Busy highways in California represent a place where the risk of a traumatic spinal cord injury is high. In the United States, traffic crashes top the list of causes of spinal cord injuries. About 35 percent of these injuries every year arise because of motor vehicle accidents. The forces involved in car accidents create conditions where the spines of vehicle occupants could be exposed to hard blows that fracture, crush or dislocate the vertebrae and damage the spinal cord.
A fall could also expose a person to a crushing force to the back. People over age 65 are especially prone to falls. With over 25 percent of spine injuries caused by falls, they create the second most common source of this severe injury.
Although car accidents and falls might involve negligence, the third most common cause of spine trauma almost always involves an aggressive responsible party committing an intentional act. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that violence, usually with a gun or knife, result in 15 percent of these injuries nationwide.
Regardless of the cause, the person will likely have a long recovery time and could be left with a permanent disability. Depending on the location of the injury, a victim could experience a diminished ability to walk, move arms, control the bladder or breathe. Extensive and expensive medical care and treatment will likely be necessary, and in many cases a victim will be unable to return to work. When the injury was caused by the negligence of another, such as a distracted or impaired driver, an attorney representing the victim could seek compensation for the losses that have been sustained through a lawsuit filed against the at-fault party.