Damage to the spinal cord injuries is among the most painful and life-changing.
Spinal injuries are the type of injury that can result in a wide range of symptoms depending on the severity of the accident and damamge done to the vertebrae. Symptoms from minor pain that goes away with proper treatment and therapy to full-on paralysis. Even with minor spinal cord injuries, the pain that is associated with it can reappear months or years after the accident. If you were the victim of a car accident in California and are now attempting to readjust to life with a spinal cord injury, contact a California spinal cord injury lawyer at our law firm as soon as possible!
High-speed car crashes are one of the leading causes of spinal injuries thanks to the very high level of force that is created. If your injury was caused by the reckless disregard of another driver, do not hesitate to file a claim for damages. Make sure to seek medical help as soon as possible before reaching out to an experienced personal injury lawyer near you.
What Happens To You Spine During A Car Accident?
It is common for the discs in your spine to rupture or displace shortly following the impact of a car accident. Due to the strong force, your spine compresses putting a strain on your spine. When blood cells rupture, nearby organs become damaged. The spinal cavity swells in defense, cutting off blood and vital oxygen to the area. The affected nerves and neurons are severed, causing a break in the connection between your brain and all of the body parts below the point of injury. If medical treatment isn’t sought out as soon as possible and the swelling is not taken care of, the victim risks permanent damage and even paralysis from wher the injury is and downwards.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics For 2019
- In the U.S., it is estimated that about 12,000 cases of spinal cord injuries are reported every year – which amounts to around 30 injuries a day. These injuries can be caused by slips and falls, birth-related injuries, sports-related accidents, and motor vehicle accidents.
- According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), about one-third of all spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents, making auto accidents the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.
- The average age of a spinal cord injured person is 43
- Approximately 17,730 new injuries occur each year
- Approximately 291,000 Americans are spinal cord injured
- Between 12,000 and 20,000 new patients are treated for SCI each year. Of these, 46% are estimated to have been caused by a car accident.
What Are Complete Spinal Cord Injuries?
Complete spinal cord injury causes complete loss of function of the body from below the area of injury on the spine. These types of injuries can result in:
- Paraplegia – refers to complete loss of motor and sensory function in the lower extremities of the body.
- Quadriplegia – refers to complete loss of motor and sensory function in the torso and the four limbs.
Medical treatment that provides full recovery from these types of injuries is rare. Usually, life-changing and capable of full recovery is the case. Extensive rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery, and physical therapy can help an injured person regain a certain level of independence with the assistance of a wheelchair. These types of treatments are expensive for the victim. Always make sure to seek legal compensation to aid the recovery process. Injuries to the spine are already stressful as it is.
What Are Partial Spinal Cord Injuries?
Partial or incomplete spinal cord injuries are more common amongst other SCI(spinal cord injury). Such injuries are characterized by limited motor or sensory functioning of the body from below the injured area of the spine. At times, certain functions that are hampered during an injury can be regained after the injury heals.
Partial spinal cord injuries include:
- Anterior cord syndrome – injuries to the front of the spine causing loss of temperature sensation, inability to feel pain, and loss of sensory functions of areas below the spot of injury.
- Posterior cord syndrome – injury to the back of the spine causing loss of temperature sensation and coordination and the inability to feel pain.
- Central cord syndrome – injuries to the center of the spine causing loss of functionality in the arms.
- Cauda equina lesion – injury to the nerve end grouping in between the first and second lumbar region.
- Brown–Sequard syndrome (BSS) – asymmetrical injury affecting one specific side of the spine. This allows movement and the sensation to exist on one side of the body, but not on the other side.
4 Common Spinal Injuries From Auto Accidents To Watch For
A spinal cord injury is when damage occurs to any part of the spinal cord or nerves.
Because the spine is particularly vulnerable in the event of a crash, however, these injuries are often difficult to notice until hours or even days after a crash. Make sure to seek proper medical care following an accident immediately. Spinal cord or back injuries are extremely serious in nature and can result in permanent disabilities such as paralysis and other complications. The common injuries are:
It is not uncommon for victims of rear-end collisions to suffer whiplash. The force of the impact can jerk your head forward and backward violently. The symptoms of whiplash usually become evident within the first 24 hours of the car accident but not always, and may include any of the following:
- Pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck. The muscles may feel hard or knotted
- Pain when rocking your head from side to side or backward and forward
- Pain or stiffness when moving your head to look over each shoulder.
- Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate towards the forehead.
