Being the victim of a car accident is a traumatic experience. For some people, unfortunately, the after effects of the injuries they suffer in a car accident are even more devastating. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident, you may have several questions.

What Are Some of the Signs of a Spinal Cord Injury?

There are an assortment of signs of a spinal cord injury. They include problems walking, inability to move your arms or legs, and increasing numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.  Along with that, the person's head might be positioned in an unnatural position. The person may also be unconscious or have a headache. Pain, pressure, or stiffness in the back or neck are also signs of a potential spinal cord injury. Loss of sensation, including the inability to feel heat or cold or exaggerated muscle spasms are also signs that the person may have a spinal cord injury.

Even if the injury initially seems minor, if it involves the head, neck, or back, especially if the person exhibits any of the above symptoms, do not move the injured person. Call 911, and wait for qualified emergency personnel to show up to safely move the person.

Is It Permanent?

Only time and a qualified medical professional can tell you for sure. While it is rare, some people do make a full recovery from a spinal cord injury. The worse the spinal cord injury, the less likely the person will fully recover. At the most basic level, spinal cord injuries can be divided into complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury is one in which the person suffers a total loss of motor and sensory function below the site of the injury.  With an incomplete spinal cord injury, there is some function below the primary place of the spinal cord injury. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) has created a scale to grade spinal cord injuries from A to E, with A being the most severe.

  • ASIA A- complete spinal cord injury, no sensory or motor function below the place of the injury.
  • ASIA B- some sensory function below the site of the injury, but complete motor function loss below the injured area.
  • ASIA C- some movement below the site of the injury but less than half the muscle groups are anti-gravity, meaning that less than half of them can lift against the force of gravity with full range of motion.
  • ASIA D- more than half of the muscle groups can lift against the force of gravity.
  • ASIA E- muscle movement normal.

This means that someone with an ASIA D or E spinal cord injury is more likely to at least regain the use of most of their muscle groups than someone who has an ASIA A or B spinal cord injury. Your doctor can likely tell you where your spinal cord injury falls and can help you create a recovery plan that is best for you. If you're feeling impatient, it is important to remember that recovery from a spinal cord injury takes time.  

What Are Some of the Lasting Complications?

There are several complications associated with spinal cord injuries. Along with muscle movement and potential paralysis, your injury may affect systems in your body, including the circulatory and respiratory systems. You may also experience bladder and bowel control issues. Muscle spasms, pain, and depression are other potential complications of a spinal cord injury. It is best to talk to your doctor about your risk of these complications as well as other complications associated with a spinal cord injury.

If you were injured in an auto accident resulting in a spinal cord injury, contact us. At Freeman & Freeman, we are dedicated to helping you receive the compensation that you deserve.