Last Updated: 12/21/2023

Car accidents are a common cause of injury in Des Moines, and in 2012, there were 2,362,000 people injured in car accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some injuries that arise from a car accident are more serious than others, and one of the most severe types of injuries a person can sustain from a car crash is a broken back. If you suffered fractured vertebrae in a car crash someone else caused, seek help from an attorney.

What is a broken back?

A broken back refers to the vertebrae in the spinal column of the back becoming fractured as the result of trauma to the back. In a car accident, the two areas of the back most commonly affected are the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. However, any area of the back may become fractured or dislocated as a result of a car crash.

There are also three major types of fracture patterns that a car accident victim may experience.

  • flexion fracture.
  • extension fracture.
  • and, rotation fracture.

Within each pattern, there are different types of fractures that might occur, such as compression fractures, fracture-dislocations, axial burst fractures, and more.

The Dangers of a Broken Back

When the vertebrae in the spinal column are disturbed – either as result of a fracture or a dislocation – serious consequences are likely. The vertebrae in the spinal column are responsible for protecting the spinal cord.

Broken vertebrae may damage the spinal cord. If the vertebrae are injured but the spinal cord remains untouched, then no permanent neurological problems should result. However, if the spinal cord itself is damaged, then paralysis or other neurological problems may result.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic injury to the spinal cord can result in long-term neurological injuries that may affect the following.

  • nerves.
  • respiratory system.
  • urinary system.
  • gastrointestinal system.
  • and, psyche, via depression or anxiety.

While paralysis and loss of function are typically the biggest concerns of a spinal cord injury, loss of mental capabilities and changes in mood and personality are also worrisome.

If no harm to the spinal cord occurs, fractured vertebrae may still require medical care and surgery, painful and lengthy healing times, and affect a person’s ability to return to the same active lifestyle as he or she once enjoyed. Additionally, a car accident that results in a broken back can also cause a person to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Protecting Yourself While Driving

The CDC reports that car accidents are responsible for 46 percent of spinal cord injuries in the United States. However, the CDC also reports that by wearing a seat belt while driving, you can reduce your odds of sustaining a spinal cord injury by 60 percent. By using a seat belt and airbag, you can reduce your odds by 80 percent.

Whenever you are driving, it is important to buckle up and make sure your airbags are working properly. Doing so can greatly alter the course of your life in the event that you’re in a car accident.

Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair after a Back Injury in a Car Accident

If you suffered a broken back in a car accident that another person caused, the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help you recover the compensation to which you’re entitled. For help filing your claim, call us today at (888) 435-9886 or use our online contact form

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.