Car accidents are one of the primary sources of pain and suffering for the American people, with car accidents being the number one cause of death in the United States. Thousands of people die in tragic car accidents every year, but even if an accident is not fatal, it can have dire consequences.
One of the most significant consequences of a car accident is injuries to the spinal cord; over 40 percent of the spinal cord injuries recorded every year are from car accidents. If you’ve been in an accident and injured your spinal cord, then you’re probably in emotional turmoil on top of your physical pain. It’s possible you’ve had your life as you knew it stripped from you, and you don’t know what you should do next.
Your first step towards recovery starts today, don’t wait!
Why is the Spine Vulnerable?
The human body is one that has gone through many stages along the evolutionary path. Standing upright is relatively recent in terms of our genetic history. As a result, the spine wasn’t originally designed to hold the entire weight of your upper body; it was adapted to such a purpose.
This already means that your spine is one of the most strained and delicate parts of your body, but one thing that the human body never evolved any adaptation to are the speeds we now move around at.Thirty miles an hour feels like a slow, leisurely drive when you’re used to traveling in cars, but it is faster than the fastest human being ever recorded can run.
The human body was simply not built for fast speeds, or, more accurately, for sudden stops from fast speeds. That abrupt deceleration has the most impact on your spine, as your vertically standing body is yanked horizontally by the staggering amounts of force involved in automobile accidents, and the consequences can be truly tragic.
Types of Spinal Injury
The manner of spinal cord injury you can incur from a car accident range from moderately mild to severely life-altering, or even fatal. You might suffer from whiplash, spinal fractures, or herniated discs.
Each of these can be quite painful, and if you feel back pain in any way after an accident, you should seek medical attention. Damage to your spine itself is actually the better scenario, though; even worse would be if you suffer an injury to your spinal cord.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is characterized as an injury that does damage to the spinal cord, which results in loss of sensation or function. Many people believe that the spinal cord needs to be severed in order to cause a loss of function, but this isn’t true; any type of damage to the spinal cord is capable of causing a loss of function. Conversely, if you’ve heard of someone breaking their back and still walking afterward, it likely means they broke the vertebrae in their spine, and that the spinal cord itself remained intact.
Why are Spinal Cord Injuries Serious?
The spinal cord itself is the main organ connecting your brain to the rest of your body. It goes from the base of your brain down into the middle of your back, connecting to all of the nerves extending out into your body.
The nerves within the cord itself are the upper motor neurons, which relay information from the brain to the nerves that spread out through your body, which are known as lower motor neurons. Each bundle of nervous extending out from a particular point in the spinal cord connect to a different portion of your body, in a stacked manner. The lowest portion of your spinal cord connects to nerves extending into your feet, etc.
When a part of that system is significantly damaged, it can partially or completely prevent information from being passed down the line. This means that lower spinal cord injuries can disrupt your feeling or control of the lower parts of your body, and as the spinal cord injury moves upward, more and more of your body can be affected. If the damage is significant enough and in the neck, it could affect your entire body.
Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are divided into two categories: complete and incomplete.
Complete injuries are ones that cause no function at all below the affected area, either sensation or voluntary movement. If an accident takes away feeling and control, it is a complete injury.
An incomplete injury is one that allows some amount of sensation; it will vary, perhaps there is tingling in the legs, or maybe one arm can be used better than the other one. Incomplete injuries might be easier to live with, but they are still very significant and can interfere with your quality of life.
Unfortunately, at the present time, there is no cure for spinal cord injury induced paralysis. It is a field of medical research that is constantly being pushed forward, though, and immediate treatment of the affected region has been shown to reduce inflammation and increase the long-term potential for recovery.
Some people who suffer such injuries will gain some amount of movement and sensation back, especially those who have suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury. This usually happens weeks to months after the accident, but in some cases, it has been known to happen years later. However, even in those who regain function, most people who suffer such an injury will have some symptoms from it for the rest of their life.
Not everyone who has a spinal cord injury needs to use a wheelchair. If someone has been paralyzed, below the legs or below the neck, then they will need to have a wheelchair, a powered one in the case of quadriplegics. However, many who have incomplete injuries make use of canes or crutches to help them get around. They often do find a wheelchair to be easier for longer distances, though.
What Should You Do if Your Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury Due to Car Accident?
If you have recently suffered an accident that caused a spinal cord injury, you are probably adrift and confused. It is important at this time to secure a passionate personal injury lawyer to represent you. The medical costs associated with treating a spinal cord injury are significant, and you need to have competent counsel in order to make sure you are taken care of. It’s a painful time to be doing anything, but it is absolutely crucial in order to secure your quality of life going forward.
At JacksonWhite we treat every case as it should be, a unique and personalized experience. We understand your needs and desire to be treated fairly, which is why we won’t just treat you like another case, but give you the respect you deserve. Our personal injury attorney, Jared E. Everton, has helped hundreds of Arizona car accident victims recover damages for what they have lost.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.