In the United States as well as Missouri, car accident injuries are common, they can also be deadly. Vehicle automotive accidents are consistently a leading cause of death across the 50 states and a source of pain and frustration for thousands of Americans.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), greater than three million individuals are hurt every year in car crashes across the United States. In 2017, there were over 57,000 people injured from car accidents in Missouri.
The various injuries resulting from an auto crash can be as varied as the individual circumstances of each accident, however, there are some sorts of injuries that are more usual than others. Some auto crash injuries may resolve within a matter of days with no clinical treatment in all. More major injuries could come to be long-term as well as result in some degree of physical disability.
Negligent drivers should be held responsible when they kill or wound a person and our firm has actually been managing auto mishap situations for forty years. We can and will help if you or a liked one has actually been harmed in an auto crash.
Spine Injuries Explained
In order to understand a back injury that was sustained in a car accident, you must first understand the anatomy of the human spine. The neck, also called the cervical spine, consists of the top 7 vertebrae (bones) of the spine. The bones are identified by the letter C (for cervical) and then the number of the bone, counting from the top. So, C3 is the third cervical vertebrae from the top.
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The thoracic vertebrae are located below the cervical spine, and consist of the 12 vertebrae starting at the bottom of the neck. The ribs attach to these thoracic vertebrae in the back. They are identified by the letter “T” and the number of the bone, counting from the top. Below the thoracic vertebrae, beginning in the low back area, are the 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1 through L5), then the sacrum (S-1), and then the coccyx.
Between the bones in the back are spongy discs that allow us to bend over, twist or make other movements with our spine. When these discs sustain damage in a car accident, they will sometimes bulge or herniate. A bulging or herniated disc can cause a person to experience intense burning, aching, or stabbing pain in their back.
When a disc is herniated or bulging, it can injure the nerves that travel down and exit the spinal canal. The nerves that exit the spine in the cervical area travel into the arms and hands. This is why injuries to the nerves in your cervical spine sometimes cause radiating pain to travel down through your arms. The nerves that leave the spinal canal in the lumbar spine area travel to the legs and feet, so injuries to the nerves in your lumbar spine might cause radiating pain in your legs.
The tendons connect our muscles to bones in the spine. When tendons are overstretched, they can end up tearing. This type of injury is called a sprain and can cause a person to experience back or neck spasms. These injuries can range from very serious to minor irritations that heal quickly. Know that doctors often diagnose a back injury like a sprain or strain only to find out later that the injury is much more serious.
Dealing with Insurers
There are many serious things that can happen to your spine after suffering an injury in a car accident. Although spinal injuries can cause lifelong problems, insurance adjusters will often discount injuries as only a “sprain or strain,” or just a soft tissue injury that should heal quickly. Because of this, many people end up suffering permanent damage because they are unable to get approval from their insurer for the medical care their injury requires.
At Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C., our team of lawyers help clients who have suffered devastating back injuries in car accidents. We can review the details of your case and make a strong legal strategy to secure the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys won’t collect any fees from you unless we win your case.
Arm & Shoulder Injuries After a Car Accident
Following a car accident, it’s not unusual for victims to experience intense pain in their arms and shoulders. The same violent jerks and jolts that cause whiplash and other neck injuries can also severely damage a person’s arms and shoulders. If you’re experiencing pain after a car accident, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Some injuries exacerbate with time, and you don’t want to suffer additional medical complications in the future.
Arm and shoulder pains are often caused by the following:
- Neck injuries: Whiplash from a car accident can injure the tendons, muscles, and nerves in your neck and cervical spine. This can cause intense arm and shoulder pain and needs to be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Rotator cuff injuries: The violent force of an auto collision can directly damage the rotator cuff in your shoulder. This type of injury usually results in shoulder and arm pain not long after the incident.
- Superior Labral Tear from Anterior to Posterior (SLAP): A SLAP tear is an injury to the labrum in your shoulder. You may experience severe pain and limited shoulder mobility if you incur a SLAP tear after a car collision.
- Broken bones: Broken bones are a frequent car accident injury. They are particularly common in side-impact collisions where a person’s arm may be thrust against the door of their car.
You may not notice your shoulder and arm injuries immediately after a car accident. It can take days or even months for pain and other injury symptoms to appear. This is why it’s so important for all parties involved in a car collision to seek medical care. Even the slightest feeling of discomfort can be an early sign of a greater injury. Medical professionals are trained to ask the right questions and can thoroughly review your body for injury symptoms. An early treatment plan may prevent you from paying excessive medical expenses later.
