What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
One of the most devastating injuries possible is a spinal cord injury. The term “spinal cord injury” does not refer to a specific injury, but is a catch-all for damage to any portion along the spinal cord including spinal canal nerves. The reason these injuries are so serious is that the spinal cord is one of the most important parts of the body for carrying out its normal functions. It is primarily responsible for transmitting nerve signals from the motor cortex of the brain to body parts. Damage to the spinal cord could result in severe disabilities like loss of motion to limbs, loss of sensation, incontinence, and difficulty breathing without a respirator.
Damage to the Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is protected by vertebrae from the base of the brain down to the pelvic area. Nerves shoot out from both sides between each vertebra, and their function can be broken down broadly into four regions from highest to lowest: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. If the spinal cord is damaged in the thoracic region located in the middle-to-upper back area, it affects all the nerves at the level of the injury and everything below it. That’s why injuries to the neck (cervical region) are so serious — it could affect every area of your body resulting in paralysis from the neck down, also known as quadriplegia.
Spinal cord injury severity also depends on the extent of the damage done. An injury is usually classified either as complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury will result from the severing of the cord or the crushing of vertebrae but could also occur if the cord is dislocated from its normal area. It results in the total loss of nerve function at and below the injury. A person will retain some, albeit weaker, motor functioning and muscle strength below the spinal cord injury if it is incomplete.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
The most common cause of spinal cord injuries is physical trauma in automobile accidents. Half of all new spinal cord injuries every year are sustained in motor vehicle collisions. They also commonly occur as the result of a fall or violence-related incidents. In automobile crashes, the neck is often whipped back and forth suddenly with no muscular resistance, which could damage cervical vertebrae. Depending on how the person is sitting and whether they are wearing a seatbelt, they could also twist their back or be jerked violently by the collision, damaging thoracic or lumbar vertebrae.
Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury, you understand how this can impact every aspect of your life. Even if the function of your major limbs remains, you still might have to deal with pain, burning and tingling in different areas of your body, loss of bladder control, sexual dysfunction, and depression. Needless to say, your life has changed dramatically after an accident.
If someone else’s negligence directly led to your spinal cord injury, know that you have legal recourse to compensation. Call Troutman Law Firm today to see if you have a case. We have decades of experience in personal injury cases, and specialize in automobile accident injuries. Let us help you get the money you desperately need for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free initial consultation, please give us a call today at 407-647-5002.