Spinal Cord Injuries as a Result of Car Accidents
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States are motor vehicle accidents. A spinal cord injury can be life-altering, as well as cause an individual to be overwhelmed with medical expenses. While every car accident is different, the same general trauma can lead to a spinal cord injury. Here’s what every driver should know.
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How Car Accidents Can Cause Spinal Cord Injuries
A car accident can result in a sudden blow to the spinal cord or the surrounding tissues, including ligaments, discs, and vertebrae. This trauma can cause vertebrae to break or the sensitive tissues to become crushed or dislocated. Some spinal cord injuries also bleed.
If the injury spreads down the spinal cord, it can result in damage to the nervous system that interferes with motor function. Any damage to the spinal cord can result in difficulty functioning even if the spinal cord has not been severed. The impact of these injuries depends on the intensity of the trauma, the location of the injury, as well as the general health of the person injured.
What Exactly is the Spinal Cord and How is it Damaged?
The spinal cord itself can be described as a spongy bundle of cylindrical nervous tissue encased by the vertebrae that make up your spine. The spinal cord is particularly sensitive like many examples of nervous tissue and can suffer severe damage from severe trauma as well as pressure. Car accidents have a way of causing trauma that initiates troubles with the spine and spinal cord in more ways that directly just smashing it to pieces.
Spinal cord injuries can result in vertebrae suffering a fracture that over time starts to put pressure on or cause parts of bone to pierce/tear on the spinal cord and damage it. In other instances, the discs of the spine can become herniated and lead to the spinal cord suffering pressure from the vertebrae.
The Effects of Spinal Cord Injury
The effects of this type of injury depend on where the spinal cord was damaged, and the severity of the trauma. Possible effects include:
- Loss of feeling
- Difficulty with breathing or coughing
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
It’s crucial for victims of car accidents to seek medical treatment to ensure there is no unseen damage. Furthermore, spinal cord injuries can develop days after the original car accident. It is in the nature of spinal cord injuries to cause particularly severe damage to a person and in many cases cause permanent damage. The spinal cord is a complex organ responsible for relaying sensory information from and to the body and brain allowing us to feel our legs and move them for example. The issue with the spinal cord is that much like other parts of the nervous system, its complexity can make it difficult to repair when damaged via trauma inflicted via a car accident. Many people end up suffering permanent damage and have to live with the aforementioned symptoms for the rest of their life.
Spinal cord injuries do have a chance to recover completely though. People involved in car accidents that inflicted severe trauma on their back and spine stand a significantly higher chance of avoiding permanent damage if they see a physician about their injuries as soon as possible. That also means that even if the pain is minor or doesn’t seem particularly damaging you should still see a physician since spinal cord injury symptoms can start out fairly mild and be overlooked until it is too late. Waiting to see a doctor can also have an effect on any possible settlement value.
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Avoid Spinal Cord Injuries in Car Accidents
You can reduce the risk of a spinal cord injury from a car accident by taking a few proactive steps.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Check that children are in the proper car seats, boosters seats, or well-fitted seatbelts.
- Make sure that your airbag is in operating condition. Do not drive a car that has previously been in an accident and has no functioning airbag.
If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury due to a car accident that was another driver’s fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call Viles & Beckman, LLC today at (239) 334-3933 or fill out a contact form online today to learn more about your legal options.
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at Viles & Beckman LLC who have a combined experience of nearly 60 years: Marcus Viles, Michael Beckman or Maria Alaimo. The information provided in this article comes from years of experience trying legal cases outside and inside courtrooms throughout Florida along with extensive research.