Getting into a car accident can easily lead to serious injury. One of the most common injuries after an accident is damage to the spinal cord. About 38% of spinal cord injury cases come as a result of a car crash. An injury to the spinal cord is very serious and requires immediate attention. Damage to the spine can occur when bone, disc material, or ligaments tear or damage the nerves around the spinal cord.
These types of injuries can have long-lasting consequences and even lead to permanent paralysis.
What Types of Injuries are Caused By Accidents?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nervous tissue that has 31 pairs of spinal nerves, which are responsible for controlling a wide range of bodily functions. Injuries to the spinal cord can occur anywhere across the spinal column. Injuries are classified into two categories, complete injuries or incomplete injuries.
- Complete Injury: Getting into a car accident can lead to a complete spinal cord injury. A complete injury means a person is unable to feel or move below where the injury occurred. These types of injuries often come after a blow to the body that leads to a fracture or compressed vertebra. Then the spine will move and flex beyond what is normal and lead to a damaged spinal cord.
- Incomplete Injury: While incomplete spinal cord injuries are still painful and damaging, they do mean people are still able to have some spinal cord functionality.
Even if you feel no pain after an accident, the spinal cord could still have been damaged, leading to bleeding, swelling, or fluid accumulation around the spine. The most common type of incomplete injuries is disc trauma, which is often seen after a vehicle accident.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
Both types of injuries can lead to partial or permanent paralysis. Different types of injuries can lead to different circumstances down the road.
- Cervical Spine: Any injury to the cervical spine could lead to quadriplegia or paralysis below the injury.
- Thoracic Spine: These injuries are less common due to the protection of the rib cage, but injuries to this part of the spine can lead to weakness or paralysis in the legs, bowel, and bladder.
- Lumbar & Sacral Spine: Injuries to these parts of the spine usually lead to the same complications as a thoracic spinal cord injury.
No matter the severity of an injury, any type of spinal cord damage is a serious affair. Spinal cord injuries that receive immediate treatment have the highest chance of recovery, but an injury often requires physical therapy, surgery, and medication as part of the recovery plan.
Recovery from a spinal cord injury might also include treatment for a variety of related conditions and complications, including depression, chronic pain, loss of muscle tone, and kidney infections.
If you or someone you love suffered a spinal cord injury from an accident, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your options for compensation, which can go a long way towards paying for hospital bills, therapy, and any other treatment that may be required.
Call today to schedule a consult.