The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the center of the backbone, and it is a key part of the central nervous system. Signals from the brain run through the spinal cord to all parts of the body, and anything that disrupts these signals can cause paralysis, chronic pain, and a variety of other health issues. Spinal cord injuries can occur in a wide variety of situations, such as car accidents, motorcycle accidents, falls, or workplace accidents, and those who have suffered these types of injuries will want to understand how their lives will be affected and how they can receive compensation from those who were responsible.
Injuries to Different Levels of the Spine
Spine injuries can vary in severity depending on whether they are complete or incomplete. An incomplete spinal cord injury involves damage to the nerves in the spinal cord, but a person will still retain some function. A complete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, usually involves cases in which the spinal cord is severed, resulting in a complete loss of function in certain parts of the body.
Spinal cord injuries are grouped into four different types based on the level of the spine that was injured:
Cervical spinal cord injuries – These are the most serious spine injuries, and they involve damage to the nerves that run through the vertebrae in the neck. In many cases, a person will experience quadriplegia or tetraplegia, in which they will suffer paralysis in the arms, legs, and torso. In the most serious cases, a person may be unable to breathe on their own or speak.
Thoracic spinal cord injuries – Damage to the spinal cord in the upper back will often lead to paraplegia, in which a person loses control of their legs and lower body. Depending on the level of the paralysis, a thoracic spinal injury may limit some of the use of the arms and hands.
Lumbar spinal cord injuries – Injuries that affect the spinal cord in the lower back will usually result in the loss of some or all of the control of the hips, legs, bowels, and bladder. Some people may not be able to walk and may be confined to a wheelchair, while others may not suffer complete paralysis, and may be able to walk.
Sacral spinal cord injuries – Damage to the lowest level of the spine, located just above the tailbone, will affect the groin area, hips, and thighs. While people may be able to walk, they may lose some of the control in their legs, bowels, or bladder.
Severe spinal cord injuries can result in permanent disability that will affect a person’s ability to work, and they will require a variety of assistive devices to ensure that they can perform daily tasks and meet their ongoing needs. Even minor spine injuries are likely to result in some level of disability, and surgery and physical therapy may be needed to help a person regain as much mobility as possible.
The costs of long-term care and treatment for a person with a spinal cord injury can be massive, and victims will want to understand their options for receiving financial compensation that will allow them to meet their immediate and ongoing needs. When these injuries occur because of someone else’s actions or negligence, a skilled attorney can help a victim gather evidence of liability, negotiate appropriate settlements with insurance companies, and pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Contact Our Green Bay Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
If you or a member of your family have suffered a serious spine injury that was caused by someone else, Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. can help you determine your best options for receiving financial compensation. To set up a free consultation, contact our Appleton, WI personal injury attorneys at 920-739-7366.