What do you do after a car accident that has injured your spine?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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Car accidents are common, but you likely do not expect them to occur. On top of that, if you are in an accident, sustaining an injury to your spine is likely the last thing you would expect to happen.

Unfortunately, automobile accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, totaling in at 38 percent. If you are in an accident that has injured your spine, what do you do?

Signs of spinal cord injury

Not every spinal injury is the same, but there are some signs of spinal cord injuries that are more common than others. These include:

  • Inability to move some or all of your body
  • Inability to balance or walk
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Paralysis or weakness
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Trouble breathing

What do you do at the scene?

Due to the nature of a car crash, you may have a lot of adrenaline running through your system or be in a state of shock. Both of these things may mask any injuries that you have obtained. Similarly, not all spinal cord injuries are apparent right away, which is why it can be important to monitor your health after the accident. If you determine you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above, seek out a doctor.

If you cannot feel part of your body, your body is twisted in an extreme position, or you are exhibiting any of the signs listed above, the best thing to do is call 9-1-1 and wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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Claims related to sports and recreation injuries can be complicated. These cases often include issues involving waivers and the “assumption of risk” defense.


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When you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), life changes dramatically. Even mild TBIs can lead to years of recovery and rehabilitation.


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