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Dealing with a suspected spinal cord injury in a crash

When you got hit, you knew that something wasn’t right with your body immediately. Your head was hurting. Your neck felt strange, and your arms felt weak.

These symptoms made you suspect that you were badly hurt, so you stayed in your vehicle and waited for help. Now, you know that you have a spinal cord injury and will need to deal with it for many months or years to come, if not permanently.

Immobilization is the right choice after a serious crash

Staying in your vehicle and avoiding movement is the right choice for most people who have been hurt in crashes, with the exception of those who must be moved to avoid immediate hazards.

When you’re in a severe car crash, there is a greater chance that you’ve suffered spinal fractures, ligament damage, broken bones and other damage to the body. Staying where you are may help minimize the risk of additional damage taking place, which could complicate your care.

After you’re in a crash, there are a few rules to follow if a spinal cord injury is suspected. These include:

  • Not moving from the position that you’re in unless you’re in danger
  • Having someone call 911 and letting the emergency team know that a spinal cord injury is suspected
  • Immobilizing the spine when possible. If this can’t be done safely, wait for the emergency personnel to come to the scene and do so.
  • Going to the hospital as soon as possible for a full examination

If you move instead of staying where you are, there is a risk that the injury could be made worse. For instance, if you have a broken disc that hasn’t moved out of place, there is a chance that it could move or shift. This movement could put pressure on the spinal cord or cut into it, causing severe, and potentially irreversible, damage.

Victims of spinal cord injuries have options after crashes

After seeking medical care and begin stabilized, those with spinal cord injuries may have options for pursuing compensation. If your injuries were a result of another person’s errors, then they may be liable for the damages.


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