If you’re interested in filing a personal injury claim, contact the Joplin lawyers at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. We can investigate your case, review your medical report, and develop a strategy that reflects your legal objectives.
Understanding & Treating SLAP Tears
A SLAP (Superior Labral Anterior Posterior) tear, or Slap lesion, is an injury to the labrum in your shoulder joint. The labrum is cartilage that connects the socket of the scapula to the head of the humerus. When this soft tissue tears, there isn’t enough comfortable cushion spaced between the bones. Typically, SLAP tears are caused by heavy lifting and the natural wear and tear of age or overuse. However, they are also an injury commonly sustained after a car collision.
How Do Car Accidents Lead to SLAP Tears?
A common reaction to an imminent car accident is to brace yourself for impact by tightly grabbing the steering wheel with both hands. By tensing in this rigid position, your shoulders are forced to absorb some level of the accident impact, leading to damaged muscles, tendons, and cartilage.
The symptoms of a SLAP tear include:
- Intense shoulder pain
- Grinding, locking or popping of the shoulder
- Decreased range of motion
- Loss of arm strength
- Night pains and difficulty sleeping
- Sensation of instability in the shoulder
Only a physician can accurately diagnose your SLAP tear, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you exhibit any of these symptoms.
How Are SLAP Tears Diagnosed?
SLAP tears can be notoriously difficult to detect because they aren’t always visible on X-rays or MRI scans. Sometimes the only way to properly diagnose the injury is through an exploratory surgery. Before taking that serious step, doctors ask their patients detailed questions about their symptoms to determine if they have a SLAP tear. Unfortunately, most people who sustain SLAP tears don’t even notice they’re injured until their symptoms progressively worsen.
SLAP Tear Treatments
For most patients, the best treatment for a SLAP tear is arthroscopic surgery. During this treatment, a surgeon inserts a small camera into your shoulder joint and uses the pictures to cut small incisions into your shoulder. The surgeon may be able to repair the damage by using miniature surgical instruments. Because there are several different types of SLAP tears, it’s up to your surgeon to decide which repair option best fits your needs.
Alternatively, if the SLAP tear can’t be repaired through arthroscopic surgery, your doctor may decide to perform a bicep tenodesis to anchor the bicep to the humerus in order to alleviate any stress placed on the superior labrum.
Unfortunately, patients report mixed reviews about the long-term results of SLAP tear surgery. In fact, some patients claim that their range of motion is even worse after the procedure. Because the outcome is so uncertain, many doctors only recommend surgery as a very last result, if at all. Unfortunately, if you sustained a SLAP tear, it’s likely that you’ll experience lasting pain symptoms and other medical complications.
Non-surgical treatments include:
- Pain medication
- Cortisone injections
- Physical therapy
Recovering from a SLAP Tear
Recovering from the surgery can take about 3-4 months. For the first month you may need to wear a sling to restrict any shoulder movement. Once the pain and swelling decrease, your doctor will have you start a physical therapy program to improve your range of motion and flexibility.
Pursue Compensation with Our Experienced Team
If you’ve sustained a SLAP tear injury due to the actions of a negligent driver, contact the attorneys at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. We can represent your claim both in and out of court and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Our legal team works on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about paying any attorney fees until you’re awarded damages.
Because we’ve successfully guided many clients through this complicated legal process, we understand that it isn’t easy for accident victims to come to our office for an appointment. For your convenience, our lawyers can meet you at your home or hospital room.
Our firm offers evening and weekend appointments. Call Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. at to schedule your case evaluation.
Soft Tissue Injuries & Car Accidents
After a car accident, many people end up seeking medical attention for soft tissue injuries. Depending on the severity of the damage, these injuries can heal quickly or become life-long physical impairments. Insurance adjusters often dispute or trivialize soft tissue injuries because of this discrepancy. If you incur soft tissue injuries from a car accident, you’re going to need an experienced personal injury attorney to recover the full value of your claim.
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What are Soft Tissue Injuries?
“Soft tissue injury” is a term often used by insurance adjusters when they want to suggest that an injury isn’t particularly serious. Soft tissue injuries can include: bruises, sprains, and damage to tendons, ligaments, or muscles in the human body—essentially, the softer areas of your body, as opposed to bones.
Whiplash is a common and specific type of soft tissue injury. In a car accident, whiplash can be caused by the sudden back-and-forth jerking of the neck and head. Such a violent jolt can injure the muscles and ligaments in the neck, causing them to stretch and tear.
