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Traffic accidents and falls leading causes of spinal cord injury

| Mar 2, 2015 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Many Illinois residents and people across the country are involved in disastrous car collisions and falls every year. While some of these incidents are minor and cause minimal damage, other accidents can have catastrophic results. A Chicago personal injury attorney knows that spinal cord damage is just one possible outcome of high-impact accidents. Spinal cord injuries can have devastating consequences, and may leave some people unable to care for themselves.

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The facts

Spinal cord injuries affect approximately 12,000 new people every year in America, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. That equates to nearly 30 new cases every day. Any type of accident involving a sudden impact can cause damage to the spinal cord. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of spine injuries in the U.S., representing 36.5 percent of all cases. High speeds and reckless driving are just a few ways these devastating car accidents can happen. Falls account for 28.5 percent of all spinal cord injuries, and are the second most common cause of spine damage.

What are spinal cord injuries?

From minor whiplash to serious nerve impairment caused by a traumatic car accident, spinal cord injuries can range in severity. The spinal cord, which is a collection of nerves that runs through the spinal column, connects the brain to the rest of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When a section of the spinal cord becomes damaged, it can affect all of the body areas innervated by those nerves, as well as everything below the point of injury. For example, nerves damaged toward the base of the spinal cord may affect a person’s ability to control his or her legs, bladder and sexual function. An injury further up toward the neck, on the other hand, may cause a person to lose control of his or her arms.

Implications of spinal cord injuries

The bones of the vertebral column can become fractured, compressed, dislocated or crushed as the result of a traumatic car accident or slip-and-fall accident, a fact known by a Chicago personal injury attorney. These bones can pinch or damage the spinal cord, and in some cases, sever it completely. Not only can this cause immediate damage, but additional issues can occur as the injury continues to swell and bleed over time.

Victims of severe spinal cord damage may suffer from quadriplegia or paraplegia. While people suffering from quadriplegia lose the ability to control all of their limbs, paraplegics are unable to use their arms.

People who have been involved in a tragic car accident or fall as the result of another person’s negligence may suffer from spinal cord damage. Unfortunately, this is a situation that a Chicago personal injury attorney is all too familiar with. Some victims may wish to seek compensation for their injuries and the cost of continued medical care that their spinal cord injuries require.