One of the more serious types of injuries one can sustain in a car accident is a fractured spine. High-speed collisions on the I-70 in Denver, for example, can result in serious trauma that can cause a vertebra fracture. In addition to a fracture, patients may also experience other damage to the spinal column, like ruptured discs.
The fracture could range from minor to severe. Not only does it cause pain in the area injured but it can spread into other parts of the body, such as the arms and legs if it affects the nerves in the spinal cord. It may also lead to numbness or weakness.
Types of Fractured Vertebrae Sustained in a Car Accident
One kind is a compression fracture, the front of the vertebra breaks and collapses, however the back part remains intact. They happen more often in the middle part of the spine (thoracic region).
Another kind of fracture is a flexion/distraction fracture. It is a complete pulling apart of the vertebrae. It’s commonly seen in head-on collisions because the pelvis is kept in place by a lap seatbelt but the upper body is thrown forward, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Ways a Fractured Vertebra Can Impact a Car Accident Victim’s Life
Physically there can be a significant amount of pain and discomfort. Even after treatment begins, pain will likely require management with medication. There will be significant restrictions to physical activity, which could also mean missed time from work.
Sometimes nonsurgical treatment can be successful. This may consist of rehabilitation and wearing a back brace or cast for several weeks. But it can take several months for recovery. So not only are there escalating medical costs, but there may be lost earnings as well.
Short-term disability benefits can help. But they only provide a portion of the injured person’s wages. And coverage may be available for a limited time, less than it takes for a full recovery.
Unfortunately, there is also the risk that the injury is so severe the person is permanently disabled. It could even cause paralysis. The impact of this is significant, considering the future medical costs that will arise and the likelihood of the individual not being able to return to employment.
How a Fractured Spine Relates to a Car Accident Claim
If the accident was caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions—such as a drunk driver, someone speeding or running a red light—there could be compensation available in a claim. Victims may file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
When the fracture is severe, it’s best to seek legal counsel. That’s because not only is it important to seek compensation for the initial medical costs associated with the injury but future ones as well. Settling the claim too quickly could prevent recovery of damages for long-term medical care.
There is also the issue of lost wages. During recovery the individual might have been without income. But if the person is disabled, it might be possible to recover compensation for earnings he or she would have received had it not been for the injury. Then there are other damages to consider such as mental anguish, reduced quality of life and more.
D.J. Banovitz helps accident victims in Denver work through their insurance claims and recover compensation to which they’re entitled. Call (303) 300-5060 to set up a consultation about your case.