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Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted on January 5, 2023 in

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you understand how traumatic it can be. If someone else’s negligence caused the injury, you may be entitled to compensation. You should call a spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible.

What is Considered a Spinal Cord Injury?

When there is damage to the bundle of cells and nerves that transmit signals from the brain to the rest of the body, it is considered a spinal cord injury (SCI). This can happen when the spinal cord is directly damaged. But, it also occurs when there is bone or tissue damage to the vertebrae and surrounding areas.

The vertebrae are the column of bones that surround the spine. It is considered an SCI when damage to the column of nerves and tissue or the vertebrae interferes with the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Many spinal cord injuries happen suddenly, sometimes through a traumatic jolt to the spine. When bones are broken, they tend to damage the spinal cords and the nerves that surround them. Rarely, an injury may sever the spinal column completely.

When an SCI occurs, the body’s functions may be affected in several ways. The prognosis varies depending on where along the spinal cord the injury took place. Spinal cord injuries are divided into two types.

Complete Spinal Cord Injury

A complete injury causes paralysis from where the injury occurred and below. The paralysis, or loss of function, will impact both sides of the body. Complete spinal cord injuries leave the injured party paralyzed, this could be complete paralysis of all four limbs, quadriplegia, or it could affect the lower half of the body, including the legs. The loss of use of the legs and lower part of the body is called paraplegia.

If a complete spinal injury has occurred, there will be no feeling or function below the injury. The brain can no longer communicate with the body because the link between the nervous system and the brain has been completely disconnected.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Incomplete SCIs do not entirely sever the spinal cord. Since it is partially severed, the brain can still send some signals down the spinal cord to parts of the body. Since some communication can pass through the level of the injury, survivors can still feel and retain some function below the injury site.

Sometimes, after suffering an SPI, one side of the body maintains function while the other loses it. There are various degrees of remaining function, and it will depend upon the injury and its placement.

Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury on the Body

When the nervous system ceases to communicate because some or all of its connections are severed, numerous bodily functions can be impacted. Some common effects of an SCI are listed below:

  • Feelings and sensations can be affected. Sometimes this can range from a complete loss of feeling to being unable to judge temperature.
  • Movement issues such as paralysis can result from a spinal cord injury.
  • Heart rate and function can be affected and will be monitored by a physician.
  • Bladder function can be impacted by a spinal cord injury because the brain cannot communicate with the bladder anymore.
  • Intestinal function and the ability to control one’s bowels can also be affected by SCIs.
  • Respiratory problems may ensue after a spinal cord injury. The ability to breathe properly unassisted can be affected.
  • Metabolism can also be an issue when normally converting food to energy is altered.
  • Reflexes can be lost or impaired.

Life-Altering Changes as a Result of a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another party may entitle you to restitution. Some of the damages your spinal cord injury attorney may suggest that you seek are as follows:

  • Medical bills: Including ambulance trips, ER visits, surgeries, medication costs, hospital stays, medical tests, follow-up doctor visits, home healthcare, related procedures and ongoing medical care
  • Therapy costs: This applies to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and therapy related to mental and emotional health
  • Home alterations: Often, homes must be retrofitted and redesigned to accommodate medical equipment, such as ramps for wheelchairs and handicap-accessible bathrooms.
  • Transportation expenses: When traveling back and forth to doctor’s appointments, therapies and hospital stays, the cost of travel can add up.
  • Loss of wages: A spinal cord injury can cause you to miss work or not be able to continue with your current career path. You are entitled to compensation for the money you cannot make for yourself.
  • Loss of future income: When you can no longer follow the career trajectory that you trained or were educated for, the person or entity liable for your injury may owe you for that loss of earning potential.

This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of what you may be due after sustaining a spinal cord injury because of the negligence of others.

If Your Injury was the Fault of Someone Else, You Might be Entitled to a Financial Settlement

You may be entitled to financial compensation if you have experienced a spinal cord injury and someone else is at fault. Contact Connolly Brennan Ralabate today. We will examine your case, determine the liable party and hold them responsible. Our goal is for you to claim the maximum settlement possible for your spinal cord injury.