Car accidents can be life-altering events. Some injuries are more serious than others, keeping you out of work for months. However, one of the most devastating injuries is a spinal cord injury. One of these types of injuries can change your entire way of life.

A spinal cord injury occurs when an impact causes damage to a portion of the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Essentially, this damage disrupts signals from the brain to the rest of the body, which can affect motor skills, strength, and sensation. This means an individual may lose feeling or the ability to control parts of their body.

If an injury is severe enough, it may result in partial or full paralysis. The severity is measured in the level of completeness of your paralysis. Complete is when all feeling and all ability to control movement are lost below the spinal cord injury. Incomplete is when you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area.

Paralysis from a spinal cord injury may be referred to in two different terms. The first is tetraplegia, also called quadriplegia. This means all of the arms, legs, and trunk are affected by your spinal cord injury. Paraplegia is where parts of your body are paralyzed but not all.

The signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries may be apparent when a person shows the following symptoms:

  • Loss of ability to move.
  • They have lost the ability of sensation or touch, to feel hot or cold.
  • They are having difficulty breathing.
  • If they are having excessive reflexes or spasms.
  • If a person has an intense stinging or tingling sensation.
  • If they lose the ability to control their bladder.

If you or someone you know shows signs of a spinal cord injury after a car accident, exercise caution.

  • Do not move them.
  • Call 911 for help.
  • Do not move the head or neck.
  • Stop any bleeding that may be happening, without moving them.
  • Place towels, clothing, or anything around the head or neck to reduce the ability to move their head or neck.
  • Make sure the person stays still, and that they refrain from moving. It may make their condition worse.

A word of caution

Partial or full paralysis can happen some time after a car accident, especially if the tissue around the spinal cord becomes inflamed. After any car accident, it is important to not move the victim, unless necessary. An example would be if the vehicle is on fire, but those are rare occasions. It is better to leave the victim where they are until medical professionals can come and safely moves them with the proper equipment.

It is important that the person seeks medical treatment as soon as possible to assess any damage that may have occurred. The sooner a doctor can see them and determine a spinal cord injury, the more likely they are to reduce additional injuries and damage to the spinal cord.

Do you have a spinal cord injury after a car accident?

We understand how stressful and upsetting your situation can be. However, we would like to evaluate your case for free. If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury from someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Spinal cord injuries can completely change your way and quality of life. Please complete our online spinal cord injury form and one of our staff will reach out to you as soon as possible. You can also call us directly at (865) 888-8888 and one of our helpful staff will be glad to assist you.