As we all know, there are a plethora of injuries that may result from an automobile accident. There is also the risk that some of these injuries may lead to the development of further injuries. The significant strain placed on a person’s body in the event of a car accident can lead to serious injury. Spinal stenosis is one of these injuries. It is important that those who develop such an injury after an accident seek a spinal stenosis car accident settlement with the help of an attorney. The experienced Houston accident lawyers at Reich & Binstock can help. In this post, we’ll answer your questions regarding a spinal stenosis injury and what a settlement for that might look like.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the bony spaces within your spine narrow, putting pressure on nerves that travel through it. It most often occurs at the lower back and neck regions of the human body. Individuals with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms right away, but they could experience pain or tingling sensations over time as their condition worsens.
Spinal stenosis commonly results from wear and tear of the aging body, typically related to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage that connects the backs of vertebrae together begins to break down. When this happens, your bones may rub against one another, leading to abnormal bone growth. This can directly contribute to the narrowing of those bony openings, also known as foramina. Other factors such as degenerative disc disease, spinal deformities, or cyst growths can contribute to spinal stenosis, as well.
Can a Car Accident Cause Spinal Stenosis?
While a car accident cannot actually cause spinal stenosis, it can cause an injury that leads to spinal stenosis. It can also cause an asymptomatic case of spinal stenosis to become aggravated and present symptoms. A person with spinal stenosis might not always be aware that they have it because they may not feel any symptoms. However, it is highly possible that a person may experience a traumatic accident that leads to the onset of these symptoms.
Being involved in a car accident may cause internal structural injuries, including injury to the spine. It is very common for a person involved in a collision to obtain back and neck injuries. This injury might immediately lead to the development of spinal stenosis, or it may cause it to develop slowly over time due to spinal degeneration.
What is Foraminal Stenosis Caused by Trauma?
Foraminal stenosis, one of the specific types of spinal stenosis, is often a result of the aging process. However, it is possible for trauma to cause foraminal stenosis. For example, if someone were involved in an accident that resulted in a bulging or herniated disc. This injury could cause the discs between your spinal bones to become damaged or slip out of place and lead to foraminal stenosis. Bone spurs resulting from trauma or injury often pinch the nerves running through the spine and may also cause stenosis.
Can a Person be Paralyzed by Spinal Stenosis?
If the spinal stenosis is severe enough, there is a chance that it could lead to paralysis. This is the case when the lumbar spinal stenosis causes the rare but serious condition of cauda equina syndrome. The cauda equina is a collection of nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord. These nerve roots provide sensory and motor functions to the lower half of the body, including the legs, bladder, and genital areas.
Cauda equina syndrome, or CES, occurs when nerve roots become compressed. This compression obstructs the motor and sensory functions of the lower extremities. It may result in symptoms such as bowel or bladder incontinence or loss of sensation in the genital region. Pain, numbness, weakness, and heaviness in the legs is also a common symptom. CES is a medical emergency, as it has potential to lead to permanent paralysis if not properly treated.
Though it primarily occurs in adults, anyone who experiences spinal trauma or injury may develop cauda equina syndrome. CES can affect any age, gender, or race. The most common cause is due to a herniated disc located in the lumbar region, which in turn may lead to spinal stenosis and thus, CES. A herniated disc is often the result of a strain or impact injury.
Other potential causes of CES include:
- Spinal lesions or tumors
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
- Birth abnormalities
- Spinal hemorrhages
- Infections or inflammation of the spine
- Postoperative spine surgery complications
- Spinal anesthesia
- Traumatic injuries to the back, including Houston car accidents, slip and fall injuries, gunshot wounds, etc.
What are the Long Term Effects of Spinal Stenosis?
Suffering a back injury can not only be extremely painful, but it also can follow you around for the rest of your life. As spinal stenosis may result from a variety of factors, it can also lead to a variety of possible medical conditions. Though it’s rare, cases of untreated spinal stenosis can lead to long term effects of weakness, numbness, incontinence, and balance problems. Like we mentioned above, there are even cases where spinal stenosis may lead to permanent paralysis.
The long term effects caused by spinal stenosis have the potential to be life-altering. It’s extremely important that anyone who suffers this condition due to another’s negligence seeks a spinal stenosis car accident settlement. Achieving a settlement for your injuries can help pay for any necessary medical treatment and ensure that you have the best chance at recovery, avoiding any negative long term effects.
Can I Sue for Spinal Stenosis?
An individual who develops a case of spinal stenosis due to someone else’s actions may have the ability to sue the responsible person. The negligence of one person, including both accidental and intentional actions, that results in another’s injuries is certainly grounds for a legal case.
To receive a spinal stenosis car accident settlement, one must file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
For the lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant breached or failed to uphold that duty of care.
- Negligent conduct of the defendant was the direct cause of the injuries. In this case—spinal stenosis.
- The plaintiff must calculate the amount of damages and losses caused by the injury they sustained.
In the case of a car accident, the responsible driver owed the plaintiff and all other drivers on the road a duty of care. Anyone who gets behind a wheel is responsible for more lives than just their own, after all. They’re expected to obey all laws and road regulations, drive with the utmost caution at all times, and avoid any negligent driving actions. Breaching that duty might look like anything from texting while driving to excessively speeding to driving while intoxicated.
If you can prove that the defendant’s actions were a direct cause of your injuries, you may recover various damages. These damages include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and more.
You May Be Entitled to a Spinal Stenosis Car Accident Settlement
At Reich & Binstock, our Houston spinal cord injury attorneys have filed lawsuits for clients all over Texas who’ve suffered injuries at the hands of another. We are well aware of the duty of care that drivers must meet, and we know how to hold them accountable if they don’t. If you’ve suffered as a result of another driver’s negligence, contact the dedicated attorneys at Reich & Binstock today. Not sure whether you might have a compensable injury? We are available to give you our honest opinion and advise you on what to do next. Call 713-622-7271 or 800-622-7271 toll free or complete the online form below to schedule a free consultation.