Car accident whiplash settlement cases involve a sudden extension of the cervical spine (backward movement of the neck) and flexion (forward movement of the neck). This type of trauma is also referred to as a cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) injury. Rear-end or side-impact motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of whiplash with injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and discs of the cervical spine.

The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones, called vertebrae. The cervical spine is formed by the first seven. A bony ring attaches to the back of the vertebral body. When the vertebrae are stacked on top of each other, the rings form a hollow tube. This bony tube surrounds the spinal cord as it passes through the spine. As the spinal cord travels from the brain down through the spine, it sends out nerve branches between each vertebrae called nerve roots. The nerve roots that come out of the cervical spine form the nerves that go to the arms and hands. Two spinal nerves exit the sides of each spinal segment, one on the left and one on the right. As the nerves leave the spinal cord, they pass through a small bony tunnel on each side of the vertebra, called a neural foramen.

Each spinal segment includes two vertebrae separated by an intervertebral disc, the nerves that leave the spinal cord at that level, and the small facet joints that link each level of the spinal column.

An intervertebral disc is made of connective tissue that normally works like a shock absorber. It protects the spine against the daily pull of gravity. It also protects the spine during activities that put strong force on the spine, such as jumping, running, and lifting.

An intervertebral disc is made up of two parts like a jelly donut. The center, called the nucleus, is spongy. It provides most of the ability to absorb shock. The nucleus is held in place by the annulus, a series of strong ligament rings surrounding it.

There are two facet joints between each pair of vertebrae-one on each side of the spine. The surfaces of the facet joints are covered by articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is a smooth, rubbery material that covers the ends of most joints. It allows the bone ends to move against each other smoothly, without pain. The alignment of the facet joints of the cervical spine allows freedom of movement as you bend and turn your neck.

McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin provides aggressive legal representation in car accident whiplash compensation cases including medical bills, wage loss, pain, suffering and disability.