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Can a car crash paralyze you?

Should you receive a neck or back injury in a Louisiana car crash, you face becoming paralyzed in part or all of your body. Spinal cord injuries represent some of the most catastrophic injuries your body can sustain, and most of them result in your never walking again unassisted, or worse yet, having to live in a wheelchair.

As you likely know, your backbone really is not one bone. Instead, as the Mayfield Clinic explains, you have 33 vertebrae in your back which surround your spinal cord in the following five regions:

  1. Your cervical region going from your brain’s base to your neck’s base that contains five vertebrae
  2. Your thoracic region going from the bottom of your neck to your waist that contains 12 vertebrae
  3. Your lumbar region going from your waist to the lumbar curve of your lower back that contains five vertebrae
  4. Your sacral region that goes from your lower back to your tailbone that contains five fused vertebrae
  5. Your coccyx region, i.e., your tailbone itself that contains four fused vertebrae

In addition to all these vertebrae, your spinal cord also contains the hundreds of nerves that connect your brain to the rest of your body. Should you dislocate, partially sever or completely sever your spinal cord in your auto crash, the messages going back and forth from your brain to the rest of your body that allow you to move and feel will become disrupted and your ability to move and feel will be severely limited if not totally eradicated.

Injury point and resulting paralysis

The point where you receive your spinal cord injury, plus the severity of that injury, determines how much paralysis you will suffer. An injury to your lumbar region likely will result in paraplegia, that is, your inability to walk or feel sensation anywhere below your point of injury, especially in your legs and feet. You may also lose voluntary function of your bladder and bowel.

An injury to your cervical or thoracic region likely will result in your becoming a quadriplegic, devoid of most if not all voluntary body movement and sensation in not only your legs and feet, but also in your arms, hands and fingers as well as much of your torso. Severe quadriplegic injuries can make you lose your ability to even breathe without constant mechanical assistance.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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