Many victims of serious car accidents suffer from various forms of spinal cord injuries. The impact of a car accident can catastrophically impact the spinal cord and can result in permanent or temporary injuries that can be life-threatening. It is important to immediately seek medical care following an injury if you have extreme pain or pressure in your neck or back, any numbness or tingling sensations, problems with bowels or urinary incontinence, any partial or complete loss of control or feeling. The most common types of spinal cord injuries suffered in severe car accidents as discussed below.
Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
Any spinal cord injury is devastating, but it is important to understand that a spinal cord injury is typically categorized as either a complete or incomplete injury. Both complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries can be to the cervical (C1-C8), thoracic (T1-T12), lumbar (L1-L5) or sacral (S1-S5) areas of the spine. A complete spinal cord injury means that a victim has the inability to actually move any physical area below the area of the injury. It is likely that the area below the injury will not have any feeling or sensation. Unfortunately, in cases of a complete spinal cord injury, there is a lesser chance of making a full and complete recovery. While there may not be any motor or sensory function below the injury level, there may still be intact nerves and axons.
Conversely, an incomplete spinal cord injury means that a victim can actually feel some sensations below the injury or move some or all parts of their body below the injury. The good news is that there is hope that these victims will make a partial recovery, or even a full recovery.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Every person will have a different experience with respect to their spinal cord injury, and injuries are always dependent on the unique facts and circumstances of a particular car accident. However, the following are some common types of spinal cord injuries that are seen often in car accidents in victims:
- Whiplash (can be minor lasting days or weeks, or major lasting years) to neck or cervical spine
- Herniated, bulging and ruptured discs
- Spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spaces in your spine that result in nerve pressure
- Facet joint injuries can involve nerve roots and can result in radiating pain, stiffness and arthritis
- Spinal fractures or breaks such as compression fractures, burst fracture, transverse process fracture, flexion/distraction fracture, fracture-dislocation,
- Direct injuries to the spinal cord
Every one of these types of spinal cord injuries will present differently in every victim. Luckily, some injuries to the spinal cord may actually resolve with some rest and over-the-counter pain medications. In other cases, more serious spinal cord injuries such as herniated or ruptured discs may resolve with time, as well, depending on the severity of the actual injury. Other spinal cord injuries such as spinal fractures, facet joint injuries, or spinal fractures or breaks may also resolve with either time, treatment, or surgery. Unfortunately, in some serious cases, spinal cord injuries may cause temporary or even permanent paralysis.
Contact an Experienced Accident Lawyer
If you suffered any kind of spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, you likely have astronomical medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages due to your inability to return to work. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Griggs Injury Law at (816) 474-0202 to learn your legal rights, and how to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses resulting from someone else’s negligence.