When Tennessee drivers are in a high-speed auto accident or head-on collision, an occupant could receive spinal injuries. Spinal fractures that are common in car accidents are thoracic mid-back and lumbar lower back fractures. A major symptom of a spinal injury is moderate to severe back pain that is exacerbated by movement. In some cases, a victim might also suffer from numbness or tingling if the spinal cord is affected.
There are three major types of spinal fracture patterns. Compression fractures, which break the front part of the vertebra, and axial burst fractures, which break both front and back of the vertebra, are flexion fractures. Flexion or distraction fractures follow the extension fracture pattern when vertebrae are pulled apart. Transverse process fracture is an uncommon rotation fracture pattern that results from rotation or extreme bending. Fracture-dislocation is when a vertebra moves off an adjacent vertebra, often causing spinal cord compression.
After a crash, on scene emergency personnel typically assess vitals and immobilize a person with back injuries in a cervical collar and backboard. At the hospital, emergency room physicians try to evaluate the patient’s overall condition, including neurological status, and may order X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. After other life-threatening injuries have been assessed, the physician may attempt to evaluate the spinal fracture pattern and determine whether surgical treatment is needed.
A lawyer may be helpful for people with spinal fractures. The lawyer might be able to establish liability, especially if the accident involved a hit-and-run, a drunk driver, a negligent driver or a distracted driver. A lawyer could seek compensation for medical expenses from the liable party or the relevant insurance company.