There are numerous different kinds of injuries that can result from car accidents. The head and spine are two of the most sensitive areas that cause a lot of concerns with doctors and other medical experts.
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries, making up approximately 50% of new spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord consists of numerous nerves that enable the brain to send signals throughout the human body.
Injuries involving spinal cords can have extreme, life-changing consequences.
Severe neck and back injuries from car accidents can lead to suffering from partial or total paralysis.
Neck and back injuries resulting from car accidents typically both concern the spinal cord. These injuries are usually similar in nature, even though they impact different parts of the spinal cord.
Car accidents are also one of the most frequent causes of traumatic brain injuries throughout the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are a significant cause of death and disability and contribute to about one-third of all injury fatalities.
Common Head and Spine Injuries Resulting From Car Accidents
- Whiplash – Whiplash typically results from accidents when the neck and/or back are violently jerked. Whiplash injuries are commonly associated with rear-end accidents. There are four distinct phases of whiplash, depending on the harshness of the force contributing to the condition. Phase Four is the most vicious and harmful phase of whiplash. Some of the most detrimental injuries to the brain, neck, and spinal cord happen in phase four. The human brain is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid. A harsh impact can cause the victim’s brain to smash into the inside of the skull and violently bounce around, which can lead to serious concussions or even traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, the spine and roots of nerves can get overly stretched and extremely irritated.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – TBI is caused by a hard hit or jolt to the head. It disturbs the brain’s normal ability to function. The severity of a TBI may range from mild to severe. Around 20% of TBIs are caused by car crashes.
- Spinal Fractures – Spinal fractures typically occur in the lower to middle area of the back. During the impact from an accident, the upper body may be propelled forward while the lower body is restrained. As a result, vertebrae tear apart and broken vertebrae can be shifted out of place. It is vital to never move a victim that might have a spinal cord fracture, because any movement can lead to more damage. Emergency medical personnel are trained to use a backboard and neck collar to immobilize the injured person.
- Herniated Disc – Discs of the spinal cord contain a soft center protected by a hard exterior. Accidents can cause the soft area to push out of the exterior. Spinal discs absorb most of the impact to the spine.
- Spondylolisthesis – Car accidents can cause the bones in the lower back to be unduly burdened and move the vertebrae out of place. In severe cases of spondylolisthesis, the vertebrae may press against nerves and result in horrible back pain.
Seat Belts and Head Restraints can Help Prevent Back and Neck Injuries
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), using head restraints can assist with preventing whiplash. Studies conducted by the IIHS found that if there is no head restraint or the head restraint is not close to the rear of the occupant’s head, it will not be able to help prevent whiplash in a rear-end accident.
When a car is hit from the back, it causes the seatback to push up against the torso of the occupant and forces him or her to move forward. When the head has no support, it will trail behind the torso until the neck is stretched to its limit. At that point, the head rapidly and violently whips forward.
Good head restraints assist in preventing this by causing the occupant’s head to move forward along with the body. Drivers, as well as passengers, should ensure that their head restraints are suitably adjusted. The top of the occupant’s head should be level with the top of head restraint. In cases in which the occupant is too tall and the head restraint will not go that high, he or she should place the head restraint as high as possible. The space in between the restraint and the back of the occupant’s head should be as narrow as possible.
Additionally, seat belts have been recognized for significantly decreasing the gravity of injuries and the number of deaths related to car crashes. Seat belts have especially decreased the severity of the head and spine injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for occupants of vehicles properly wearing seat belts, the risk of severe injuries, such as a neck, head, and back injuries in car accidents is reduced by approximately 50%. Failure to wear a seat belt can cause additional brain injuries, such as serious concussions or traumatic brain injury, from the occupant’s head forcefully hitting the windshield, dash, or steering wheel.
After an accident, occupants of the vehicles involved should visit a doctor or go to the emergency room to be evaluated by a healthcare professional. This will greatly decrease the likelihood of future back, head or neck problems. A doctor will be able to diagnose any injuries caused by the accident. Various brain and spinal cord injuries are not always apparent right after the accident, which can be extremely dangerous if not diagnosed by a doctor.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Virginia Beach
The Law Office of Scott R. Barney recognizes the agonizing pain and suffering you might be going through if you have been in an accident.With the costly medical bills, lost wages and decreased earning capacity, the long-lasting consequences for you and your family can be devastating.
The last thing accident victims want to worry about in navigating the complicated legal system. Scott. R. Barney, Esq., a knowledgeable lawyer, with unparalleled commitment to his clients, is available to guide you through your personal injury lawsuit. When you contact the Law Office of Scott R. Barney after a car accident, our team of highly skilled attorneys will assist you in receiving the compensation to which you are entitled. The Law Office of Scott R. Barney looks forward to helping you get back on your feet after a terrible car accident. To speak with an attorney and have a free consultation, call (757) 296-8145 or contact us online.