— Recent estimates released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that approximately 80 injuries are sustained per 100 miles traveled. —
Everyday, car and truck accidents cause injuries well beyond bruises or broken bones. Recent estimates released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that approximately 80 injuries are sustained per 100 miles traveled. In the past few years, this resulted in over 2.4 million injuries, some of them serious enough to be life changing. A significant percentage of these injuries involved the neck, back or spinal cord of the accident victims.
Cervical Sprain (Whiplash)
Perhaps the most commonly known injury, caused by a vehicle accident, is cervical sprain or whiplash. The action of violently snapping the head forward and then back, a movement common in auto accidents, damages the nerves, muscles and tendons in the neck. The damage can be minimal and have no obvious symptoms or it can be severe resulting in traumatic brain injury or paralysis. In the majority of whiplash cases, frequent intense headaches and limited motion due to stiffness and pain may be experienced. Studies have suggested that the damage to the neck is most severe in cases where the individual had their head turned to either side at the time of impact. Rear impact car and truck accidents are the most common cause of cervical sprain injuries, which can happen even during low speed impacts.
The disks in the neck and spine may also be damaged in a car or truck accident. The extreme deceleration/acceleration of the back and forth movement of the neck during impact can tear the protective outer skin of the disk, causing a disk to rupture or bulge. An injury of this type requires surgery followed by physical therapy.
Compression fractures and herniated disks top the list of the most common back injuries caused by auto accidents. When the body experiences the extreme jolt caused by the impact of vehicles, the spine can be forced to bend farther than it is capable of moving, breaking the vertebrae and allowing the spine to fall or compress. Symptoms of compression fractures include sudden, severe back pain that gets worse when walking or standing (that is somewhat relieved when lying down), trouble bending and in the case of multiple fractures, reduced height and deformity of the spine called kyphosis or hunchback. Additional problems caused by spinal compression fractures are digestive problems due to a shortened spine, hip pain and if the spine is seriously compressed, breathing problems.
Herniated or bulging disks are also a common complaint of accident victims. As with the disks in the neck, when extreme sudden movement occurs, the outer layer of protective skin on the spinal disk can be torn allowing the inner material, the cushion of the disk, to protrude from the disk where it is pinched between the vertebrae. The portion of the back that is most susceptible to injury in vehicle collision is the lower lumbar region, consequently low back pain is a frequent complaint of accident victims. Those who have suffered lower lumbar herniated disks often experience sharp pain and numbness of the legs and feet.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries due to a car or truck accident are normally the result of compression fractures, cuts, tears or significant bruising of the spinal cord. Medical specialists identify spinal cord damage as either complete or incomplete. If the spinal cord is completely damaged, the consequences may be paralysis, chronic severe pain, which can appear in areas other than the back or neck, loss of muscle strength and problems of the nervous system.
Incomplete spinal cord injures may cause varying degrees of paralysis and numbness below the damaged spine, which may improve in some cases. Chronic pain is also often associated with incomplete spinal cord injuries, even if there is no paralysis.
A common misconception about the onset of symptoms of traumatic injury is that they occur immediately at the time of the accident. Symptoms related to head, neck, back and spinal cord injuries might not present themselves until hours or even days after the accident. Therefore, it is extremely important for an accident victim to receive a medical assessment of their injuries shortly after the accident, as well as when developing symptoms appear.
Article provided by Carter Law Offices. Carter Law Offices will fight to secure rightful compensation for your car accident injuries. Arrange a free case evaluation, including home or hospital visits if you can’t travel to our Kansas City office. Call 816-283-3500 or visit our website for more information at http://www.carterlaw.org/.