Spinal cord injuries are among the most common traumatic injury suffered worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, motor vehicle accidents account for 40 percent of all spinal cord injuries each year, with young men between the ages of 20 and 29 making up the majority of those injured.
If that isn’t enough, a spinal cord injury can leave the victim with a lifetime’s worth of damage that will only worsen over time. If you suffered spinal cord damage in a car accident because of someone else’s carelessness, you should have legal assistance to recover compensation for your injury.
Why Are Spinal Cord Injuries So Serious?
Although we call it a “spinal cord,” the spinal cord really resembles a long, frayed rope, like an old macrame plant holder with hundreds of strings dangling off on every side. Those strings are nerves that run from the central cord out to your arms, legs, and organs. Damage to the central cord means that all the nerves below that point lose their connection to your brain.
The higher up the damage occurs, the more nerves lose their connection to the brain. The human body is prepared to handle some traumatic damage. The nerves for each body part emerge from the spinal cord much higher than the body part they activate. For instance, the nerves which operate your hands extend from just below your neck.
When the spinal cord is bruised, hit, or stretched violently, as it is in a car accident, the tissues are torn or swell, and this leads to damage. Spinal cord tissue does not heal in the same way muscles or organ tissue heals, and the damage can be permanent unless it is treated immediately and properly. As a result, spinal cord injuries are serious and lasting. They can also take time to develop after an accident, meaning people may leave the scene thinking they’re okay and then feel the results later.
What Kinds of Spinal Cord Injuries Do Car Accidents Cause?
The varied impacts of a car accident can cause numerous types of spinal cord injuries, but the most common ones involve the neck. Even when you are wearing a seat belt properly, and your car has airbags, the side-to-side (“lateral”) and other forces of an impact are more than the human body can take. The best-designed car is no match for a high-velocity crash.
You should watch for any signs of spinal cord damage that can appear after an accident, even if you felt all right just after the crash:
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the extremities, especially the hands and feet. When your neck is hurled forward and back in a “whiplash,” your cervical nerves can be pinched or bruised by the neck vertebrae. This can cause a loss of sensation in your hands and arms.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control. These nerves also travel along the spine, and loss of control can be one of the early signs of spinal cord damage.
- Difficulty breathing or speaking.
- Paralysis of one or more limbs.
- Loss of balance or sensation.
Because of the forces involved in an accident, any serious crash creates the potential for spinal cord injury. If you have been in an accident and any of these symptoms appear at the time or later, you should seek medical attention right away.
Long-Term Spinal Cord Injury
In the worst cases, the spinal cord can be damaged to the point that no sensation can be felt below the injury. This is known as a “complete” spinal cord injury. In a complete spinal cord injury, the victim has paralysis to some degree.
Paraplegia means that two limbs are paralyzed, usually the legs. If one side of the body is paralyzed, it is called hemiplegia. Paraplegia can involve the legs only, or it can involve the lower organs and pelvis.
Quadriplegia, or tetraplegia, means that all four limbs are paralyzed. If the spinal cord is damaged below the cervical vertebrae, the victim will have control over their breathing and may have some movement of their upper body. However, if the injury involves the cervical spine, the victim will require a ventilator and other life support measures.
In all cases of “complete” spinal cord injury, the victim will need extensive medical treatment both during and after their stay in the hospital. These are life-altering injuries with consequences that will last forever. In the case of someone with a cervical spinal cord injury, they will need a caregiver around the clock for the rest of their life.
How Chris Hudson Law Group Can Help
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, you may already be experiencing some of the effects of those injuries. You may be caring for someone who has lost the use of their limbs, or you may be trying to work with limited use of your hands. Whatever your difficulties, you should be compensated for your injuries if they were caused by another person’s careless actions.
If you need to file an insurance claim for your injuries, or if you have filed a claim and it has been denied, you should get legal assistance right away. Your medical bills are not the only bills that will need to be paid. You may need a lifetime of care and treatment, and your claim or potential legal action must cover these future bills as well.
The insurance company has attorneys and insurance adjusters, whose job is to find ways not to pay you the money you deserve. You should have a legal team beside you that can help you fight on your behalf for the compensation you need. If your accident was not your fault, you should not have to live with the financial results on your own. Our legal team will help you build a strong case and fight for the fair outcome you are entitled to.
Contact Chris Hudson Law Group at (706) 863-6600 if you were involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else or if you have had your spinal cord injury claim turned down by the insurance company.
Our team of experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys will help you put together a strong case and pursue the compensation you need to deal with your injuries. We have helped hundreds of clients with cases just like yours – read what they have to say about working with us.
The consultation is free. Our car accident lawyers will fight to get you the compensation you need.