In an accident involving an automobile, truck, tractor trailer, motorcycle, boat or commercial vehicle, the most common major injury is one to the back or spinal cord. While automobile design engineers have worked effectively to protect drivers from head and brain injuries, the spinal portion of the central nervous system remains vulnerable to major damage.
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating. More than 10,000 Americans experience spinal cord injuries each year, and more than 200,000 Americans currently live with permanent paralysis of the extremities due to spinal cord injuries. The major cause of such paralysis injuries are automobile accidents and tractor trailer truck accidents. Fortunately, most vehicle accidents do not result in paralysis. However, structural damage that falls short severing the spinal cord can still have a life-changing impact on an accident victim, limiting his or her ability to work, exercise, engage in sexual activity and enjoy life to its fullest measure.
The most common types of accident related spine injuries involve disc injuries to the neck or back These injuries can result from any type of accident, such as rear impact, side impact or head-on collisions. Ruptured discs, slipped discs, bulging discs and herniated discs are common terms used to describe injures to the cartilage that cushions the spaces between the vertebrae.
The human body has 24 movable vertebrae: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic and 5 lumbar. The spinal nerves circumnavigate the centers of these bones through the spinal canal. These vertebrae have cartilaginous discs between them filled with fluid. This soft cartilage and fluid allows the back to bend and twist, providing flexibility to the human body. Sometimes, even cases that seem like simple whiplash, these discs can become bulged, ruptured or herniated. The fluid in the discs can escape. When the discs become dehydrated, they can become brittle, losing their flexibility and elasticity. Since the nerves are very close to this damage, extreme pain can result. Once damaged, these discs cannot be mended. The fluid cannot be put back.
The options for an accident victim many times involve doing nothing and enduring the pain for a lifetime. A doctor also might recommend surgery. However, surgery for damaged discs can be an imperfect solution. Sometimes the affected discs are removed in a procedure called a discectomy. Sometimes, the vertebrae are fused together by the surgeon, resulting in extreme loss of mobility. Often, the pain does not subside, even with surgery, leaving the victim with permanent impairment.
Disc injuries do not show up on an X-ray because an X-ray only shows fractures and damage to bony tissue. A magnetic resonance image (MRI) is required to see a disc injury. Typically, doctors do not order MRIs unless they have exhausted all other conservative treatments. If you continue to have pain after visiting with an orthopedist several times, you should ask for an MRI. A long delay in diagnosis of the disc injury can hurt your claim. Accordingly, be diligent and proactive in your treatment.
If you have sustained a disc injury in Georgia because of someone else’s carelessness, you should speak with Atlanta injury lawyer Charles Scholle as soon as possible. Since 1995, Charles Scholle has represented clients throughout Georgia who were severely injured through no fault of their own, helping them win the money they need to recover and get back on their feet. His legal team strives to take care of all of the legal details for clients while keeping them well-informed and working to get them the best possible financial results.
He offers free, confidential consultations to potential clients, so you risk nothing by speaking to him to learn more about your rights. From a main office in Gwinnett County, he serves clients from offices in Midtown and the Perimeter and represents victims throughout Atlanta and Georgia. To set up your free consultation, you can send the firm a message online or call toll-free at 1-866-972-528 or in Atlanta at 770-717-5100.