Linking a Spinal Cord Injury to a Maryland Car Crash

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on July 29, 2022 and updated on December 12, 2022.

doctor reviewing spinal cord x-rayCar crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. These injuries can be quite serious, resulting in mobility issues and paralysis. In many cases, a full recovery is not possible even after extensive medical treatment. Car crash victims are often left with costly medical bills, chronic physical pain and more damages.

If you or someone you care about has sustained a spinal cord injury in a car crash, you may be eligible to pursue maximum compensation from the at-fault party to help cover your treatment and other related expenses. However, linking a spinal cord injury to a car crash will require proof.

This includes proving that your spinal cord was injured because of another’s negligence and that the injury was not due to a preexisting condition from before the car crash. The at-fault party’s insurance company will do whatever it takes to minimize their liability to avoid paying fair compensation.

Our experienced vehicle accident lawyers in Maryland know what it takes to validate car crash claims for spinal cord injuries. Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about your rights and options.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries Caused by Car Crashes

A spinal cord injury happens when the spinal cord becomes temporarily or permanently damaged. A car crash can sometimes cause enough cell damage to the spinal cord the victim suffers serious impairment to the cord’s normal motor, sensory or autonomic function. There are two types of spinal cord injuries:

Complete Injuries

A complete spinal cord injury is when the spinal cord becomes entirely compressed or severed. The brain is unable to send signals to the body, losing the ability to feel and move below the affected area.

Any trauma to the spine in a car crash going beyond the normal range of motion can cause the spinal cord to be damaged completely. In severe cases, a car crash victim may become paraplegic (paralysis in both legs and sometimes the pelvis and lower body) or quadriplegic (paralysis in both arms and legs).

Incomplete Injuries

An incomplete spinal cord injury is when the spinal cord does get damaged, but the brain is still able to send signals to the body below the affected area. More than half of spinal cord injuries are incomplete.

Examples of incomplete spinal cord injuries that can happen in a car crash include:

  • Anterior cord syndrome – This occurs when the front spinal cord becomes damaged. It often results in loss of motor function and altered sensation below the injury.
  • Posterior cord syndrome – This occurs when there is damage to the back of the spinal cord. It often results in loss of coordination and ability to feel deep touch below the injury.
  • Central cord syndrome – This occurs when the center of the spinal cord is injured. It often results in loss of sensation and control of the limbs below the site of the injury.
  • Cauda equina syndrome – This occurs when the nerves of the spinal cord become compressed. It often results in motor weakness, sensory loss or even paralysis if left untreated.
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome – This occurs when one side of the spinal cord (left or right) becomes damaged. It often results in loss of movement and sensory functions near the injury.

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms Not to Be Ignored

While most spinal cord injuries are immediate and severe after a car crash, sometimes you may not be aware that you sustained a spinal cord injury until you start experiencing symptoms.

Spinal cord injuries can cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Intense back pain or pressure in the head, back, or neck
  • Incoordination, weakness, or paralysis in part of the body
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, toes, and fingers
  • Inability to control bladder or bowel movements
  • Lack of coordination resulting in issues walking and balancing
  • Impaired breathing
  • Twisted neck or back

Spinal cord injury symptoms may not necessarily show up right away. Some symptoms may be delayed for several hours, days or weeks, or may manifest in ways that do not seem related to the spine.

If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort to the head, back or neck area, it should not be ignored or dismissed. A spinal cord injury left untreated can cause chronic pain and irreversible damage.

Importance of Seeking Prompt Medical Treatment

It is important after any car crash to seek prompt medical treatment even if you think your injuries are minor and not serious. The extent of an injury will not be known until it has been examined and evaluated by a doctor. Once you receive a diagnosis, a doctor can give an appropriate treatment plan.

Many car crash victims who have sustained a spinal cord injury require a lengthy period of recovery. However, even with rehabilitation, a car crash victim may not be able to make a full recovery.

Your medical record could help you directly link your spinal cord injury to the car crash, making it difficult for the insurance company to dispute your injury and argue against paying you compensation.

Under Maryland law, if you are injured in a car crash due to negligence, the at-fault party is liable to pay any reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred. This may also include the need for future medical treatment caused by the at-fault party’s actions or inaction. To build a strong case for compensation, you and your lawyer must provide proof that negligence played a role in your spinal cord injury.

Call to Discuss Seeking Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury

Validating a car crash claim for a spinal cord injury can be difficult without an experienced lawyer on your side. Our firm has helped many car crash victims over the years obtain fair compensation.

Our initial consultations are 100 percent free and come with no obligation to hire us. At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, we operate on a contingency fee basis, so we only get paid for our services if you win.

Call 410-401-9979 for Trusted Legal Help.