Whiplash symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
- Neck and back pains
- Intense headaches
- Radiating pain in the arms
Seeking Medical Treatment
It’s important to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident. Oftentimes, victims with soft tissue injuries don’t even realize they’re injured because their adrenaline and shock mask their discomfort. After a few hours, or even days, the victim can start to experience serious pain and other related side-effects.
During your medical examination, make sure to thoroughly explain the accident to your doctor and indicate any parts of your body that may feel pain. This account can help the doctor fully comprehend the extent of your injuries and determine which treatment options may be most effective. Plus, your injuries are automatically noted in your medical report, which is important evidence in your lawsuit.
The Limits of Medical Science & the Consequences
Unfortunately, soft-tissue injuries rarely show up on MRIs or x-rays, and, if they do, they may only expose some swelling and inflammation. Insurance adjusters may argue that the lack of discernable evidence on the scans proves that your injury isn’t very serious.
An experienced car accident attorney will hire a medical doctor who can explain to any insurance adjusters or the court that your soft tissue injuries may cause serious and life-long problems even if the medical scans don’t display the damage.
Living with Soft Tissue Injuries
Many people fail to seek medical treatment after an accident because they dismiss their soft tissue injuries as mild side-effects of the collision. However, soft tissue injuries don’t always heal over time; in fact, they can require ongoing professional medical care, which is often expensive.
If your soft tissue injury doesn’t resolve within 6 months, you need to talk to an experienced car accident attorney who can represent your rights in court. After all, these injuries can prevent you from performing the duties of your job and may result in lost income.
Seek Legal Guidance
Contact Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. if you’ve been injured in a car accident and want to pursue compensation for your soft tissue injuries. Our experienced car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay any attorney fees until you’re awarded damages.
The Correlation Between Car Accidents & Headaches
After a car collision, it’s not unusual for an accident victim to experience minor and/or debilitating headaches. For some people, this pain only lasts for a few hours and naturally fades away as the body heals. For others, these headaches can last for years and even become a permanent fixture in their lives. If you have a headache after a car accident, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Types of Car Accident Headaches
Quite simply, the human body is not designed to withstand the physical repercussions of a blow to the head or the rapid deceleration of a car, both of which are common occurrences in a car accident. Deceleration injuries can occur if you are hit by an airbag or strike your head against the steering wheel, dashboard, or even the side of the car. Deceleration injuries often lead to severe headaches and other medical complications.
Persistent headaches can also be caused by whiplash, which is the sudden back-and-forth jerking of the head and neck. Whiplash is another deceleration injury, except that it doesn’t necessarily involve a blow to the head.
Headaches are also a common symptom and side-effect of concussions. These “post-concussion headaches” typically heal in a matter of days, but an unfortunate few, the “miserable minority,” suffer persistent pains for years. Unfortunately, if your headaches do not resolve 6 months after your car accident, they may be a long-term or permanent problem.
When your body is suddenly jolted in a car accident, you may suffer severe injuries to your neck and cervical spine. These injuries often lead to “tension headaches,” which originate from associated muscle tension and spasms in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.
Tension headaches can be caused by:
- Damage to the soft tissues and nerves in your neck
- Tears and strains in your neck and back muscles
- Compressed discs
Migraine-like headaches are thought to be caused, in part, by any changes in the diameter of the arteries and veins in the brain. Trauma to these arteries and veins in a car accident often leads to intense and painful headaches.
The “pounding” pain of these headaches tends to be focused in the front of the head and around the temples. This pain can exacerbate if the car accident victim is sensitive to light, intensely concentrating, or suffering under severe emotional stress.
The “Stabbing” Headache
A “stabbing” headache is a sudden, sharp pain that is so intense it brings victims to their knees. This pain lasts for only a few short seconds to a couple of minutes, which makes it difficult to treat. However, there are some drugs such as anti-seizure medications that may be effective, so long as they are prescribed by a medical professional.
The Limits of Medical Science
Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult for medical professionals to effectively treat car accident-related headaches. This is because certain brain traumas don’t appear on brain scans or MRIs. Doctors often have to rely on their knowledge of medical symptoms to help a patient.
Insurance adjusters often question personal injury claims because the pain of a headache is considered “subjective.” Claimants pursuing damages often find it devastating to have insurance adjustors and doctors question their injury. For this reason, it’s important that you retain the services of an experienced attorney if you’re planning to file a claim.
Contact the car accident attorneys at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. if you’ve been injured in a car accident and are experiencing painful headaches as a result. We provide free consultations so that you can discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney in a stress-free environment. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay any attorney fees unless you collect damages.
