There are approximately 400,000 people throughout the United States living with the effects of spinal cord injury (SCI) at any given time. Even though statistics show that spinal cord injuries are more prevalent amongst males, anyone who is involved in an accident could experience a spinal cord injury at any given time.
Two different types of SCI
When talking about spinal cord injuries, there are two different types. These include the complete spinal cord injury (meaning the patient loses complete lack of function any lower than their injury) and the incomplete spinal cord injury (there is some feeling and sensation below the injury). The degree and level of functioning is dependent upon the patient and in which way and how severely the spinal cord was damaged.
Complete spinal cord injuries
These result in complete tetraplegia or complete paraplegia. There are differences between the two different types:
- Complete paraplegia – This means that the patient experiences permanent loss of nerve and motor function. There is no movement or sensation in the sexual region, bladder, bowel, or legs. The patient is able to use his or her hands and arms as before the accident. Some have partial trunk movement, meaning they are able to walk short distances or stand up if they use assistive equipment. For most patients, this means using a self-propelled wheelchair for the remainder of their life.
- Complete tetraplegia – This means that the patient loses arm and hand movement in addition to the aforementioned problems. Some patients need ventilator systems to be able to breathe.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries
These types of injury are far more common than complete injuries. The difference is that these patients have some degree of movement or sensation below the injury. While patients and their family members often want an idea of how severe the injury is likely to be, it is impossible to determine until spinal shock has subsided. This can take approximately six or eight weeks after the injury. This may result in some movement but little or no feeling or some feeling but little or no movement.
Finding compensation for your spinal cord injury
The leading cause of spinal cord injuries varies by age. For people who are under the age of 65, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause. For those over 65, we can attribute most spinal cord injuries to falls. Other causes include:
- Sports injuries (especially without proper protection or landing on one’s head)
- Extreme twisting of the trunk
- Bullet or stab wounds
- Electric shock
- Diving accidents
- Workplace accidents
If you or someone close to you suffers a spinal cord injury, it can be a life-altering occurrence. Aside from possible recovery (if possible), it is important that you get through the trauma and have any possible medical bills and recovery bills paid for. Do not lose anything because of insurance companies, lost wages, or other complications. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer who can go over the specifics of the spinal cord injury and ensure that everything is done to properly compensate you.