5 Things You Need To Know About Fractured Vertebrae

Vertebrae are the small bones that make up your spine, and they can be fractured by the force of a serious car accident. This a serious injury that can have long-lasting effects on your quality of life and your finances, so if another person's bad driving is the cause of your injury, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Here's what you need to know about this serious injury. 

What are the signs of fractured vertebrae?

The first sign of fractured vertebrae will often be pain. This pain is usually localized in the lower back, but it can also radiate to nearby areas. You may feel pain running up your spine and into your neck, or down into your hips and thighs. If the fractured vertebrae are putting pressure on the nerves inside your spine, you will feel numbness and tingling in addition to pain. If the nerves are completely compressed, you may lose control of your bladder or bowels.

Can this injury cause paralysis?

Fractured vertebrae can lead to paralysis if the bones compress or damage your spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that runs down the length of your back. Damage to the spinal cord can happen during the car accident itself or it can happen afterwards. For example, if an untrained person pulls you out of your car, the broken bones in your back can easily shift position and damage your spinal cord. Paramedics are very careful with people with suspected back injuries for this reason. 

How are fractured vertebrae treated?

Doctors will usually treat your fractured vertebrae with noninvasive methods at first. They will prescribe pain medication to make you more comfortable and use external bracing to hold your bones in place while they heal. You may also have to take calcium supplements to help strengthen your bones. 

If you don't start feeling better within a few weeks, your doctor may recommend surgery. The surgery will stabilize your broken bones and allow you to start healing. Spinal surgery sounds scary but this procedure isn't as bad as you might think. A surgeon will inject bone cement into your back with a needle, which will fill the broken parts of your spine. This is sort of like a cast, only on the inside of your body instead of on the outside.

How long will it take to feel better?

Your recovery time can vary a lot based on how many vertebrae were broken, the severity of the damage to the bones, whether you need surgery or not, and many other factors. Most fractures will heal after 6 to 8 weeks, but it can take much longer for you to feel like you did before the injury. It can take anywhere between 3 and 9 months to get your full function back, and in rare cases, you will suffer permanent problems like chronic pain or paralysis

Can you get a large settlement for this injury?

The settlement that you can get will vary based on how bad your injury was and how much it is still affecting your life. For example, someone who becomes paralyzed as the result of a fractured vertebrae would get more money than someone who made a full recovery after the fracture. The average settlement in America for a single fractured vertebra is $112,537, but the average for multiple fractures is $207,000. A personal injury lawyer will be able to give you a more precise estimate based on your individual circumstances.

If you suffered from fractured vertebrae after a car accident, call a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Breslin & Breslin/lawyers right away to discuss your case.