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a man hurts his spine in a car accident | Mandell, Boisclair and Mandell, Ltd
June 30, 2022

What Types of Spinal Cord Injuries Are Common in Car Accidents?

Car accidents can cause all types of traumatic injuries, including injuries to the spine. While spinal cord injuries can vary widely in terms of their severity, virtually all spine injuries present risks for chronic pain, expensive medical bills, and long-term complications. 

If you are experiencing back pain, physical limitations, or any other symptoms of a possible spinal cord injury following a Rhode Island car accident, you should seek medical treatment promptly. You should also schedule an appointment to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. If your car accident was someone else’s fault—or even partially someone else’s fault—you may be entitled to compensation for your financial and non-financial losses.

The Providence car accident lawyers at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. have helped the wrongfully injured in Rhode Island for more than 45 years. We understand how an accident-related spinal cord injury can affect nearly every aspect of your life and we know how to successfully pursue the compensation you deserve.

Seven Common Spinal Cord Injuries in Car Accidents 

The following are all common spinal cord injuries in car accidents for which our lawyers can help victims seek just compensation: 

1. Herniated Discs (Bulging Discs or Ruptured Discs)

The spinal cord is protected by the vertebrae (bones) in the spine, and these bones are separated by soft rubbery, jelly-like, discs. These discs allow the spine to bend and protect the vertebrae from rubbing against one another. 

A herniated disc (also referred to as a bulging disc or ruptured disc) occurs when the jelly-like middle of a disc, the nucleus pulposus, escapes through a tear in the tough exterior. If the disc itself or the nucleus pulposus within it comes into contact with the nerves in the spinal cord, this can cause severe pain, numbness or tingling sensation, weakness, and other symptoms. 

2. Fractured Vertebrae 

Vertebrae fractures can occur at all levels of the spine, but they are most common in the thoracic and lumbar regions when they result from car accidents. There are four main types of vertebrae fractures:

  • Burst Fractures – These fractures involve the vertebrae being crushed into multiple fragments as a result of severe physical trauma. 
  • Compression Fractures – These fractures occur when excessive pressure on the spinal column causes cracks to form in the vertebrae. 
  • Dislocation Fractures – A burst, compression, or flexion fracture can be classified as a dislocation fracture if it involves a separation between the fractured portions of the vertebra. 
  • Flexion Fractures – These fractures occur when the spine bends too far forward, backward, or to one side as the result of the impact force caused by a car accident. 

3. Spondylolisthesis 

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the vertebrae in the spine slips forward due to trauma or from wear and tear. If a vertebra slips too far forward, it can impact or impinge the nerves in the spinal cord, potentially causing severe pain, numbness, and other symptoms. As with herniated discs and fractured vertebrae, the long-term complication risks associated with spondylolisthesis depend on both the severity and the location of the injury, and these will impact the treatment options that are available as well. 

4. Discogenic Pain

Discogenic pain is another type of spinal cord injury that is common in car accidents. Even if a disc does not rupture during a collision, damage to the disc can cause severe pain, other symptoms, and the need for medical care. 

5. Degenerative Spinal Disorders 

While degenerative spinal disorders (such as degenerative disc disease) develop gradually over time, car accidents can cause injuries that lead to these disorders, and they can exacerbate drivers’ and passengers’ existing medical conditions. If you had a degenerative spinal disorder when you were involved in a car accident, you should mention this to your doctor when seeking treatment for your new symptoms. Likewise, if you were not suffering from a degenerative spinal disorder before your car accident, you will want to discuss the possibility of future degeneration with your doctor to ensure that you are seeking full compensation for your long-term medical needs. This information will be used by your Providence car accident lawyer to pursue your current and long-term losses.

6. Full or Partial Paralysis

In the most severe cases, car accidents can lead to full or partial paralysis. All forms of paralysis can drastically impact car accident victims’ lives, and individuals who are living with paralysis will need extensive ongoing care. As with all types of serious traumatic injuries, individuals who have been paralyzed in car accidents can seek just compensation not only for their initial and ongoing care needs, but for their loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, and other losses as well. 

Talk to a Providence Car Accident Lawyer About Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim

If you or someone you love was hurt in a car accident, contact Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. to discuss your case for FREE with a Providence car accident attorney. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t owe any attorney’s fees unless we achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Our firm has won more million-dollar and multi-million dollar trials than any firm in the area. You can trust our team to work diligently on your behalf.

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Call us today at (401) 273-8330 or request an appointment online to speak with a lawyer at your convenience.