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Car accidents and spinal injuries

Victims of motor vehicle accidents in Arkansas and other states may find themselves dealing with serious injuries that last long after impact. While such injuries vary in accordance with the circumstances that caused them, spinal fractures represent a particular source of concern. These fractures most commonly happen in the lumbar or thoracic spine areas, and they often result from high-speed accidents.

The lumbar and thoracic regions are located close to the base of the spine and the tailbone. This area is anatomically complex, and fractures can assume a number of distinct patterns depending on the nature of an injury. In some cases, vertebra may be pulled apart, while other accidents result in unnatural twisting, rotation or partial breakage of vertebrae.

Medical treatment of suspected spinal fractures often incorporates a number of emergency and diagnostic procedures. Patients may have to submit to x-ray, CT, MRI and other imaging scans, and doctors typically perform various neurological exams. Although surgical treatments can help fracture patients recover, these carry the risk of complications, such as bleeding or spinal fluid leaks. Victims generally have to go through rehabilitation or outpatient therapy even after they heal, and many must be fitted with permanent medical devices, like stabilizing screws and metal bars.

Because spinal injuries are so serious, victims may require extensive treatment to get back to how they were before their accidents. For some, however, the fact that they can't work yet have to pay ongoing medical and other bills makes it harder to recover properly without assuming a ton of debt or compromising their careers. Many victims of car accidents seek legal clarification about their litigation options from a personal injury attorney.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "Fractures of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine", February 2010.

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