Spinal Injury From a Car Crash – What Fort Worth Injury Victims Should Know

doctor looking at X-ray filmThe impact of any collision could leave you with a severe neck or back injury. Even a relatively minor crash could cause whiplash or spinal cord damage.

If you sustained a spinal injury from a car crash, you may need ongoing medical care, but how do you pay for it? Medical costs, lost wages and other damages quickly add up, leaving you and your family with a significant financial burden.

Our Fort Worth car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling injury claims like these in Texas. If someone else caused your crash, you may have legal options for recovering compensation for your damages.

Your case review is on us. (817) 920-9000

How Do I Know if My Pain is Due to a Spinal Injury?

Muscle soreness after any type of traffic accident is expected. It does not always mean you are badly hurt. But what if your neck or back pain is something more? How do you know if you have a serious spinal injury or bruising that will go away on its own?

The fact is you cannot know what your injuries are without a medical examination. One of the things we tell people is to call 9-1-1 after any crash. The reason this is important is that it helps to get police and medical assistance to the scene faster. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), which are often among first responders, are trained to recognize signs of a serious injury. Allowing them to examine you at the scene could help you get treatment faster.

Even if you decide to refuse treatment at the scene, however, it is vital you get examined at a nearby emergency room right away. These facilities are equipped with staff, equipment and other resources, so they can diagnose you for any injuries, spinal or otherwise, that you may have suffered in the crash.

Waiting or skipping this step could cost you in a couple of ways.

Delaying Medical Treatment Could Hurt Your Health

First, waiting to seek medical treatment after a crash could mean not getting critical treatment you need, which could give your injury time to worsen. In severe cases, putting off medical care could leave you with permanent damage. In the worst cases, this decision could be fatal.

Skipping Medical Care Could Cost You Money

The second way delaying or skipping medical care could cost you is in your ability to recover damages. If you do not see a doctor, there are no medical records to link your injuries to the crash. If you delay getting treatment, the at-fault party’s insurance company has room to argue that you could have been hurt somewhere else. The end result could be a devalued or denied claim, which would leave you paying for your damages out of pocket.

How Could a Crash Cause a Spinal Injury?

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), 39 percent of all traumatic spinal injuries happen as a result of a motor vehicle collision.

The impact of any type of collision could cause some type of spinal injury. That said, there are some types of crashes where a neck or back injury may be more likely.

For instance, whiplash or other severe neck injuries are very likely in a rear-end crash due to the violent forward and backward motion at impact.

Some people are more likely to suffer a spinal injury in a low-impact collision due to their age, genetics or preexisting medical conditions. An example of this would be an elderly crash victim who suffers from arthritis or osteoporosis. A younger child with a still-developing bone structure may also be more likely to suffer a severe spinal injury.

There are other factors that could affect whether you suffer a neck, back or other severe spinal injury, such as where you were sitting at impact. Victims who choose not to wear a seat belt could be ejected from the vehicle, which could result in a catastrophic spinal injury. Even if you are properly restrained, you could hit the dashboard or other object inside the car that causes a spinal injury.

What Spinal Injuries Are Common to Fort Worth Car Crashes?

There are numerous spinal injuries that could result from a Fort Worth car crash, but these are some of the most common:


The sudden and violent jerking back and forth that happens in a car crash can cause a severe whiplash injury. While many people may think this injury is minor, it can cause the victim to suffer extreme pain, to the point of not being able to enjoy his or her favorite activities. Common treatment for whiplash may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and rest.

Herniated Discs

There are discs all along your spine to cushion and protect the vertebrae in your spinal column. If a crash pushes one of these discs out or causes it to tear, the resulting injury can be extremely painful. Doing any kind of activity with this injury is challenging, which means victims may be greatly limited in what they can do.

Treatment for a herniated disc may include non-surgical recommendations using medication and rest. However, more severe disc herniations may require surgery.

Fractured Vertebrae

There are bones along the spinal column that could get fractured in a car crash. Some spinal fractures may be severe enough to cause permanent impairment, while others may improve following surgery. Common spinal fractures could include:

  • Burst fractures: This injury occurs when there are several fractures to the vertebrae, leaving behind bony fragments. The fragments can cause additional harm, including paralysis or death.
  • Flexion fractures: A flexion fracture is more likely to occur in certain crashes, such as a head-on collision, where the body gets thrown forward, but the lower half of the body stays in place. This violent impact could tear the vertebra apart.
  • Vertebral compression fractures (VCF): VCF fracture occur when the impact and ensuing fracture causes the front of the vertebrae to collapse. These fractures are more common in people suffering from osteoporosis or bone density loss. However, even someone with healthy bones could suffer this injury in a high-impact collision.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is most often thought to be the result of aging or wear and tear. While there is some truth that wear and tear can cause this injury to develop, it can result from the trauma of a crash. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which in turn puts pressure on the nerves. When this happens, it can cause pain, numbness or muscle weakness in the arms or legs. If an individual already has some wear and tear, the impact of a crash can worsen the injury. Treatment may include modifying physical activities, taking anti-inflammatory medications and, in the worst cases, undergoing spinal decompression surgery.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are more severe than other neck or back injuries because they can result in partial or full paralysis. Victims are likely to need around-the-clock care as well as help with daily household activities. In addition to the original injury, secondary complications are also likely to occur, such as:

  • Pneumonia or other respiratory diseases
  • Pressure sores from not being able to move about
  • Spasticity management
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Urological complications
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) due to lack of circulation

What Symptoms May Indicate a Serious Spinal Injury After a Crash?

After a car crash, victims who sustained a spinal injury may experience some or only a few of these symptoms, which include:

  • Dull aches
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities (your arms and legs)
  • Stabbing or shooting pains down the leg
  • Difficulty walking, sitting, getting up or standing
  • Atypical balance or coordination issues
  • Limited range of motion and flexibility
  • Swelling in the injured area
  • Shoulder pains
  • Neck and/or back stiffness
  • Sudden onset of headaches
  • Radiating pain in your arms or legs
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Muscle tension

If you have any or even a few of these symptoms, you should get emergency medical attention right away. ER docs will likely request diagnostic tests, such as MRIs, CT-scans and X-rays, to help them determine what is going on.

When discussing your injuries with the treating doctor, it is vital that you mention any symptoms you have had since the crash, even if they seem unimportant.

Can You Recover Compensation for Medical Costs After a Spinal Injury?

If you sustain a spinal injury due to a crash caused by another driver, then that driver can be held liable for your damages. However, the burden of proof falls on the victim, and especially with back injuries, this can make for a very complicated claim.

Having an experienced auto accident lawyer handle your claim could greatly benefit your ability to recover fair and just compensation for your injuries. Your damages could include medical costs, lost wages, around-the-clock home care you may need, loss of future earnings and benefits, disability and impairment, and more.

Call Our Trusted Law Firm to Discuss Your Fort Worth Crash

At Anderson & Cummings, we have the staff and resources to help after a car crash that causes you harm. Our attorneys have extensive experience and are ready to fight for the maximum compensation on your behalf.

Call today to find out if you may have legal options. There is no cost for your initial case review, and if you choose our firm to represent you, there are also no upfront costs to pay. We only get paid if you do.

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*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


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