Perhaps someone T-boned your car on the passenger side as you started to cross an intersection.
You may have shoulder damage, but it appears your passenger suffered a back injury, possibly a spinal cord injury (SCI). What can you do to help?
About the spinal cord
Along with the brain, the spinal cord is part of the central nervous system. It is a bundle of nerves responsible for transmitting impulses, or messages, from the brain to other parts of the body. The motor tracts carry impulses that control muscle movement while sensory tracts send messages to your brain that relate to heat, cold, pain and limb position.
SCI and vehicle crashes
The spinal cord is fragile, and a sudden blow that fractures, compresses or dislocates one or more vertebrae can cause SCI. Almost half of the spinal cord injuries that occur in the U.S. each year result from motor vehicle crashes, especially for people under the age of 65. Damage from a violent impact can affect the nerve fibers in the spinal cord potentially leaving the victim paralyzed to some degree.
Managing a suspected SCI
If the passenger in your vehicle shows indications of a back or neck injury, do not move the person since movement could result in serious complications such as paralysis. Call 911 and keep the person still. You can perform first aid, such as stopping any bleeding, as long as you do not move your passenger’s head or neck.
As victims of a vehicle crash, you and your passenger need prompt medical attention. A diagnosis of SCI is especially serious. Both of you have the right to expect compensation to cover your medical expenses and more.