Car Crashes Involving Back Injuries
Car Crashes Involving Back Injuries
Hi, my name is Ed Smith. I am a Vallejo auto accident attorney. A sizable portion of the thousands of car accidents which occur each day results in injury of some kind, and the most common of these injuries are those involving the back in some way. There are many different types of back injury, of course, ranging from quite minor to extremely severe and even life-threatening. Taken together, this category of injury resultant from automobile accidents is by far the largest. Minor injuries might include bruises or sprains, whereas catastrophic injuries often involve either the fracturing or breaking of some part of bone or damage of some kind to the spinal cord.
Herniation of Vertebral Disk
One relatively common but difficult to treat and potentially quite serious injury of this kind is what’s called herniation of a vertebral disk. This sounds complicated, but the idea is much simpler than all that: your spine, or vertebra, is made up of twenty four interlocking pieces, which together form the full chain of your backbone. These pieces are referred to as disks, or vertebral disks. An auto accident which causes pressure or trauma to the back in some way will sometimes split one or more of these disks open. As with all bone, there is cartilage inside of each of these disks. If the disk is split open, this cartilage gets pushed out and may even come into contact with surrounding bodily structures, including tendons, muscles, and/or other disks. A similar, but distinct, injury is that of bulging disks. This injury is just like it sounds: the disk is not split as in herniation, but instead dislodged from its proper position in the chain of the spine, so that it “bulges” out in one direction or another.
Types of Fractures
Another big category of back injuries that can be incurred in the wake of an auto accident is that of fractures. The term fracture simply refers to a crack, or fuller break, in a bone. Fractures of any type, to any part of the spine, often demand serious medical attention, in part because the risk of damage to the spinal cord emerges. Here are a few of the types of fracture:
- Flexion fractures: These are also sometimes called “flexion distraction fractures”. In the context of auto accidents specifically, flexion fractures are far and away most likely to result from head-on injuries where the driver or passenger is wearing a seatbelt. While the seatbelt does an excellent job preventing many injuries (in the case of a head-on collision, for example, the possibility of damage to the skull is prevalent), the belt also creates certain other dangers. A flexion fracture may take place if the individual’s upper half is thrust forward by the collision, while the lower half is secured more tightly by the seatbelt.
- Compression fractures: This type of fracture can result from many different types of auto accident. It is defined as a breaking of the bone because of pressure forcing the vertebra downward (“compressing” them).
- Transverse fractures: Fractures which are labelled “transverse” are those in which part of the spine, one or several vertebrae, is forced not downward as in compression fractures or to the front or back as perhaps in a flexion fracture, but to the side. It can be thought of as a “twist” fracture. The vertebrae get twisted improperly around the vertical axis of the spine.
There are several other types of back injuries I would like to give an overview of in the next blog, as well as some information about liability and how to best handle these types of situations. Stay tuned!
Vallejo Auto Accident & Personal Injury Attorneys
I’m Edward Smith, a Vallejo car accident attorney. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident, please call me at (707) 564-1900 for free and friendly advice. I also may be reached toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
I am a proud member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Image Attribution: By OpenStax College, via Wikimedia Commons