Big rigs, passenger vehicles and serious spinal cord injuries
Driving next to an eighteen-wheeler on the freeway can be somewhat unnerving when you consider how much larger the truck is than your passenger car.
In a crash, the occupants of the passenger vehicle stand to experience the most serious injuries. A common consequence of a truck-related crash is a spinal cord injury (SCI).
The spinal cord is the column of nerves responsible for carrying impulses from the brain to other parts of the body. Injury usually results from trauma, such as the violent impact of a truck-car crash. There are two kinds of SCI: a complete injury in which the person loses all feeling below the site of the injury, and an incomplete injury in which some functioning is still possible below the injury site.
A spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the legs or of both arms and legs. However, there are symptoms of SCI that are not immediately recognizable. In addition to pain, someone might also experience breathing problems, digestive issues, muscle spasms and lack of bladder or bowel control. A doctor will run diagnostic tests such as a CT scan, an MRI and a myelogram. The tests will show whether nerve signals can still pass along the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is fragile, and, if damaged, cannot repair itself. Recovery may require long-term rehabilitation, including the use of a prosthesis and medications that will help improve nerve function. The victim of a truck-car crash has a right to expect compensation sufficient to cover current and future medical expenses, loss of earning power and more.