Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries across the country. This type of injury is often life-changing and can lead to extensive medical costs. While all accidents are unique, the same type of trauma can cause spinal cord injuries.
It is important to learn more about these injuries and how they occur. Find that information, and more, here.
How Car Accidents Lead to Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents that result in a sudden blow to the spinal column, spinal cord, or surrounding tissues can result in an injury. The trauma may cause the tissues to be crushed or dislocated or even break the vertebrae. Sometimes, the spinal cord injury that occurs can begin to bleed.
If the injury worsens and moves down the spinal cord, it can damage the nervous system and impact motor function. Damage to the spinal cord may result in problems with bodily functions. This is true even if the spinal cord is not severed.
The severity of the injuries depends on the trauma’s intensity and the location of the spinal column. The victim’s health will also impact the severity of the spinal cord injury that occurs.
Understanding the Spinal Cord and How Damage Occurs
A person’s spinal cord is described as a cylindrical, spongy bundle of nerve tissue. It is encased by the vertebrae, which make up the spine.
Compared to other parts of the body, the spinal cord is especially sensitive. It can experience serious damage if trauma occurs. Unfortunately, car accidents are notorious for causing trauma that results in issues for the spine and the spinal cord. Also, while crushing injuries are not unlikely, there are other ways the spinal cord can be damaged.
For example, the vertebrae may be fractured during a car accident. As time passes, pressure is put on different parts of the bone, which move and shift, piercing or tearing the spinal cord. In other situations, an accident victim may experience a herniated disc, which causes the spinal cord to be under pressure, which can cause future injuries and pain.
Common Spinal Cord Injuries in Car Accidents
The spinal column starts at the base of the skull and goes to the tailbone. It is made of 33 vertebrates and surrounded by the spinal cord.
Any part of the spinal column or cord may be damaged during a car accident. Some of the common injuries to the spinal cord after a car accident include the following:
- Whiplash. A soft-tissue injury that causes damage to the tendons located in the neck.
- Herniated disc. The rubbery discs between the vertebrae offer a cushion that can become displaced or break open. The disc can press on the nerves or spinal cord, causing pain and discomfort.
- Spinal fracture. Car accidents can crack the vertebrate and cause extensive pain.
- Spondylolisthesis. The vertebrate may move out of place, pushing on the bone underneath. It usually impacts the bones in the victim’s lower back.
- Spinal stenosis. This occurs when the spaces in the spine narrow, which puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing pain, weakness, and numbness.
- Spinal cord damage. Any stretching, bruising, nicking, or tearing of the spinal cord can cause impaired sensation and movement.
The Potential Impact of Spinal Cord Injuries
The impact of this injury depends on where the damage occurred on the spinal cord. It also depends on the severity of the trauma. Some of the potential effects of this injury include the following:
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Issues with coughing or breathing
- Loss of feeling
Car accident victims must seek medical treatment immediately to find any hidden injuries or damage.
Additionally, it can take several days after the car accident for spinal cord injuries to show symptoms. When a spinal cord injury occurs, it will likely cause serious and often permanent damage.
Since the spinal cord is responsible for moving sensory information from the brain throughout the body, injuries and damage can lead to an accident victim being unable to feel their feet, legs, arms, and more. The biggest issue with spinal cord injuries is that, like other parts of the nervous system, its complexity makes it challenging to repair if trauma occurs.
Because of this, many victims experience permanent damage for the rest of their lives. It’s for this reason that after an accident, many people insist on retaining a personal injury lawyer to assure that they’re in the best possible health.
Of course, there is a chance that a spinal cord injury will heal. People who are injured in a car accident and suffer severe trauma to their spine and back are more likely to avoid permanent damage if they immediately see a doctor about the injuries. It also means that if your pain does not seem severe or if the injury does not seem extreme, you still need a medical evaluation. If you wait to seek medical treatment, the injury can worsen, impacting your ability to recover a fair amount of compensation.
Avoiding Spinal Cord Injuries in a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA)
It is possible to reduce the likelihood that you will suffer a spinal cord injury in an MVA by taking a few precautionary steps, which include the following:
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Ensure children are in the proper safety seats
- Ensure your vehicle’s airbag is working
- Never drive a car that has been in an accident, and that has no functional airbag
You may still experience a spinal cord injury even if you take these steps. If this happens, and another party’s negligence caused the accident, you may be able to recover compensation.
Contact the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines for Help with Your Spinal Cord Injury
Contact our office if you are involved in a car accident and suffer a spinal cord injury. We offer free consultations and can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
When to Hire a Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer