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Spinal Cord Injury from Car Accident

The brain and spinal cord make up what is known as the body’s central nervous system. The spinal cord is a critical information delivery network where messages from the brain travel down and are dispersed throughout the rest of the body.

What Happens When the Spinal Cord Is Injured

An injury to the spinal cord is the result of damage to the disks, ligaments or the vertebrae of the spinal column or of the spinal cord. When the spinal cord becomes injured, this can interfere, impair, or sever the nerves protected by our spinal column vertebrae. An injury can directly effect:

  • Motor functions: Our body’s voluntary muscle movements
  • Sensory functions: Our sensation of touch, temperature, pressure and pain
  • Autonomic functions: Our digestive system, body temperature, heart rate, urination, sexual function, and the contraction/dilation of blood vessels (blood pressure).

A spinal cord injury can involve the thoracic (mid-back or chest) or lumbar (lower back) spinal cord, and injuries can be both temporarily or permanently life altering.

Car Crashes Leading Cause of Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes are the leading cause of all spinal cord injuries. It is estimated that these types of crashes account for over 35 percent of brand new spinal cord injuries each year.

Other leading causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Falls
  • Acts of violence
  • Alcohol

Why Car Crashes Cause Spinal Cord Injuries

When a victim is involved in a car crash, the vertebrae in the spine may become fractured, dislocated, crushed or compressed.


  • Any vehicle can rollover, but SUVs and other vehicles with a high center of gravity and narrow wheelbase are more susceptible
    • During a rollover, the roof can collapse which cause it to come in contact with a victim’s head, neck, and spine

Power Windows

  • Vehicles produced in the United States do not feature power windows which are designed to roll down when they come in contact with an obstruction
    • This results in several serious neck and spine injuries every year

Collapsing Seatbacks

  • Faulty seatbacks can collapse on impact, forcing a victim to become ejected from the vehicle

Seatbelt Failures

  • Poorly designed seatbelts may not fit tightly enough, they may rip apart or they may unlatch during impact
    • This can cause a victim to be ejected from his or her seat and suffer spine damaging impact

Separated Tire Treads

  • When the tread separates from a tire, a driver can quickly lose control of a vehicle
    • This can result in a crash or a rollover

Defective Suspension System

  • Suspension defects can interfere with a driver’s ability to steer and can cause a driver to lose control
    • This can also result in a rollover

Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

According to Medlineplus (link: ), there are a number of symptoms which may indicate that you have suffered a spinal cord injury:

  • Tingling or numbness spreading down a limb
  • A sense of weakness
  • Trouble walking
  • Your head is sitting in an unusual position when relaxed
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Unconsciousness
  • Headache, a stiff neck, or neck pain

Paralysis can also occur when the spine becomes injured in a car crash. The level of paralysis depends on the location of the spinal cord injury.

  • Monoplegia: This refers to paralysis of one single area of the body
  • Hemiplegia: This type of paralysis affects the arm and leg on the same side of the body
  • Paraplegia: This is when paralysis occurs below the waist and affects the legs, hips, and lower body functions
  • Quadriplegia: Also known as tetraplegia, this is when the entire body below the neck is paralyzed

The Costs Associated with Spinal Cord Injuries

Each injury is unique, but spinal cord injuries of any type can be costly. An individual who has suffered paralysis, for example, may be facing treatment costs of well over $500,000 to $1 million. If you require lifetime medical care, these costs can easily amount to over $3 million.

There are also other costs which need to be considered, including how the injury may affect your earning capacity, your ability to provide for your family, and the emotional toll your injury may have on you and your loved ones.

Seek Help with Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim with Keith Bregoff

The Law Offices of Keith Bregoff, PA are dedicated car accident, Vero Beach spinal cord injury attorneys based out of Vero Beach and Stuart, Florida. With nearly three decades of legal success in criminal and personal injury law, our team of Florida car accident attorneys know what it takes to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.

To discuss your case with an attentive and accomplished car accident attorney for free, we invite you to arrange for a complimentary consultation with the Law Offices of Keith Bregoff, PA by calling 772-492-8967.

Our personal injury attorney in Vero Beach, Florida handles cases in the following practice areas:

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