The sudden jolt from a car accident is enough to cause many different types of injuries, ranging from minor whiplash to life-threatening spinal injuries. Unfortunately, one of the more common types of bodily harm sustained by car accident victims is spinal cord injuries.
The spinal cord, a band of tissue that extends from the base of the brain to the lower back, is a critical component of how you maneuver through the world. Any injuries to this section are not only painful but also can restrict movement and cause discomfort in the surrounding areas.
Continue reading for all the information you need to know about this specific type of injury, including what it is, how it’s caused, and what you can do if you suffer this type of damage in a car accident you didn’t cause.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spinal cord is a collection of tissue that starts at the base of your brain and travels down your back. It’s an essential part of your nervous system that carries signals throughout your body, controlling movement and feeling in most areas of your body.
Damage to this area can limit your movement or cause pain/numbness in your arms, legs, and neck, even in seemingly minor incidents. The pinpoint of the damage often isn’t the main concern; Pain and discomfort usually begin at the point of impact and travel downward, making upper back injuries all the more alarming.
Major damage can cause paralysis in some or all of your body. For example, some accident victims have suffered spinal cord injuries in their lower back and lost mobility from the waist down. Not all cases are this serious, but considering how necessary this area is to your ability to live a normal life, any amount of damage should be inspected by a trained medical professional.
How Does a Spinal Cord Injury Happen During a Car Accident?
A motor vehicle coming to a sudden stop or being struck by another vehicle jolts the driver in ways their body often can’t support. Whiplash is a common example of this, but the twists and turns a body can experience during an accident can cause a wide range of injuries.
Your spinal cord is sensitive, so a sudden jolt to this area can stretch or strain the tissue in ways that restrict blood flow or tear tissue completely. Any instance of this is enough to cause lifelong damage.
What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries may not affect you right away. It could take days, weeks, or months for pain and discomfort to begin.
Here are a few symptoms you should monitor for.
- Numbness or tingling
- Pinching or stinging feelings along the spine
- Muscle spasms/weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestive issues
- Loss of control of your bladder/bowels
As you can see, a spinal cord injury doesn’t only affect your back and neck. Since the area is used for a majority of your motor control, the damage can extend to other areas of your body and cause temporary/permanent complications.
If you were involved in an accident and notice pain, numbness, or general discomfort in any area of your body, it’s important to get yourself checked sooner rather than later.
What Should I Do if I Think I Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury After an Accident?
It will depend on when you discover the injury. If you suspect you injured your spinal cord immediately after the accident, you must try not to move unless there is a present danger to your well-being. Call 911 as soon as possible and wait for the authorities to arrive before trying to get up and move around.
There’s a possibility that you won’t become aware of your injury until after you’ve left the scene, but don’t worry — you still have time to receive treatment. Doing so also forms the foundation for any future insurance claim, making it doubly as important to see a doctor upon discovery of an injury.
Contact Morgan and Morgan After a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are delicate and very, very serious. If you suspect you sustained this kind of injury during an accident you didn’t cause, you should contact an experienced legal representative to help ensure you’re compensated for the damage and can hold the at-fault party accountable for causing you harm.
Our legal team is only a few clicks away. Complete our free, no-risk consultation to get started.