Injuries that affect the spinal cord are some of the most serious forms of bodily harm that a person can experience. Spine injuries can occur in car accidents; slip, trip, and fall accidents; after being struck with a heavy object; and a variety of other situations. While it is well-known that injuries that damage the spinal cord can have multiple negative effects on a person’s health and well-being, not everyone understands the nature of these types of injuries and when they can lead to paralysis in some or all of the body. Those who suffer these types of injuries may experience long-term or permanent disabilities. Because of this, they should work with an experienced lawyer to determine how they can receive financial compensation that will address their ongoing expenses and other types of damages.
Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord carries signals to and from the brain and the rest of the body, and injuries that disrupt the spinal cord’s ability to carry these messages can cause paralysis. The extent of the paralysis will depend on whether a spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury will prevent the spinal cord from transmitting any signals below the level where the injury occurred. This type of injury may involve the spinal cord being cut or severed, or extreme pressure may be placed on the spinal cord by broken vertebrae in the spine or the impact of a heavy object, and this may irreversibly damage the nerves in the spine. A complete spinal cord injury will result in the loss of all sensation and an inability to control the parts of the body below the level where the injury occurred.
In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the nerves in the spinal cord are partially damaged. This may occur if pressure is placed on the spinal cord or if the nerves are stretched and damaged by unnatural movements of the back or neck. In these types of injuries, the nerves may still be able to transmit some information, so a person will usually not be completely paralyzed. Instead, they may experience tingling, numbness, or partial loss of sensation, and they will likely lose some control of the parts of the body that were affected. In some cases, damage suffered in an incomplete spinal cord injury may be partially repaired through surgery.
Paralysis will affect different parts of the body depending on the level of the spine that was injured. A cervical spinal cord injury that affects the nerves in the neck may lead to quadriplegia or tetraplegia, in which a person cannot move their arms or legs and may be unable to breathe or speak on their own. A thoracic spinal cord injury that affects the nerves in the upper back may lead to paraplegia, in which a person will suffer paralysis in their legs and may be unable to walk.
Contact Our Appleton, WI Spine Injury Attorneys
A spinal cord injury can leave a person permanently disabled, and in addition to requiring ongoing medical care, they may be unable to work and earn an income. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., our attorneys can help injury victims determine their best options for receiving financial compensation that will allow them to provide for their ongoing needs. Contact our Green Bay personal injury lawyers today at 920-739-7366 to schedule a free consultation and get started with your case.