Spinal cord injuries are the type of catastrophic injury that can completely change a victim’s life. The spinal cord is incredibly sensitive and runs up the tunnel of the spinal column. Nerves branch of the spinal cord and carry signals from it to the rest of the body. Commercial trucks like big rigs and 18 wheelers are large, heavy vehicles. When they collide with a smaller passenger sedan in a truck accident, they can cause horrifying injuries. The spinal column can survive some force and stay intact, but it can’t survive too much.
At MG Law, we have broad experience helping clients with spinal cord injuries from truck accidents. Please contact a truck accident attorney in Atlanta to learn more about your rights.
Basics About The Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is like the body’s information superhighway. If you ever wondered how your brain tells your foot to move, the spinal cord plays a role. Neural signals travel down the spinal cord and then along nerves that branch off from it. The spinal cord also can relay information to the brain. If you stub your toe, information will race up the spinal cord to let your brain know, resulting in an “ouch!”
Many bones, called vertebrae, protect the cord. Unfortunately, devastating truck injuries can crunch, crush, fracture, or shatter the vertebrae, exposing the spinal column to injury.
Spinal cord injuries come in two varieties:
- Complete. The cord can no longer transmit signals below the site of injury, often because it was cut in two.
- Incomplete. Some transmission is still possible, though compromised. The cord might be bruised, scraped, or partially cut.
An Atlanta tractor trailer accident can cause either complete or incomplete injuries. Below, we look at some specific injuries our clients have suffered.
The location of your spinal cord injury will go a long way to determining the severity of your injuries. Generally, when the spinal cord is injured, the body below the site of the injury will be affected. If you suffered a devastating injury in the middle of your back, for example, then both of your legs could be affected.
This is called paraplegia. Our clients can suffer a loss of sensation and/or movement in their legs. With a complete spinal cord injury, they can be fully paralyzed.
A spinal cord injury higher up on the body can paralyze a person’s arms and legs. This is called tetraplegia or quadriplegia. The amount of impairment will typically depend on the damage to the cord itself. If it is bruised, nicked, or torn, then a patient might be able to regain function with rehabilitation and surgery. When the cord is completely severed, however, then paralysis can be permanent.
With this type of injury, a person suffers injury to one side of their body, usually because of damage to only one side of the spinal cord. For example, a person might be able to move their right arm and leg but have no movement in their left. Brown-Sequard can be debilitating, and victims will need rehabilitation to learn how to do everyday tasks.
Diagnosing A Spinal Cord Injury After a Truck Accident
Some injuries are immediately apparent—you can’t move your legs, for example. Others might take a while to develop. An incomplete spinal cord injury might slowly get worse over a period of weeks.
Look for the following symptoms following a truck accident:
- Incontinence (bladder or bowel)
- Pain in your back
- Difficulty breathing
- Impaired balance or mobility
A doctor can diagnose an injury by looking at the spine using an MRI or other test. This should show damage.
Paying For Treatment After a Truck Accident
Treatment is very difficult—and expensive. Depending on the injury, a patient might need surgery to remove bone fragments and stabilize the spine. If the column is pressing against the spine, then a doctor might operate to enlarge the spinal tunnel.
As experienced Atlanta trucking accident attorneys, we understand that spinal care is expensive. Patients might need multiple surgeries and years of rehabilitation to relearn how to walk or to hold onto something. Many people cannot return to work, so they lose out on possibly decades of earning power and struggle to pay their bills.
Speak With An Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Today
Following a spinal cord injury, you might feel as if no one is really in your corner. We are. At MG Law, our Atlanta truck accident lawyers have helped many clients like you, and we have gone toe-to-toe with many of the state’s largest trucking companies. To learn more, please contact us for a free consultation.