How Can I Tell if I Have a Broken Neck?

Getting involved in an accident can leave you with devastating and life-threatening injuries. Sadly, you may not be able to detect the injuries immediately, which is risky as they can develop into permanent disability if not treated in good time. One of the common injuries accident victims sustain is neck injuries.

Symptoms may not show until later, and it helps to know what to look out for. The severity of the injury can influence the compensation you can recover from the negligent party responsible for your accident. A skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help you create a solid compensation claim to help you meet the recovery costs.

Is a Broken Neck a Serious Injury?

A broken neck entails fracturing one or more of the seven vertebrae that connect the skull base to the thoracic spinal region. It comprises ligaments, discs, muscles, tendons, and bones. One of the risks of a broken neck is that it can damage the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or death, depending on the extent of the injury.

Given these consequences, a broken neck is a severe injury, and neglecting it can worsen the condition. A fractured neck requires you to undergo a CT scan and medical treatment that sometimes involves surgery and physical therapy at a hospital for a full recovery.

All these can be costly, and you might have to miss time from work, adding to your losses. An experienced San Antonio auto accident attorney can discuss the legal aspects of your claim and help you gather the relevant evidence to pursue compensation.

What Are the Causes of a Broken Neck?

Neck fractures result from various accident types caused by someone’s negligence. You can sustain a neck fracture under any of the following circumstances:

  • Car and motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Slip and fall
  • Workplace accidents
  • Pedestrian accident

Regardless of the type of accident that caused your neck injury, the impact can result in a severe neck injury. If you sustain a neck injury in a vehicle collision, you can file a claim against the at-fault party for damages. Let a skilled auto accident lawyer in San Antonio evaluate your case and help you file the appropriate claim.

Symptoms of a Broken Neck

The symptoms of a broken neck can range from mild to severe, depending on the type, location, and cause of the injury. The most common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain that worsens with specific movements
  • Tingling and numbness that extends to the upper body
  • Swelling around the neck
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Tenderness at the fractured site
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Reduced balance
  • Bruising and discoloration
  • Loss of feeling in the arms and legs or paralysis in more severe cases of fractured neck

Seek medical care and treatment immediately after noticing these signs and symptoms. Establishing the severity of a neck injury is challenging unless you seek medical attention. With the medical report and proof of the bills incurred in treating the injury, an auto accident attorney in San Antonio can help you pursue the compensation your case is worth.

Diagnosing a Broken Neck

Even with the above-presenting symptoms of a broken neck, imaging is crucial to determine the injury’s extent, location, and severity. Your physician can determine this through the following:

  • X-ray to evaluate the bones for fractures
  • MRI to assess the damage to soft tissues like the spinal cord and brain
  • CT scan to analyze bone and spinal cord compression

Treatment for Neck Fractures

Your physician will manage your neck fracture depending on its location and your presenting symptoms. Treatment options include:


If the fracture is severe and unstable, you might need traction to reduce your neck movement. The treatment option entails wearing rigid braces or a halo vest to keep your spine steady. It may limit your mobility, making you unable to drive or do other activities. The treatment option can take up to 12 weeks to achieve complete recovery.

Neck Brace or Collar

If the fracture is only minor, your physician may recommend wearing a neck brace or collar for up to 8 weeks to help you heal. The device keeps your neck in line while it heals.


Extensive surgery to the neck, spine, and vertebrae may need surgery to:

  • Remove damaged vertebrae discs
  • Relieve pressure on your spinal cord
  • Repair vertebrae on your spine
  • Reconnect the broken bone pieces and hold them in place

Surgeries are invasive and may involve plates, wires, or screws. Recovery may take longer, keeping you from work and other daily activities. Whatever type of treatment you get, you may experience stiffness and neck pain due to decreased normal movement. Your physiotherapist will advise you on managing daily activities.

What Should I Do if I Suspect a Broken Neck?

If you got involved in an accident and suspect a neck fracture, there are steps you should take to minimize the risk of complications:

  • Keep the neck as still as possible
  • Call an ambulance
  • Seek follow-up care at the hospital
  • Comply with any treatment recommendations from your physician
  • Ensure there are no treatment gaps

The other crucial thing is to consult a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio to help you pursue monetary compensation for the injuries against the at-fault party.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Helping You Pursue Compensation for Neck Injuries

Neck injuries can have life-changing consequences and involve significant medical treatment for an extended period. Once you have a general overview of your treatment, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to seek monetary compensation for your damages.

An experienced auto accident lawyer at the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris can handle the legal aspects of the claim process. They can submit a formal settlement demand to the at-fault party’s insurance company and follow up until you get the settlement you deserve. We want to help you so that you can focus on healing and recovery. Call us at (210) 361-3393 for a FREE consultation.