The more common injuries in personal injury lawsuits involve the neck and back. This is due to the soft tissue whiplash that commonly occurs when motor vehicle accidents take place. These injuries can range from minor to debilitating, all the way to permanent disabilities. It’s beneficial to have a basic understanding of the spinal cord in case you or a loved one is ever involved in a collision.

The Basic Anatomy

The spinal column is a stack of bones called vertebra. Between the stacked vertebra are jelly-like, natural shock absorbers, commonly referred to as a jelly donut. In the center of the spinal column exists the spinal cord which consists of nerve tissues that carry communication between the brain to other areas of the body.

Age related changes to the spine are natural and universal, sometimes referred to as degenerative changes. As we get older, our vertebrae get weaker and we experience arthritic changes. While this is natural, trauma to the neck or back can also cause premature issues to the spine. Due to the biomechanics of motor vehicle accidents, backs and necks are particularly susceptible to injury during a motor vehicle accident. Even innocuous and subtle movement during and after a vehicle crashcan cause significant impacts on vital bones and tissue..

Common Auto Back Injuries

Below are a few examples of spinal injuries we at the personal injury offices of Scott J. Corwin commonly see resulting from motor vehicle accidents:

  • Fractures of the vertebra, which sometimes requires surgery to stabilize the spine with metal plates and screws, though some fractures can be managed without surgery;
  • Trauma to the back may weaken the outer layer of our vertebra discs. The jelly like shock absorbers begin to bulge out, pinching a nerve and causing pain, numbness and tingling. Such disc bulging may progress to a herniating in which virtually all the jelly is out of the donut. This is very painful and often requires surgery. The usual surgery for a herniated disc involves removing the disc and fusing the adjacent vertebra with bone tissue;
  • The most traumatic of the back injuries involves damage to the spinal cord, which can cause paralysis- either to the legs or both arms and legs.

    When considering the severity of possible injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident, it’s crucial to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself. It is a bad idea to assume these situations will never happen to us. Call your insurance company today to make sure you have sufficient protection in your policy should the unthinkable happen.