LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Michael Ruxton Strong | Feb 20, 2011

Most Common Injuries in Auto Accidents-Medical/Legal Guide

UNDERSTANDING YOUR INJURIES FROM A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT Providing legal services for victims of motor vehicle collisions requires and understanding of the most common injuries (such as whiplash, back injuries, neck pain, shoulder injuries, etc.) and medical treatment (chiropractic, injections, physical therapy, massage, etc.) that a patient needs to complete recovery from the accident. Lawyers frequently consult with medical experts from many medical specialties to assist the patient in recovering adequately from their injuries. These physicians may review medical records; examine clients; assess any relevant pre-accident medical history; or act as expert witnesses during trial. A complete understanding of the medical situation helps us to maximize client's financial compensation for medical bills, injuries, etc. Car accidents have historically caused 42.1 % of all reported spinal cord injuries. More than 11,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year in the United States. Some of those spinal cord injury victims will be lucky to fully recover. Other victims may be permanently paralyzed or completely disabled following a spinal cord injury. Car accidents can also cause other back injuries. One of the most frequent injuries sustained in an auto wreck is known as a herniated disc. In both cases the accident victim may require surgery, years of treatment and physical therapy, and the injuries can completely change the life of the victim. If you suffer from back and spinal cord injuries, you may be paralyzed. Most commonly, however, back pain and limitations of motion are caused by an auto accident. These are most frequently seen in rear end collisions. Quadriplegia is a condition consisting of the loss of muscle motor control and feeling to all four limbs of the human body. It is frequently caused by spinal cord injuries. Paraplegia is a loss of upper or lower body muscle control. Sometimes a spinal cord injury will result in radiating or shooting pain in the arms or legs, or weakness or tingling in extremities. You can also suffer a loss of muscle control of individual limbs or bladder and bowel functions. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Herniated Lumbar Discs. If conservative treatment has failed (chiropractic, massage, heat, electrical stimulation, medication), and you still have severe pain 2 to 3 months after diagnosis of a herniated lumbar disc pressing on a spinal nerve, you may benefit from minimally invasive spine surgery, and the Micro Endoscopic Discectomy procedure. Many victims will experience a full recovery after a period of muscle soreness, severe nerve pain, and even tingling or swelling of muscles in the back or neck, known as whiplash, following an accident. Others may suffer partial or total paralysis from a spinal cord injury suffered in a car accident. Car accidents are also frequently the cause of other serious back injuries such as a herniated disc. In both cases the accident victim may require surgery, years of treatment and physical therapy, and the injuries can completely change the life of the victim. Some who suffer from back and spinal cord injuries are paralyzed while others may suffer from radiating or shooting pain in the arms or legs, experience weakness or tingling in extremities, or lose control of limbs or bladder and bowel functions. What is a spinal cord injury? The spinal cord is the major bundle of nerves that moves nerve impulses between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal cord injury usually starts with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The impact causes the vertebrae to fracture or compress, which in turn crushes the extensive nerve cells (axons) that carry signals along the spinal cord between the brain and the body. The specific effect of a spinal cord injury depends on the location and severity of the injury. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a small number of axons or almost all of them. Spinal cord injuries are called either "complete" or "incomplete". The victim of a complete injury totally lacks sensory and motor function below the level of the injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury victim retains some sensory motor function below the injury site. Tragically, many brain and spinal cord injuries are irreversible. In addition to draining the victim both physically and emotionally, spinal cord injuries can also drain a family's finances because medical care for spinal cord injuries is costly and long-term. Many people who live with spinal cord injury have secondary complications including pain, respiratory and heart problems, bladder and bowel dysfunction, pressure sores, respiratory complications, urinary tract infections, spasticity and scoliosis. In such cases, the attorney needs to be fully prepared to adequately explain such permanent injuries to the jury to maximize your recovery. This includes estimating the changes to daily activities, future medical expenses, and supporting services such as daily care, assisted living, and orthotic devices prescribed by the treating physician.

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