How Car Crashes Cause Spinal Cord Injuries

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woman with spine injury after a car accident on Long Island

Car accidents are one of the common causes of spinal cord injuries in New York. These are some of the most severe and devastating injuries a person can suffer. Because the spinal cord contains the major bundle of nerves that carries impulses from the brain to the rest of the body, injury to the spinal cord can result in total paralysis in the most serious cases.

While no two car crashes are exactly alike, the same general trauma can lead to a spinal cord injury. A car accident can cause a sudden blow to the spinal cord. This can cause vertebrae to break or the sensitive tissues to become crushed or dislocated. A car crash could cause the spine to move beyond its normal range of motion. That can cause serious damage to the spinal cord. If a motorist or passenger hits their head on something in the vehicle or if they are thrown from the vehicle and sustain a head injury, that causes the spinal column to compress, causing a severe injury.

If the injury spreads down the spinal cord, it can cause damage to the nerves and interfere with motor function. Any amount of damage to the spinal cord can result in loss of function of some kind. The impact of spinal cord injuries generally depends on the intensity of the trauma, where the injury occurred on the body, and the overall health of the person injured.

If you experienced a spinal cord injury in a car accident and believe your injury was caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. The experienced New York spinal cord injury lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island will fight for the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Medical bills related to spinal cord injuries are often extremely high and could continue throughout your lifetime. Call (855) TOP-FIRM now for a free initial consultation.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is surrounded by rings of bone known as vertebrae. These bones make up the spinal column. Typically, the higher in the spinal column the injury occurs during the car accident, the more dysfunction the victim will experience. The seven vertebrae in the neck are called the cervical vertebrae. Cervical spinal cord injuries are often very serious, causing loss of function in the extremities. The 12 vertebrae in the chest are called the thoracic vertebra.

Common types of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Fractured Vertebrae: There are 33 vertebrae in the spine, and when one breaks, it can pinch or compress the spinal cord. The severity of a fractured vertebra depends on the stability of the spine after the fracture.
  • Herniated or Ruptured Discs: The discs lie between the vertebrae. Trauma to the spine can cause the soft inner layer of a disc to tear through the tough outer layer of cartilage.
  • Bulging Discs: These are common car accidents involving whiplash, which is when the neck quickly whips forward and back. This can lead to the disc bulging from its normal alignment.
  • Pinched nerves: Sometimes, the tissue surrounding a nerve puts too much pressure on the nerve. This can disrupt the nerve’s function and cause it to send pain signals to the brain. The result is a compressed nerve known as a pinched nerve.
  • Tetraplegia: These injuries are some of the most severe. They can cause different degrees of paralysis of the limbs. Tetraplegia eliminates your ability to move below the site of the injury.
  • Paraplegia: This happens when sensation and movement are removed from the lower half of the body.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis happens when the spaces in your spinal canal begin to narrow, placing pressure on the spinal column and the nerves. While some people are born with spinal stenosis, some develop the condition after trauma to the spine in a car accident.
  • Spondylolysis: This is a term for degenerative conditions in the spine. While it usually results from wear and tear over time, it may also be brought on by injury in a car crash.

Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

Because a spinal cord injury can be life-changing, anyone who believes they suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident should be evaluated immediately by a doctor. It’s not uncommon for a less serious spinal cord injury to worsen and cause more serious problems if it’s left untreated. There are many potential symptoms of spinal cord injuries, such as:

  • Loss of sensation, typically in the extremities
  • Loss of movement
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Pain or intense stinging
  • Bladder or bowel control issues
  • Spasms
  • Coughing and trouble breathing.
  • Sexual dysfunction

If you’ve been in a car accident in New York or on Long Island that involved a blow to your back, immediately seek medical attention to see if you suffered any damage to the spinal cord. Some injuries are not due to direct impact to the spinal cord but rather develop over a period of weeks, months, or years because of damage to the surrounding tissue. This damage can gradually put pressure on the spinal cord or cause shearing.

Contact a New York Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

The New York spinal cord injury lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island have the skills, resources, and experience needed to help you. For over three decades, we have helped car accident victims who suffered spinal cord injuries the New York recover the financial compensation they deserve. Our legal team knows that no two spinal cord injury cases are alike. That’s why we provide each client’s case with individualized attention and knowledgeable legal representation. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. now at (855) TOP-FIRM for a free, no-obligation consultation.