Jill Kolodner | November 3, 2022 | Personal Injury
The hangman’s fracture is a serious injury to the spinal column that can lead to death. In many cases, the negligence of others underpins the incidents that cause these types of fractures. When it does, a Baltimore personal injury attorney can help injury victims get justice.
How Does a Hangman’s Fracture Occur?
A hangman’s fracture occurs when the C2 vertebra suffers a bilateral fracture. Although various forces can produce this type of fracture, sudden hyperextension is the most common cause of a hangman’s fracture. The head is snapped back, resulting in the break.
Situations that produce sufficient force to cause a hangman’s injury include:
- Traffic accidents, which are the number one cause of these types of fractures
- Sports and recreational accidents, such as football and diving
- Slip and falls
- Work accidents
As with many other types of injuries, immediate treatment of a hangman’s fracture can make a big difference in the recovery process.
As such, it’s important to be familiar with some of the major symptoms of a hangman’s fracture, which are:
- Dull or sharp pain in the neck and at the base of the skull
- Numbness if the spinal cord or nerves are damaged
- Loss of motor skill
Frequently, the spinal cord escapes damage from the initial trauma that causes a hangman’s fracture. However, failure to seek treatment can exacerbate the injury and result in damage to the spinal cord.
What Are the Consequences of a Hangman’s Fracture?
The consequences of a hangman’s fracture are usually impactful on victims’ lives. The spinal cord and column are delicate, important parts of the body. Injury to them can lead to debilitation as well as significant recovery time.
As such, hangman’s fractures typically cause a series of losses in victims’ lives. In addition to the obvious costs of the medical care needed to address the fracture, injury victims also lose out on essential income while injured. They are also often forced to hire homecare help to assist them in performing regular daily tasks around the house.
Non-economic damages compensate victims for issues brought on by hangman’s fractures, such as loss of companionship, emotional distress, pain, and suffering. For injury victims who face paralysis and other serious consequences of a hangman’s fracture, non-economic and economic damages are usually substantial.
Treating a Hangman’s Fracture
Treatment of a hangman’s fracture should occur immediately after the accident that caused it. Emergency services should transport victims with a hangman’s fracture to the hospital for care. There, they will undergo testing, X-rays, and imaging to determine the extent of the damage. Depending on how serious the fracture is, surgery may be an option.
More mild cases may only require the use of a neck brace. But it is not rare for victims of more serious versions of this type of fracture to require metal pins to stabilize their neck or remain completely bedridden for a time.
Recovering from a Hangman’s Fracture
The good news is that many individuals who experience a hangman’s fracture make excellent recoveries. However, successful recovery requires much inactivity and repose to allow your spine to heal without reinjury, which is common with spinal column injuries.
For injury victims with injuries to the spinal cord, recovery will likely involve physical therapy and other forms of rehab. In many cases, spinal cord damage leads to permanent paralysis and the need to learn how to adapt to a new lifestyle.
Regardless of the level of injury, hangman’s fractures are serious and typically knock individuals out of commission for a time. Compensation goes a long way to help recover and rebuild.
If you need help filing a claim for damages, contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer.