Side impact collisions put victims at high risk of SCIs

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Serious injuries |

Car accidents are a frightening reality, and the potential for injuries is significant when a wreck occurs. While head-on collisions often grab the headlines, side-impact crashes, also known as T-bone accidents, pose a particularly consequential threat – a heightened risk of spinal cord injuries.

Understanding why side impacts are so dangerous, and the potential consequences of these collisions can empower road users to prioritize safety measures and be prepared to react appropriately in the aftermath of an accident.

Why side impacts are different

Human bodies can be remarkably resilient, but they have weak points. The spine, a complex column of vertebrae encasing the spinal cord, is one such area. In a frontal collision, the body is thrown forward in a more controlled manner, often against airbags and seatbelts designed to absorb impact.

However, during a side-impact crash, the forces acting on the body are entirely different. The car door, a relatively flimsy barrier compared to the front of the vehicle, takes the brunt of the impact. This concentrates the force on a much smaller area of the occupant’s body, typically the torso and hips.

The spine, lacking the protection of a strong structure on the sides, is particularly vulnerable. The vertebrae can compress, fracture or dislocate, potentially damaging the delicate spinal cord within.

The severity of spinal cord injuries: Potential consequences

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) vary greatly in severity. Whiplash, a common neck injury, can result from a side-impact collision. While painful and debilitating, it rarely causes permanent damage. However, the potential for more serious SCIs is significant.

Damage to the spinal cord can disrupt communication between the brain and different parts of the body. This can lead to partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation and even breathing difficulties in severe cases.

By seeking prompt medical attention after an accident, victims of side impact collisions can receive the medical attention they need to begin recovery. Moreover, by seeking compensation for their injuries from at-fault parties, many victims can receive the financial support they need throughout the rehabilitation process.