It is extremely dangerous to move someone immediately after a car accident if there is a possibility that the person has a spinal cord injury. Moving a person with an injured spinal cord could worsen the damage to the spinal cord, which could cause paralysis or death. A partially-cut spinal cord could become severed entirely, an outcome that could be avoided with immediate professional medical intervention. You should call 911 or your local emergency number for assistance at once.
A California car accident attorney could help you pursue a claim or lawsuit for money damages if someone else’s negligence caused you or a close loved one to suffer a spinal cord injury. You might also have a claim against someone who did not follow spinal cord injury protocols and, as a result, worsened your spinal cord damage.
How Spinal Cord Damage Happens
The spinal cord is a group of nerves that run from the brain to all the parts of the body. When the nerve to a particular area gets damaged, the person might lose the function of that body part, whether that is a leg or the lungs. Picture a bunch of garden hoses lined up side-by-side. Each hose represents a nerve. At the top, you would have a bundle of garden hoses. The pipe sections would travel through a series of small pipe sections, the vertebrae, that protect the hoses (nerves) from harm.
After each pipe section, some nerves exit the column to innervate their designated body part or organ. Imagine that water has to flow through each hose for that part to work. Now picture a boulder falling on one section of pipe. The pipe breaks into several jagged pieces, some of which slice through some of the garden hoses.
If a hose gets severed, water cannot flow through, and the assigned body part will no longer function. Where the hose gets crushed, but some water still flows through, the body part might still be partially functional. In a catastrophic event, the broken pipe pieces might cut all the way through all of the hoses at the section. In those situations, none of the body parts below that level will work. So far, spinal cord damage is not curable.
Why You Should Not Move a Person with a Possible Spinal Cord Injury from a Car Accident
Moving someone with spinal cord damage could cause more of the “garden hose” to get cut or severed by jagged bone fragments. A person who might have recuperated from a bruised spinal cord could end up with permanent paralysis or die from being moved incorrectly.
One reason that moving a person with a high spinal cord injury (in the neck) can kill the patient is that the nerves to the lungs can get severed. In this situation, the person stops breathing and dies. Vigorous attempts at CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can worsen a spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord damage lawsuits typically involve astronomical money damages and require the use of medical experts. Although the law does not force you to work with a lawyer on these claims, it could be wise to do so. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our California car accident attorneys can handle your injury claim so that you can focus on getting better and rebuilding your life.