Though drivers in California should take any injury from a motor vehicle accident seriously, spinal injuries can be among the most severe. The spinal cord connects to the brain, which means injury to the spinal cord can prevent the brain from sending the body messages. Drivers may experience several types of spinal cord injuries after an accident.
Spinal cord injury facts
A spinal cord injury places the patient at risk for paralysis, blood clots, sexual problems, digestive issues and cardiovascular disease. Statistics show that 94% of spinal cord injury patients experience chronic pain. Other studies reveal that between 250,000 and 500,000 people around the world get treated for spinal cord injuries.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injury, making up 46% of cases. Recovery from spinal cord injury depends on age, accident severity and overall health. Because adrenalin can mask the symptoms, patients sometimes think they aren’t even injured.
Types of spinal cord injuries
Whiplash is the most common spinal cord injury after an auto accident. This occurs when the head violently jerks back and forth after impact. The violent jerking forces the muscles out of alignment, which may cause arm numbness or tingling, sleep disturbances, limited neck movement, headaches and fatigue.
The spinal column consists of small flexible discs between vertebrae. The impact from an accident could force them to protrude beyond the spine, commonly causing numbness, tingling and pain.
Spinal fractures could occur from the body getting thrown in multiple directions. While most spinal fractures heal on their own, they may also lead to other serious conditions. One of these is vertebral compression, which causes bones to collapse in the front of the spine. This can lead to deformity, pain and even loss of height.
Drivers can sue responsible parties for injuries sustained in a car accident, but they need to seek medical treatment immediately. A lawyer may be able to help them get the best settlement without going to court.