Spinal Cord Damage From a Car Crash

While there are many injuries that can result from a car accident‚ suffering damage to the spinal cord can have some of the most varied and most serious results. Victims must often deal immediately with the fallout of their injury‚ which can include serious disabilities and major medical bills.

At the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers‚ our San Diego car accident lawyers believe that all residents should understand their rights and the effects of spinal cord damage‚ whether or not they have become the victim of such an accident. Our attorneys are dedicated to preserving the rights of and find justice for victims harmed by negligent or reckless parties.

section of spinal cord

Anything that impacts‚ compresses‚ twists‚ stretches‚ or penetrates the spinal cord with enough force during a crash can cause an injury.

Why Is Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers the Right Choice to Represent Me?

Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers is a results-focused personal injury law firm. Our team of skilled litigators understands the devastating impact that an injury to the spinal cord can have on the life of the victim and their family members. We are committed to not only getting you a settlement or judgment, but we will also aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation possible for your case.

A spinal cord injury can often require surgery and long-term therapy; the medical costs can be astronomical. Some spinal injuries may be severe enough to require lifetime assistance. In either case, there is a pressing need for your lawyer to get you the resources you need to get better or to assist you with the ongoing care that you need.

At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, we understand our responsibility to all our clients, but especially to those who have sustained spinal cord injuries.  We negotiate fiercely on your behalf, and we are fully prepared to take your case to a trial in civil court. This is very important for your case because no insurance company wants to walk into court and see our lawyers at the plaintiffs’ table. We know how to win, and they know it.

Spinal Cord Injuries: How Do They Happen?

The spine is about 18 inches long and connects to motor and sensory nerves to your brain. It is one of the most vulnerable structures of your entire body. If you have a traumatic spinal injury from a fall or a car accident or even a sports injury, it can impact your life for months, years, or possibly the rest of your life.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, doctors classify spinal injuries according to location. Injuries to the neck, or cervical, region may result in loss of strength and movement in legs and arms. Injuries to the chest (thoracic) or hip (lumbar) areas of the spine can result in loss of ability to control the legs. The symptoms and effects of a spinal cord injury often include:

  • Complete or partial loss of control over any part of the body
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the head, neck, or back
  • Lumps in the head or spine
  • Loss of sensation or tingling in the fingers, hands, feet or toes
  • Trouble walking or balancing
  • “Band-like” sensations including pressure or pain in the thorax
  • Urgency when it comes to urination or bowel movements, retention, or incontinence

Diagnosis of an incomplete spinal cord injury

Incomplete spinal injuries are diagnosed when the spine is injured and partly damaged but not completely severed. Victims of these types of injuries may still be able to move one arm or leg relatively normally, but the other arm or leg may have limited movement and/or sensation. Anterior cord syndrome means the spine is damaged in the front and the posterior (back) of the spinal cord still connects nerve pathways to the brain, but movement and sensation are limited.

Central cord damage to the large nerve fibers that can result in loss of sensation and motor control to the arms and hands while the legs function normally.  The full extent of an incomplete spinal injury will require some time to diagnose as the spine is stabilized. The patient may gain some function over time that allows for a better quality of life than contemplated initially. Some therapies have proven results for herniated discs and other painful conditions.

A doctor will evaluate the patient for all of the symptoms mentioned above, provided there is no other injury or neurological condition, no altered mental status or intoxication. The evaluation includes a physical exam and often includes x rays to see if there is an injury to the spinal column.  Sometimes, neck pain of certain types can be a significant indication of serious injury, and the doctor will keep the patient’s neck stable until x-rays can be taken.

Coping with Your Spinal Trauma

The severity and scope of a spinal cord injury is dependent upon two factors: location of the injury and extent of the injury. The higher in the spinal cord the injury‚ the more widespread the effects‚ with injuries at the neck possibly causing a victim to lose all bodily functions‚ including the ability to independently breathe. These injuries are categorized into two types‚ incomplete injury (where the cord is damaged but not completely severed and a varied degree of bodily function is lost) and complete injury (where the cord is completely severed and all bodily function below the injury is lost).

To cope with these injuries‚ a victim may need emergency treatment‚ surgery‚ rehabilitative care to recover‚ or permanent medical care and devices to cope with lost abilities. While these are all necessary‚ the cost of care and the loss of abilities can quickly put a victim in severe debt with no way to pay for the costs.

Causes of Spinal Cord Damage in Car Crashes

While it is much less common to suffer spinal cord injuries in a common car accident like a rear-end collision or sideswipe‚ there are many other‚ more severe accidents that could easily cause such an injury. These include rollovers (especially in the event of a roof collapse)‚ seatbelt failure‚ tire failure-related crashes‚ and head-on crashes.

Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for 47 percent. However, they are not the only cause, with falls accounting for 21 percent of spinal cord injuries, and even falls can result in a civil suit if there are issues with premises liability, like hazardous conditions, inadequate warnings and faulty safety devices in the location of the fall.  As for sports injuries, fully two-thirds of spinal injuries are due to diving accidents, making diving the most dangerous sport for the brain and spine. The cruel reality of spinal cord injury is that they occur most frequently in young people from age 16 to age 30, with 80 percent occurring in men.

We have to look at medical costs of spinal cord injuries to show why legal action is so important. In many cases, you will need compensation to treat these injuries and live your life. There are wide variations in medical costs depending upon the nature of the injury, of course. But the first year is typically the most expensive, with medical care costing from $300,000 to $1 million. The years after can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $170,000 per year, with the most severe injuries requiring expensive care indefinitely. So you can see that an aggressive and skilled advocate is essential to your ability to get the medical care you need and to have the best possible quality of life after a spinal cord injury. We take our responsibility to our clients very seriously in every case, but those clients recovering from a significant spinal cord injury are particularly important to Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers.

Let Our San Diego Car Accident Spinal Injury Attorney Be Your Legal Aid

If you have been injured in a crash due to another party’s negligence‚ you have the right to seek compensation for your losses from the at-fault party and his or her insurance company‚ but the search may not be easy. During the pursuit of compensation‚ insurance companies will do all they can to minimize the amount of compensation or even prevent or delay any compensation from being paid. At the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers‚ our San Diego spinal injury attorneys have the skills and resources needed to build up a case that can find success while negotiating with insurance companies. For more information on how we can assist you in holding negligent parties liable‚ call us at (888) 233-5020.

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