Damage to the spinal cord is one of the most devastating types of injuries associated with California car accidents. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,730 new spinal cord injuries are reported each year—and roughly half of those injuries were sustained in a car or motorcycle crash.
Spinal cord injuries can turn a car accident victim's entire life upside-down, often forcing them to rely on extensive medical and assistive care, the cost of which can quickly add up. Fortunately, victims who suffered spinal cord injuries in accidents caused by another person or entity's negligence may be entitled to compensation.
Are you considering taking legal action for a spinal injury that occurred in a car crash that wasn't your fault? Read on to learn more.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Not all spinal cord injuries are created equally. Spinal cord damage—and its effects—can vary dramatically by type, severity, and location. Understanding just what type of spinal injury they've sustained can help victims better comprehend what will be required to meet their needs. Common spinal cord injuries include:
- Cervical spinal cord injury. Caused by damage to the spine between cervical vertebra one through eight (C1-C8), cervical spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis or weakness in the arms and legs, resulting in quadriplegia or tetraplegia. Additionally, because this portion of the spinal cord controls nerve signals to the neck, back of the head, arms, hands, shoulders, and diaphragm, car accident victims with these injuries may require a stabilizing device for their neck or suffer from loss of bladder and bowel control, respiratory issues, sexual dysfunction, and other complications.
- Thoracic spinal cord injury. Trauma to the spine between thoracic vertebra one through 12 (T1-T12) can cause weakness or paralysis in the legs, known as paraplegia, that can lead to loss of sensation, bladder and bowel control, and sexual functioning.
- Lumbar spinal cord injury. Paraplegia can also occur when the spinal cord sustains damage between lumbar vertebra one and five (L1-L5). Car crash victims diagnosed with paraplegia due to a lumbar spinal injury may suffer sexual dysfunction, loss of sensation, and impaired bladder and bowel control.
- Sacral spinal cord injury. The sacral portion of the spinal cord controls nerve signals to the thighs, lower legs, feet, and genitals. As a result, victims who suffer trauma to sacral vertebra one through five (S1-S5) may experience paralysis of the legs and hips, loss of bowel and bladder function, and sexual dysfunction.
Spinal cord injuries may also be classified as “incomplete” or “complete.” Incomplete spinal cord injuries are those in which the nerves are still capable of relaying messages, even if the sensation is very faint. However, complete spinal cord injuries are characterized by a complete lack of sensory and motor function below the point of the injury.
Potential Compensation for Car Crash Spinal Injury Victims
The NSCISC estimates that between 249,000 and 363,000 Americans are living with serious spinal cord injuries. The cost of treating these injuries can be absolutely astronomical over the course of a lifetime, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Victims who suffered spinal cord injuries in car accidents caused by someone else may be eligible to pursue compensation for:
- All related medical expenses
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Consult an Experienced California Attorney About Your Car Accident Case
If you were diagnosed with a spinal injury after a California car crash, don't wait another second to contact the Inland Empire Law Group to ask about your legal rights and options. Our skilled team of attorneys and staff can investigate your case and fight to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve. Call us at (909) 481-0100 today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.