-term physical therapy each year. The injury may also affect your ability to return to work and earn a living. The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. understands the mounting costs of a Fort Smith car accident. Our attorneys are ready to help clients pursue compensation for their neck injuries.

Types of Medical Treatments for Serious Neck Injuries from Car Crashes

Most car accident injuries are limited to a particular part of the body. For example, if you break your arm, you still retain the ability to walk or use your other arm. What makes neck injuries so serious is that they affect the neck and spine, which are vital to overall body function.

Injuries to the neck are excruciating and cause stiffness, weakness, limited mobility, headaches, and more. These injuries can be difficult to recover from because the neck is central to head movement. Moreover, the full extent of neck injuries will often not be fully known for some time after a car accident.

Neck injuries can develop and worsen over time as inflammation and damage increase. For this reason, it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible after a Fort Smith car accident, even if you do not think your injuries are bad. Pain and other symptoms can be delayed for weeks. In addition, failing to get medical attention can leave you with a lifetime of pain or disabilities.

Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of the neck injury. Doctors use diagnostic tests like CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays to check for damage. Neck injuries often require extensive rehabilitation to help strengthen the injured area. A combination of treatments may be used, including:

  • Pain medication
  • Braces or collars
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Surgery
  • Facet and medial branch blocks
  • Radiofrequency ablation (FRA)
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Spinal cord stimulator

Receiving prompt and correct treatment can help you heal from your neck injuries as quickly as possible. Additionally, you establish a medical record of your injuries. If insurance companies question the severity of your car accident injuries, you will have important evidence to prove the exact nature of the harm the negligent driver caused.

Types of Damages for Car Accident-Related Neck Injuries

Even minor neck injuries can cause severe pain that affects your ability to perform daily tasks. You may need time off work while you recover, which can result in lost wages in addition to any medical expenses.

Arkansas law allows Fort Smith car accident victims to pursue damages from the at-fault driver. When you can show that another party’s negligence caused your crash and resulting neck injuries, they should pay for the economic and non-economic damages it has caused you through their insurance.

Economic damages are those with an obvious dollar amount attached. Things like medical bills, lost income from time off work, and repairs for your car can all be recouped in a lawsuit when applicable. Sometimes insurance companies will offer a settlement that only covers economic damages but that does not represent all losses and damages.

Non-economic damages are losses that do not necessarily cost money. Examples include pain and suffering and emotional distress. A car accident attorney can help determine the total worth of your case and negotiate with insurance companies or represent you at trial to get you the compensation you deserve.

What is the Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Claim in AR?

Arkansas gives three years from the date of a car accident to file a claim for damages. Any legal action against the negligent party would need to be filed within that three-year window, or you risk losing the ability to be compensated at all. Working with an experienced Fort Smith car accident attorney at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. ensures you do not miss any key deadlines for pursuing damages.

Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. Today

If you or a loved one has suffered neck injuries in a Fort Smith car accident, you could be entitled to compensation. An experienced car accident attorney like those at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. can help you get it. When you are dealing with the debilitating consequences of a neck injury, you need a lawyer who will fight tirelessly for your rights.

The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. serves all of Northwest Arkansas, including Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, and Rogers. For a free case review, call (479) 361-3575.


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