Most people do not think about the risk they take whenever they take a road trip. However, the risk is admittedly small. Car accidents often leave many people injured or hurt and many others dead. Of all the people involved in motor vehicle accidents, about 38% suffer spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord injuries are life-altering and can burden the victim with large medical bills. Worse still, the damage can lead to permanent paralysis. Victims of spinal cord injuries due to car crashes in Madison County should consult with an experienced car wreck attorney for help pursuing compensation.
Common Car Crash Related Vertebrae Injuries
Whiplash is the most common injury associated with motor vehicle crashes. Most whiplash injuries occur when a car is rear-ended or in head-on collisions. Whiplash injures the cervical spine (neck) due to sudden back and forth snapping motion.
People suffering from whiplash may show delayed symptoms of the injury, usually within a few days. These symptoms include:
- Dizziness and being tired
- Headaches from the base of the skull
- Stiff neck causing loss of motion and pain
- Numb or tingling arms
- Tender upper back, shoulders, or arms; pain sometimes accompanies the tenderness in those areas
- Ringing ears
- Disturbed sleep
- The irritation you cannot explain
Spinal disks consist of a tough exterior and a soft jelly-like interior. They act as shock absorbers. A herniated or ruptured disk happens when the exterior cracks and the soft center leaks; this places pressure on the surrounding nerves and nerve roots.
Some symptoms of a herniated disk include:
- Weak muscles around the affected nerves
- Sharp pain that radiates from the shoulders or the lower back to the arms or legs
- Tingling or numb arms and legs
The vertebrate is a bone that, just like any other bone, can fracture with varying severity. Most fractures are mild and usually heal with little to no intervention. However, due to traumatic injury, say from a motor vehicle accident, some fractures are severe and can cause other serious conditions, such as:
- Burst fractures: The vertebrae fracture in several places, and bone fragments damage the spinal cord. This kind of damage can end in paralysis and possibly death.
- Flexion Fracture: the vertebrae experience distraction damage when a sudden stop thrusts the upper body forward while the lower body is held in place by a seat belt. It mostly happens in head-on collisions.
- Vertebral compression fractures: these are fractures that cause the front of the spine to collapse even as the back remains in position.
How Spinal Cord Damage Can Affect Victims
The effects of spinal cord damage depend on how severe the damage to the spinal column is and which part of the vertebrae is affected. It can cause:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of some bodily control
Proving Fault and Negligence in a Car Accident
Madison County courts require the plaintiff to prove the defendant was either negligent or that you do not share fault in causing the accident.
Some car accident types leave almost no doubt who is responsible in Illinois, such as:
- Rear-End Collisions: You are seldom liable for someone else hitting you from behind regardless of your reasons for stopping.
- Left-Turn Accidents: For collisions that take place at junctions, the car making a left turn is almost always held responsible for the accident. Exceptions exist, but they are difficult to prove and rare.
All drivers are legally required to conduct themselves with reasonable caution while driving. To prove negligence led to the accident, you need to prove that:
- The defendant was negligent
- Injuries from the incident are a direct result of said negligence
- The plaintiff’s losses are measurable
Legal Action for Spinal Injuries in Madison County Car Crashes
Even if you think your injury is minor, you should consult an injury lawyer as soon as possible. Consider that your injuries may worsen over time, and medical bills may rise astronomically. The state of Illinois has a statute of limitations on injury lawsuits. You cannot pursue the case if more than two years have passed. After suffering spinal cord injuries due to a car crash in Madison County, contact legal counsel right away.