Motor Vehicle Accidents and their Resulting Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are one of the most serious and debilitating injuries a person can endure. A spinal cord injury is any damage or trauma to the spine that results in either a temporary or permanent change in normal motor or sensory functioning. They are generally caused by injury resulting in compression of the spinal cord. According to the National Spinal cord Injury Association, 44 percent of all spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents. Additionally, approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported each year in the United States.
Spinal cord injuries from motor vehicle accidents can result in any of the following:
Paraplegia, or loss of voluntary motor function (also known as paralysis) of the lower body, including the legs and often internal organs below the waist. Although the degree of paralysis can vary from mere impairment of leg movement to complete paralysis of legs, paraplegics have full use of their arms and hands.
Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia. Unlike paraplegics who lose motor function of their lower region, quadriplegics are unable to move both their upper and lower body (arms and legs). The accurate term to describe quadriplegia is “tetraplegia,” although the term “quadriplegia” is commonly used. Quadripilegia occurs when the person endures a spinal cord injury located to the top of the spine or backbone. It typically starts at the upper body, usually at or around the shoulder area, and travels downward. A quadriplegic may lack sensation in affected areas or lose the ability to control the affected body parts.
Bulging Discs. A bulging disc occurs when a disc bulges through a crevice in the spine when the disc shifts out of its normal position. Bulging discs result in numbness, tingling in limbs, weakness and back or neck pain. A disc bulge is often the first step toward a more serious problem known as a herniated disc.
Herniated Discs. A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the tissue that separates the vertebral bones of the spinal column ruptures. The nucleus is at the center of the disc and absorbs shock from standing, walking, running, etc. The outer ring of the disc, known as the annulus, holds the nucleus in place. If the nucleus tissue in the center of the disc is placed under substantial pressure from a car accident, it can cause the annulus to rupture, resulting in numbness in limbs and neck and back pain. Herniated discs often result in spine surgery.
Spinal cord injuries are serious and can lead to loss of some or all of an individual’s sensation and movement.
If the spinal cord appears to be compressed by a herniated disc, the surgeon may wish to operate on a patient immediately. Surgery is most commonly performed on patients with incomplete spinal cord injury or with progressive neurological deterioration. Surgery may also be necessary to stabilize the spine in the area of the spinal cord injury. During a surgical procedure, metal rods and screws are attached to normal vertebrae and the vertebrae is fused together.
York Law Firm would like to help minimize your suffering. While we can’t lessen your physical pain, we can help you recover your past and future medical care costs, as well as damages for your pain and suffering, the resulting physical limitations and emotional trauma.