Any type of trauma can result in injury to a spinal cord. The severity of the impact as well as the focus of the force on the spinal cord impacts the type of injury and whether the person can recover from the injury.
The significance of spinal cord injuries
When there is an injury to the spinal cord, the body’s ability to transmit information back and forth between the brain and muscles becomes impaired. The location of the trauma is also extremely important, because it generally determines the impact of the injury on the person.
Common causes of paralysis
There are approximately 270,000 persons in the U.S. who have suffered a non-fatal spinal cord injury with 12,000 new cases each year. Less than 1% of victims of spinal cord injuries fully recover. The main causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Vehicular accident. 39.2% of spinal cord injuries are sustained during a vehicular accident.
- Falls. The 2nd highest cause is falls, accounting for 28.3% of these types of injuries.
- Violence/sports. The 3rd and 4th highest causes of spinal injuries are violence and sport injuries.
These injuries can happen to persons of any age, with the median age being around 40 years of age.
Damage different areas of the spinal cord, effect the body different
As a general rule, the closer the spinal cord injury is to the brain, the more significant the injury. A spinal cord injury to the cervical area (neck) may result in the loss of use of arms, legs and midsection (known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia). A spinal cord injury to the back usually results in loss of use of the legs (known as paraplegia). Both of these types of injuries can be classified as complete or incomplete.
- Complete. If there is no feeling or function (paralysis) below the area of the injury, the diagnosis is generally considered complete.
- Incomplete. If there is partial sensory or function below the injury, it is incomplete. There are many different variables to incomplete spinal cord injuries.
Beyond paralysis of limbs, spinal cord injuries can have varying symptoms, depending on the area of the cord that is injured and to what extent. Some other challenges that spinal cord injury victims may face include:
- Bladder and bowel control problems
- Changes to sexual function and fertility
- Respiratory issues
- Spasms or exaggerated reflexes
- Pain due to nerve damage
Spinal cord injury victims have many special medical needs that most will need for the rest of their lives following the injury. The medical costs alone can be staggering for those who have a spinal injury. In 2012 dollars, it is expected that a person who has an injury that causes quadriplegia at the age of 25 will have well over $4.5 million in costs in their lifetime.
Maximizing the value of spinal cord injury cases to provide for the individuals’ needs
The lasting impact of spinal cord injuries on the individual usually results in the inability to work and in substantial medical expenses. The spinal cord injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyer uses vocational experts, psychiatrists and economists to help in the calculation of economic damages in cases involving paralysis and spinal cord injury.
If your loved on sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident or due to medical negligence, contact our Chicago injury firm for a free consultation to discuss your options. As with most of our personal injury cases, we do not charge a fee unless we are able to obtain a settlement or financial damages for your case.
Related materials from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers:
- The Failure To Treat Pain In Paralyzed Patients With Decubitus Ulcers Can Result In Autonomic Dysreflexia