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Maryland Car Accident: Common Spine and Back Injuries

Even the safest driver cannot prevent a car accident caused by the recklessness of another driver. Unfortunately, the damages that occur in car accidents usually reach further than the vehicle. Personal injuries to the driver and passengers often occur. Back and spine injuries are the most common “damages” resulting from a car crash.

The intricate structure of the back and spine is part of what makes a personal injury to the back so excruciating and debilitating. The human back is comprised of several delicate bones, muscle groups, nerves and other tissue that are essential for the body to function properly. A back or spine injury from a car accident can cause long lasting consequences that effect every moment of daily life if left untreated.

The following non-comprehensive list includes some of the most common spinal and back injuries which result from car wrecks.

Whiplash: Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained from auto accidents and is caused by the sudden distortion of the neck. Whiplash is the colloquial term for what is medically described as a cervical acceleration-deceleration-induced injury. Whiplash injuries are confined to the spine and may cause a variety of symptoms, including neck and back pain, headaches, sensory disturbances and even insomnia.

Herniated discs: Herniated discs are a common spinal injury resulting from a car accident. Herniated discs occur when a tear in the outer part of the disc causes the soft interior between the discs to bulge. Essentially, the cushion between the vertebrae is moved outside its normal position. Herniated discs between any vertebrae ruptures can cause partial arm paralysis and pain. Symptoms may vary depending on the location and severity of the herniated disc or discs.

Fractured vertebrae: Car accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal fractures. Fractured vertebrae can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. An individual vertebrae break or disconnect can lead to possible paralysis below the fracture. This type of spinal injury can happen anywhere along the spinal column.

Cervical injuries: Injuries to the spine near the neck usually result in full or partial paralysis if the injury is severe enough. A broken neck is one type of cervical injury. Rear-end car collisions rarely cause severe neck injuries. More commonly, a car accident victim will be diagnosed with cervical sprains or strains and be referred by the physicians to attend physical therapy sessions.

Thoracic injuries: Thoracic injuries are located in the mid-back area of the spine protected by the rib cage. This type of spinal injury is often the result of a side impact or “t-bone” collisions. A severe thoracic injury to the spine can result in paralysis or partial immobility of arms and legs.

Lumbar and sacral injuries: Lower spine injuries are common car accident injuries. Lumbar Radiculopathy is a secondary injury resulting from compression or inflammation of the spinal nerve. Radicular pain “radiates” to other parts of the body and can result in mobility problems or paralysis of hips, as well as effects on the urinary tract and digestive tract.

Spinal cord and back injuries do not always cause paralysis. Car accident victims may believe that no personal injury occurred if their symptoms are minor or are undetected. However, even a minor spinal cord injury can progress to a serious problem over time. At best, a spinal cord injury may require minor medical treatment or surgery. At worst, a spinal cord injury can progress to paralysis and organ damage. Spinal injuries do not abate without medical treatment.

Insurance companies will assert that any prior back injuries or spine injuries could become aggravated by a car accident. They will investigate medical records for a pre-existing condition in an attempt to minimize the compensation the claimant is due for his or her back injury.

It is important to contact a personal injury attorney with experience negotiating with automobile insurance providers so that you can receive compensation for all the associated costs surrounding the medical treatment of a spinal cord or back injury.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at 410.296.0686 or nlanzi@lanzilaw.com.

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