November 28, 2022
Auto Accident

The forceful impact in many car accidents can lead to severe, life-changing injuries. The most common debilitating injuries sustained in car accidents are spinal cord injuries (SCIs). In 2021, 14,897 spinal cord injuries occurred due to vehicle accidents in the U.S., nearly 42% of SCIs that year.

Those who suffer an SCI in a vehicle collision may experience paralysis, chronic pain, loss of mobility, and neurological issues. Many victims of car accidents with spinal cord injuries suffer from a decreased quality of life and incur extensive medical expenses.

Montgomery back and spine lawyers at The Vance Law Firm can help if you suffer an SCI in an auto accident. Our legal team can review your diagnosis records, help you estimate a fair settlement, and get you compensation to pay for your long-term medical needs.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

The types of SCIs you may suffer in a vehicle accident include minor and traumatic. Seeking treatment after your crash can help you receive the appropriate diagnosis for your back and spine injuries and provide records to support your personal injury claim.

  • Minor (Non-Traumatic) Spinal Cord Injuries

Traumatic events like car accidents do not cause non-traumatic spinal cord injuries. Instead, minor SCIs happen due to spinal degeneration, cancer or tumors, compression, a loss of blood flow, or infections. Non-traumatic SCIs include degenerative disc disease and inflammatory conditions.

Even though these injuries are not caused by trauma, they can still cause severe and life-altering symptoms. Typically, the risk of enduring a non-traumatic spinal cord injury increases with age.

  • Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

Traumatic spinal cord injuries are immediate and often devastating, usually resulting from a car accident or other sudden injury. Traumatic spinal cord injuries can cause a previously healthy spinal cord to suffer abrupt, severe damage.

Traumatic spinal cord injuries sustained to the cervical spine are associated with adverse medical outcomes. Injuries to this area cause complete paralysis below the injury’s location.

Injuries to the C5 through C8 region can result in severe outcomes, such as partial paralysis, often of the hands, trunk, or legs. The victim can usually breathe and speak without assistance and move with the help of a wheelchair. As the injury gets lower in the neck, outcomes improve.

If the injury affects the thoracic or lower portion of the spine, there may be pain or restricted mobility to the hands or arms. Other thoracic injuries may affect the pectoral area of the chest.

If you suffer a traumatic SCI and paralysis due to a car accident, you can work with the auto attorneys at The Vance Law Firm to seek compensation for paralysis. We can assess your SCI test results and use them to ask for compensation for current and future medical bills, assistant care, and rehabilitative services.

How Common Are Spinal Cord Injuries?

Research performed by the United Spinal Association shows that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for 39.3% of the approximately 17,700 occurrences SCIs. The University of Iowa estimates between 250,000 and 400,000 Americans were living with spinal cord injuries in 2018, with 82% of the injuries occurring in men.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Car accidents involve high-impact forces and sudden changes of inertia. Depending on the nature of the accident, these forces can damage the spinal cord in various ways, including whiplash and airbag deployment.

  • Whiplash

Whiplash is a colloquial term for a cervical acceleration-deceleration, a sudden snapping forward and backward of the head. This type of injury commonly occurs in rear-end injuries, as the sudden burst of force from behind causes the neck to snap forward.

Symptoms typically appear rapidly and may include headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, stiffness in the neck, and fatigue. In severe cases, the snapping motion can injure the spinal cord.

  • Airbag Deployment

While airbags can be a helpful safety feature to prevent injuries in a car accident, they can also cause harm. A 2018 study on cervical spine injuries and airbag deployment found that airbags cause hyperextension and spinal dislocation injuries. Older drivers were especially susceptible to SCIs caused by airbag openings.

  • Spinal Fracture

Spinal fractures typically occur in the thoracic or lumbar regions of the spine and involve fractures to the vertebrae. There are several ways vertebrae can fracture in a car accident. One example is a chance fracture, usually caused by the rapid deceleration associated with many head-on or sudden-stop accidents. The spine may break when a vehicle suddenly decelerates due to an unnatural bend around the seatbelt.

There is a risk of spinal cord injury regardless of the type of spinal fracture. If the break is not stable, the bone may shift and damage the spinal cord, causing a severe injury that may have been avoided if the injury had been treated promptly.

 Back and Spine Lawyers at The Vance Law Firm

If you are involved in an accident and injure your spine, seek the help of the experienced attorneys at The Vance Law Firm. Our back and spine injury lawyers will fight to earn you the maximum possible settlement for your injuries to help you pay for the cost of rehabilitative care and lost wages.

The Vance Law Firm’s car accident lawyers in Montgomery have won our vehicle injury clients millions in compensation and know how to handle the complexities of cases involving back and spine injuries.

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, contact us for a free consultation to learn how our lawyers can help you with your case.

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