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Car Accidents and Cervical Spine Injuries

On Behalf of | May 12, 2019 | Auto Accidents, Firm News, Personal Injury Law

Car accidents can lead to serious injuries with lasting repercussions. Attorneys Richard T. Bowles and Michael P. Verna have helped numerous clients who’ve suffered severe trauma after a collision. The Bay Area law firm of Bowles & Verna LLP has helped clients with neck and spinal cord injury lawsuits following catastrophic accidents throughout the greater San Francisco, CA area.

We’d like to briefly go over some of the most common kinds of injuries to the cervical spine after auto collisions. This should help you understand why these kinds of injuries must be taken seriously.


Whiplash is the most well-known neck injury associated with auto accidents. These kinds of injuries are caused by the sudden and forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck. The motion is much like a whip cracking, hence the name whiplash.

Whiplash can affect the vertebrae in the neck as well as the vertebral discs, the ligaments, and muscles of the neck. Whiplash can lead to neck pain and stiffness, and can also have serious long-term side effects that impact mobility and overall wellness. Many of the conditions we’ll note below may stem from a whiplash injury.

Fractured Vertebrae

Serious injuries to the neck can result in fractures to the vertebrae in the neck. When bones in the neck are damaged, this can lead to severe pain and major limitations in motion of the neck. It’s important that these kinds of injuries be addressed immediately so the fractures can dealt with and not allowed to progress.

Herniated Discs

Between the vertebral bones are spongy discs known as vertebral discs. These vertebral discs help cushion the space between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for the spine. When a person experiences serious trauma to the neck or overextension, this can cause the discs to slip out of place. This is known as a herniated disc. While much more common in the lower back, this issue can occur in the cervical spine as well.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains of the cervical spine are possible after auto collisions. Sprains to the cervical spine mean that the ligaments around the neck have been stretched or torn. A strain of the cervical spine means that the tendons or muscles of the neck have been stretched or torn. Both of these issues can affect the movement and health of your neck.

Paralysis and Quadriplegia

In severe cervical spine injures, accident victims may become paralyzed from the neck down, losing use of all their extremities. This condition is known as quadriplegia, and leads to major changes in the way one lives their life. In addition to needing constant medical monitoring and assistance, some quadriplegics require mechanical assistance to breathe.

Long-Term Effects of a Neck Injury

Even if a person does not suffer paralysis, neck injuries can have serious repercussions. Serious neck injuries could limit your ability to turn and move your neck. You may also experience recurring pain and discomfort as a result of a cervical spine injury, which includes recurring headaches. Given the nature of neck injuries and the nerves that extend into the upper extremities, the damage to the cervical spine could lead to numbness and weakness in the shoulders, arms, and hands.

Learn More About Auto Accident Lawsuits

For more information about your legal options after a serious car collision, be sure to contact our team of skilled auto accident and personal injury lawyers. The team at Bowles & Verna LLP is here to help. You can reach us in the San Francisco area by phone at (925) 935-3300.