Car Accidents & the Lasting Impact of Concussions
Medical science is only just beginning to understand the long-term medical complications associated with concussions. This is a minor brain injury that occurs whenever the brain is roughly jostled against the skull. It’s estimated that nearly 4 million concussions are treated in the United States each year.
Concussions are commonly caused by:
- Car accidents
- Recreational accidents
- Sports accidents
Car accidents, in particular, are a frequent cause of concussions and other brain injuries. In fact, just the rapid deceleration of a car can cause the brain to slam against the skull even if a person hasn’t physically “hit” their head. For this reason, it’s imperative that a victim seek medical attention immediately after an accident.
The Unpredictability of Brain Injuries
Currently, it’s medically impossible to predict how a brain injury may affect an individual. Minor brain trauma triggered by a low-impact collision may cause severe and lasting medical complications to one person while barely affecting another.
For this reason, car accident victims often find it difficult to interact with medical professionals or negotiate with insurance companies without legal representation by their side. After all, doctors and claims adjusters may doubt the severity of any symptoms caused by minor trauma. The unlucky few who suffer permanent brain damage from mild concussions are sometimes referred to as the “miserable minority.”
The Limits of Medical Science
Medical science has made incredible strides to perfect procedures that can locate and recognize brain injuries. For instance, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and cranial computed tomography (CT) scans are capable of identifying hemorrhaging (bleeding) or bruising on the brain. Likewise, a brain positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a slightly more invasive procedure that introduces a radioactive substance into your bloodstream to take 3D pictures of your brain. However, these procedures often miss signs of brain injuries that are only visible at a microscopic cellular level. This is incredibly dangerous because any injuries to the brain’s neurons and axons can cause serious physical, cognitive, and emotional problems.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
The brain is an incredible and complex organ that coordinates all intelligent thought, sensation, and body movement. As a result, even a minor brain injury can have a severe impact on the human body. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention and legal representation immediately.
Common physical symptoms of a brain injury include:
- Blurred vision, double vision, or blindness
- Loss of smell or taste
- Speech impairments
- Headaches or migraines
- Coordination difficulty
Common cognitive symptoms of a brain injury include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Long-term memory loss
- Inability to process information
- Difficulty concentrating
- Communication difficulties
- Spatial disorientation
- Organizational problems
- A lack of initiative
Common emotional symptoms of a brain injury include:
- Increased anxiety
- Depression and mood swings
- Impulsive behavior
- Frequent agitation
- Egocentric behaviors
A brain injury may require substantial medical treatments and lasting professional care. A successful personal injury lawsuit can award victim damages that may facilitate their recovery and protect them from experiencing significant financial strain.
Contact the car accident attorneys at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. if you’ve been injured by a negligent driver. Our firm provides personal injury representation to clients who have sustained concussions or other catastrophic brain injuries.
We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t need to worry about attorney fees unless we win your case. To account for your needs, we can schedule evening or weekend appointments at our St. Louis office, your home, or your hospital room.
Understanding the Dangerous Symptoms of Whiplash
“Whiplash” is a non-medical term that designates the collective symptoms a person may experience when their head is suddenly and violently jerked back and forth—much like the crack of a whip. It’s a very sudden motion that causes painful damage to the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) of the neck.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck and back pain
- Spinal cord hypersensitivity
- Shoulder pain or stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Muscle spasms
Whiplash injuries are commonly reported after car accidents, particularly in front-end and rear-end collisions. In fact, over 60% of all personal injury claims following a car accident involve neck injuries related to whiplash symptoms. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 800,000 car accident victims reported whiplash injuries between 1988 and 1996. Unfortunately, an accurate annual statistic is difficult to calculate because some victims fail to report or seek treatment for their whiplash symptoms following an accident.
The rapid deceleration that causes whiplash can also lead to dangerous concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Victims that sustain concussions may experience headaches, memory loss, concentration problems, fatigue, or depression. When severe, whiplash symptoms can also include injuries to the disks and joints of the cervical spine.
Symptoms of whiplash typically appear within 24 hours but can affect a victim for several weeks. If you haven’t recovered after 6 months, you may be experiencing “chronic whiplash,” which a medical professional must address.
Pursue Justice & Damages
It’s vital that you seek medical attention following a car accident. Car accident victims often confuse neck sprains and concussions with whiplash, leading to potentially devastating long-term medical consequences.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. Our car accident attorneys have successfully guided countless clients in their pursuit of maximum compensation. We understand that medical bills are expensive and that your recovery may depend on being awarded damages. Because we don’t want your financial situation to prevent you from seeking justice, our firm provides free consultations and works on a contingency fee basis.