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What Would Happen If You Damaged Your Spinal Cord in a Car Accident?

Posted on August 14, 2021 in

spinal cord damage after a car accident

Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe forms of damage that a person can sustain. The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages between your brain and the rest of your body, and any damage to its nerves and vertebrae can lead to a permanent loss of feeling and movement below the injury site. If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury after a car accident, you may have grounds for a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault driver.

How Spinal Cord Injuries Affect the Body

In a car accident, the spinal cord can become damaged in several ways. Patients may sustain crushing injuries during the crash that sever the nerves and harm the vertebrae in the spinal cord. Bruising, contusions, broken bones, and other injuries may also lead to severe symptoms and long-lasting effects.

Some of the ways that spinal cord injuries affect the body include the following.

  • Loss of feeling or sensation: When the spinal cord is damaged, the brain cannot communicate with the nerves below the injury site. As a result, permanent paralysis may occur, and uncontrollable reflex movements may occur.
  • Breathing issues: Certain muscles in the chest and abdomen can become weaker after a spinal cord injury, making it difficult to cough, breathe, and perform other functions. Some patients with spinal cord injuries in the neck are unable to breathe on their own and require a ventilator.
  • Acute and chronic pain: Spinal cord injuries can lead to severe pain. Some spinal cord injury patients experience acute pain due to bruising, broken bones, and the aftermath of surgery. Chronic pain may also occur due to changes in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 
  • Bowel and bladder control: Changes in bowel and bladder control are common after a spinal cord injury. A patient may be unable to tell when he or she needs to use the bathroom and will require a catheter. Constipation and diarrhea may also occur.
  • Swallowing difficulties: Some spinal cord injury patients lose control over the muscles necessary for swallowing. As a result, they are unable to eat, drink, or take medication without a special tube.

Legal Options for Car Accident Victims

If you suffer a spinal cord injury in an Oregon car accident, you can file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the person responsible for your collision. Oregon is a fault-based car accident state, meaning that negligent drivers are financially responsible for the damage of their victims. Through a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim, you can recover compensation for the economic and non-economic impact of the collision, including the following.

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Property repairs and replacements
  • Chronic pain and permanent disability
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life

To secure compensation for these damages, you will need to prove that the other driver caused your accident and resulting injuries. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, this can be difficult to accomplish without an attorney on your side. 

A Portland spinal cord injury lawyer can conduct an in-depth investigation into your collision and injuries, helping gather the evidence necessary to prove the other driver’s liability. Your lawyer can also identify all of the damages you may be eligible for, calculating the full extent of your potential settlement. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a car accident attorney to discuss your case eligibility and initiate your next steps.