What Kind of Car Accidents Lead to Back Injuries?

The most recent figures for emergency room visits revealed that there are 3.4 million hospital visits every year due to car crashes, or 2% of all emergency room visits. Half of these ER visits were for a diagnosis involving neck or back injuries. Over a million people are getting sent to the hospital for back injuries from car accidents, but we don’t have a clear idea of which collisions cause the worst back injuries.

The lack of information is strange, given that nearly every other kind of illness or condition has multiple studies explaining the mechanics of how injury occurs and why. However, one report quoted a doctor saying that autopsies on victims of car accidents was discouraged; “motor vehicle collision” is typically accepted as the cause of death without specifics.

Thankfully, while few, there have been a few studies on certain types of collisions and their effect on the body. From those studies, we can conclude that the two worst collisions for back injuries are T-bone collisions.

In fact, T-bone collisions resulted in herniated discs in the lumbar or cervical spine more often than in head-on collisions. While the seat and seatbelt protect motorists from forward and backward forces, motorists have little protection from the lateral force of a broadside crash. As a result, there’s a higher likelihood of severe and long-term back injury.

Highly Fatal T-Bone Crashes

T-bone collisions also led to a high rate of craniocervical disassociation (CCD), a highly fatal injury wherein the skull dislocates from the spine. In a review of CCD injuries (68% of which were post-mortem), less than 1 in 10 people survived dislocation of their skull.

Another potentially catastrophic back injury caused by T-bone collisions is frontal pneumocephalus, or compression of the brain due to air pockets in the skull. Air typically gets into the skull as as complication related to brain surgery, but T-bone collisions have also been known to cause lumbar spinal fluid leakage, which allows air bubbles to travel up to the brain.

Regardless of the injury, our firm has the means to fight for your recovery. If you were in a car accident, speak with Tony Clayton at (504) 608-3211 or contact us online for a free consultation.