Can I suffer a spinal cord injury without a fracture?

Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic spinal injuries. The force of a motor vehicle collision can cause the spinal bones to fracture, but that does not necessarily mean that there will be damage to the spinal cord. The reverse is also true: a motor vehicle accident can cause a spinal cord injury without fracturing the bones in the spine. In this post we discuss the range of spinal injures and how a car accident can cause a spinal cord injury without fracturing the bones in the back.

Car accidents can cause a range of spinal injuries

There are several ways that your back and spine can be injured in a car crash. Injuries can range from mild ligament and muscle strains (commonly known as whiplash), to fractures and dislocations of the bones in the spine, to spinal cord injuries that leave the accident victim with quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia) or paraplegia.  A serious motor vehicle accident can cause catastrophic injury to the spine that leaves the accident victim with extensive rehabilitation needs and life-long impairments.

Car accidents can cause a spinal cord injury without fracturing bones

A motor vehicle accident can cause you to suffer a spinal cord injury without fracturing the bones in your spine, and vice versa, because the spinal bones and the spinal cord are different (but closely related) structures within the body:

  • The spinal cord is a long bundle of nerve fibres that resembles a cable, running from the end of the brain stem through to the bottom of the spine. The nerves in the spinal cord carry incoming and outgoing messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
  • The spine itself, on the other hand, is composed of 33 individual back bones called vertebrae. In the middle of each vertebra is a hollow space that the spinal cord runs through, called the spinal canal. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord from injury, just as the skull protects the brain from injury.

So, it is possible for a trauma such as a major car crash, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian/vehicle collision to cause damage to your spinal cord, to the bones of your spine, or both. For example, if the car accident causes a spinal fracture, dislocation, or compression injury to one or more of your vertebrae, that damage to the back bones can also cause spinal cord injury by pinching, compressing, or even tearing your spinal cord.

Suffered an injury to your spine? Get legal advice from a top Vancouver SCI lawyer

If you suffered an injury to your spine as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates. We have considerable experience handling ICBC claims involving spinal injuries, ranging from whiplash to fractures and spinal cord injuries, and including complex personal injury claims involving quadriplegia and paraplegia and catastrophic injuries. Our highly experienced Vancouver personal injury lawyers will assist you in obtaining funding for the rehabilitation services you need, and we are skilled at developing claims against ICBC to secure maximum compensation for accident victims. Call us today at (604) 689-8888 to request a free consultation.



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