According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. The spinal cord is an extremely delicate part of the body that is made up of soft tissue surrounded by vertebrae and carries nerves from the base of the brain down through the rest of the body. Spinal cord injuries can cause lifelong disability and may require ongoing, long-term treatment that must be considered before settling an auto accident case with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The Effects of Auto Accident Trauma to the Spinal Cord
A traumatic blow to the spine can result in damage to the vertebrae, discs, or ligaments. The vertebrae can be fractured, dislocated, or compressed, and the injury will worsen over the coming days and weeks due to bleeding, inflammation, and the accumulation of fluid around the injured area. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the damage may result in partial or complete paralysis.
Signs of a spinal cord injury may include:
- Inability to move any part of the body.
- Inability to feel cold, heat, or touch.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Exaggerated reflex response.
- Pain or stinging in back or neck.
- Difficulty breathing.
Delayed Onset of Spinal Cord Injuries
Even serious spinal cord injuries are not always obvious at the accident scene. Any car accident victim who has experienced trauma to the head, neck, or back should immediately be evaluated for possible spinal cord injuries for two reasons: 1) If the injury is not recognized and treated, complications can arise and more severe injury can result; and 2) The at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to deny your claim for damages if there is a delay between the accident that caused the trauma and your initial diagnosis.
As bleeding and swelling occurs around the injury, numbness and even paralysis may appear that was not noticed at the accident scene. Other complications may arise including problems with bowel and bladder control, circulation, breathing, sexual function, muscle tone and overall fitness, pain, and depression.
Your auto accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates will collect the medical documentation that is needed to prove your damages to the insurance company and court including any future medical costs such as doctor visits, surgeries, medical equipment, and long-term care when it is needed.
It is critical that you are diagnosed and begin treatment as soon as possible and that we have a complete understanding of what type of care you will need in the future before any settlement is reached with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.