2. Spine Fractures
Car accident victims often sustain compression fractures in the lower and middle back due to the immense force from being jerked forward and back from the seatbelt.
When someone suffers a back injury in a car crash, you generally shouldn’t move the patient. Wait for the paramedics to arrive. It’s best to not move and wait. They will secure the patient with a neck collar and backboard before transporting him/her to the hospital. When a person suffers a spine fracture, he/she will experience intense pain that becomes worse with movement.
Some other symptoms to look out for include:
- Neck pain
- Muscle spasm
- Bowel/bladder changes
3. Herniated Disc
Understanding the function of the spine can help shine a light on what happens when the disc is herniated. The spinal discs act as shock absorbers. In a car crash, these discs can herniate. Depending on the location of the back injury or herniated disc, the car crash victim may notice:
- Arm pain
- Leg pain
- Numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the affected areas.
This condition happens when a stress fracture pushes a vertebra out of position. These bones can then press on the nerves and narrow the spinal column causing pain and numbness. It can also make walking difficult, and cause weakness in the buttock or legs. While some people may not experience any symptoms, others may continue to have problems even years after the crash.
Some symptoms to look out for include:
- Lower back pain
- Muscle tightness and stiffness
- Pain in the buttocks
- Pain radiating down the legs (due to pressure on nerve roots)
Spinal Compression Fracture From Fall
Each year there are over 29 million emergency room visits in the United States. While some of these injuries are minor, many of them are serious, debilitating injuries that impact their victims for the rest of their lives.
Whether the accident involves a car or any case, the neck and back are one of the most common areas to be injured. Spinal compression fractures from falls, also known as vertebral compression fractures, is a type of spinal injury.
Injuries to the spine happen when the vertebrae are compressed in height and when the load on the vertebrae exceeds its strength.
What is a Spinal Compression Fracture?
Fractures to the spine occur when the spine undergoes immense pressure causing the vertebra to fracture. These injuries can happen anywhere on our spine but unfortunately, tend to be most common in the upper back area also known as the thoracic spine.
What Causes Spinal Compression Fractures?
People with strong, healthy bones can suffer this type of injury when involved in a car accident or motorcycle accident and sometimes even slip and falls. Another common reason is with diseases like osteoporosis. When the spine suffers trauma and is compressed or sustains a serious blow, the vertebrae can break.
What Are The Symptoms of Spinal Compression Fractures?
There are a variety of different symptoms that can arise from a spinal compression fracture. A doctor will likely recommend that a spinal X-ray or MRI be taken to know for sure and possibly some other tests if needed. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- over an extended period, patients may notice a loss of height
- pain in back, arms, or legs
- Sudden onset of back pain
- Limited mobility in the spine
- numbness and/or weakness in arms or legs (if the fracture has affected the spinal cord and/or surrounding nerves in the spine
- Spinal deformity
- Gastrointestinal issues
If you have been in any kind of traumatic accident where your spine has been injured, make sure to seek medical attention right away. If you feel a sudden onset of pain in your back after being involved in a car accident, contact your doctor. If you fail to seek immediate medical care, the problem could worsen and cause even more damage and possibly lead to paralysis.
Spinal Compression Fracture Treatments
Depending on the severity of the injury, there are surgical and non-surgical options. Typically, non-surgical measures will be tried first. These include:
- Bed rest
- Vitamin D supplements
- Calcium supplements
- Pain relievers
- Spinal brace
- Medications to stabilize bone density
- Epidural injections in the spine
- Physical therapy
In either situation, the injury may keep you from being able to return to work, may limit what you’re able to do at work and will lead to medical bills. If you or a loved one have sustained multiple compression fractures in a vehicle accident due to another’s recklessness or negligence, you deserve to pursue compensation for all of your injuries and the costs associated with them. Make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer in your local area who can help you pay for your medical bills.
Contact a California Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer At Krasney Law!
No matter what the spinal injury is our personal injury firm in California can help you recover your damages and losses. In spinal cord injury cases, the cost of future medical care and occupational therapy will be a big portion of the settlement. The reason for this is because of the constant medical care or therapy you may need to try and resume a life similar to the one you had before the accident. Our personal injury lawyers understand that this is a tough time to go through and are here to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
If your spinal cord injury was the result of another driver’s negligent behavior, contact our experienced California spinal cord injury lawyers. Not only will our skilled car accident lawyers help you recover your past medical expenses, but we can also work to get you compensation for ongoing medical expenses as well. For a free consultation or if you just have questions you want to ask us, please don’t wait to contact us. Call (909) 380-7200 today!