Car Accident Back Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries, and Paralysis Risks

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States and account for nearly half of all new spinal cord injuries every year. Considering how your spinal cord is essentially the nerve highway for your entire body, even the smallest injury can have cataclysmic effects. The treatment for a spinal cord injury can be lifelong and may include medication, rehabilitation, and the need for medical devices, such as a wheelchair or electrical stimulation device.

The most common ailments caused by spinal cord damage are:

  • Back pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Spasms and involuntary shaking
  • Weakness and immobility in certain parts of the body
  • Blood clots—specifically pulmonary embolisms, as results of immobility
  • Pressure sores as a result of immobility
  • Hypertension (extremely high blood pressure)
  • Paralysis

Paralysis: Paraplegia and Quadriplegia

One of the most horrific injuries that a person can sustain from a car accident is an injury to the spine resulting in paralysis. Imagine being in such a state that you cannot move your arms or legs. No longer can you hug your child or hold your spouse’s hand. Having the ability to take a walk in the park or ride your bike is no longer a reality, but rather an unattainable dream. This is exactly what victims of paraplegic and quadriplegic spinal cord injuries must endure.


Close to 11,000 people a year sustain spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia. Paraplegia is a spinal injury that affects a person’s ability to move his body from the waist down, impairing his walking, reproductive, and bowel functions. If the spinal cord has not been completely severed, some victims may retain some feeling in isolated areas of their lower extremities.

The treatment process for paraplegia begins at the site of the accident, where relieving pressure from the spinal cord and brain by securing the victim to a backboard is crucial to prevent any further injuries. After an assessment of the spine is made to determine possible surgery options, a rehabilitation routine is discussed for the best possible treatment.

A paraplegic’s struggle does not just end with his primary injury, however, and there are many complications such as blood clots and bed sores that can arise as a result of his inability to be active with his legs.


Quadriplegia is the paralysis of both the arms and legs. It is most commonly caused by a spinal cord injury in the neck area. This sort of injury interrupts or scrambled the messages sent to and from the brain, leading to sensation impairment and immobility. A patient who has complete quadriplegia will not be able to move any part of the body below the neck. In some cases, patients can move their arms, but are not able to control their hand movements, making it extremely difficult to grasp objects.

People with quadriplegia have high risks of suffering from serious complications. Because the spinal cord nerves control the function of the bladder and bowels, patients with quadriplegia experience problems in this area. Urinary tract infections are unfortunately common as well, and may be deadly if not properly treated. Persons living with quadriplegia are also susceptible to respiratory infections and pneumonia, which have high fatality rates in these patients.

The Support Your Injuries Need

Back injuries can be especially slow to heal because the bones and muscles in the back are part of a complex structure that is hard not to use continually. Recovery from a back injury can be long, arduous, and expensive as medical bills, ongoing treatments, home modifications, lost wages, etc. begin to pile up.

If you or a family member has suffered a back or spinal cord injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses, and other costs associated with the injury. Call us today at 800-232-3711 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, and get the support and legal backing your injuries require.

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