Two clients recently came to me with compression fractures in the vertebrae of their spine as a result of car accidents, and they were both women. As a lawyer, this accident got me wondering whether compression fractures from car accidents are more common in women than men. Indeed, I have come to find that after experiencing car accidents, women are more vulnerable to compression fractures.
Since women are more likely to have osteoporosis, and as a result, their spinal vertebrae can be weaker and more vulnerable to the compression forces that can occur in car crashes in Georgia. It turns out that forty percent of women will suffer a vertebral compression fracture by the time they are eighty. (Source: University of Maryland Medical School www.umm.edu/spinecenter ) because compression fractures can result from trauma, and/or they can be a result of trauma that has affected an already weakened vertebrae (which may not be known by the individual at the time of the accident), it is essential to have an understanding of the possible effects of a car crashes on the spine.
As with all my cases, I delve deeply into the medicine behind the injuries to maximize the recovery. Therefore, I think it is important to explain what happens in a compression fracture injury here. The normal human spine resembles the diagram below with the vertebrae being separated by the intervertebral discs which act as shock absorbers and allow flexibility.
Compression fractures in car accidents occur when too much force is exerted on the spinal column while it is being flexed in an unnatural way. Vertebral compression fractures usually occur at T11 and T12, which is the bottom of the thoracic region and at L1, the first vertebra of the lumbar region. These vertebral compression fractures that occur are due to the natural curve of the spine. See the image below:
I had a client who was injured in an automobile accident in Conyers, Georgia and her car accident was a lateral crash with the at fault driver striking her at a 45 degree angle from the front. In the Alpharetta, Georgia crash, the client was struck from the rear in a high speed crash.
We have also had slip and fall cases where female clients over the age of 50 sustained lumbar and thoracic compression fractures.
Most compression fractures do not require aggressive treatment, and although these fractures are painful, with a brace and adequate rest, the client has a good chance of an almost full recovery. On a case by case basis and depending on the age of the client and the severity of the injury, some clients do experience post-traumatic arthritis though, and you should ask your doctor for a detailed prognosis before you decide to settle an injury case involving compression fractures. A compression fracture from a car crash is a serious injury, and the case can have a significant value. so be sure to speak with an experienced lawyer before you make any decisions on what to do.
For further reading, please see the University of Maryland’s website for an excellent discussion of the function of the spine.