The spinal cord is one of the most important parts of the body. It connects the brain to virtually all other body parts. When you suffer a spinal cord injury, the effects could be short or permanent. You might feel excruciating pain or nearly none at all.
The brain needs the spinal cord to function properly, and that makes spinal cord injuries especially dangerous. The effect on different parts of your body could render you incapable of working for a short period of time or even for the rest of your life. The following information can help you better understand the nature of spinal cord injuries and what to do if you suffer one.
Spinal cord injuries often happen due to a sudden blow to the back or neck. Car accidents, workplace accidents, and truck accidents often cause spinal cord injuries. People who are active in sports are also prone to spinal cord injuries. Whenever a sudden and jarring blow occurs, your spinal cord could suffer damage.
What Are the Areas of the Spine?
The spine is much more than the neck and upper and lower back. It is comprised of four distinct sections. The four sections control different groups of nerves that connect to different parts of the body. Those sections include:
- Cervical: Affects the neck and head.
- Thoracic: Controls the upper chest, middle of the back, and abdomen.
- Lumbar: Affects your hips and legs.
- Sacral: Impacts the hips, backside of the thighs, pelvis, and buttocks.
The extent of damage depends on the location and the type of injury.
A cervical injury is the worst that most people could suffer, and it affects the C1 to C7 vertebrae within the neck. A spinal cord injury here could paralyze your body for life below the neck.
A thoracic injury impacts the T1 through T12 vertebrae could cause paraplegia that weakens the back, abdominal area, and lower legs, while the arms and hands still function normally.
A lumbar injury affects the L1 through L5 vertebrae that are located beneath the thoracic and above the sacral sections of the spine. Injuries could cause the suffer to lose use of their legs and hips. The person could lose control of the bowel and bladder. Special equipment can help to manage those conditions, and many people can use leg braces to get around as well as a wheelchair.
The sacral portion of the spine is located at the very bottom and is comprised of five nerve bundles instead of vertebrae. Injuries to the S1 to S5 nerve bundles affect the pelvis, bladder, bowels, and sexual organs. A loss of control of bodily functions might occur but can be controlled with special equipment. Many people who suffer injuries in this section of the spine can still walk.
Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
Most people think of a broken neck or back as being a typical spinal cord injury. While such catastrophic injuries do occur, they are not the types of injuries that happen the most. Less severe injuries often occur, such as a slipped disc or whiplash. Any kind of an injury to a part of the spinal cord could result in serious symptoms, but spinal cord injuries fall into two different categories.
An injury that permanently damages one or more vertebrae is called a complete spinal cord injury. Such injuries often result in paraplegia or quadriplegia and generally are not treatable beyond using special equipment to manage the condition. An incomplete spinal cord injury only partially damage the spinal cord and is more treatable.
There may be nothing you that could do to improve the prognosis for a complete spinal cord injury. Current medical technology cannot repair the damage done by a complete spinal cord injury. An incomplete injury is more capable of healing, especially with assistance from surgical procedures, like spinal fusion surgery.
Noneconomic and Economic Damages for Spinal Cord Injuries
The disabling nature of spinal cord injuries can make them costly to treat. If you suffer a spinal cord injury while working, Workers’ Compensation insurance could cover the costs. If the injury occurs in a motor vehicle accident, you might have to file a court action to obtain a settlement for damages. Those damages include economic damages as well as noneconomic damages:
- Economic damages: Economic damages include the costs of medical treatments, lost income, transportation to and from medical appointments, and paying for in-home assistance as needed.
- Noneconomic damages: Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, among many others. Loss of consortium occurs when one spouse suffers a catastrophic injury that deprives the other spouse of companionship that existed prior to the accident.
If you suffer a spinal cord injury, an experienced lawyer can help you obtain the best possible settlement by presenting the best case that is possible.
South Jersey Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Clients Who Have Significant Spinal Cord Injuries
If you have a spinal cord injury, you might not know how to pursue legal action against the party that caused your injury. Our South Jersey spinal cord injury lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you present the strongest case that is possible against the liable party. You can contact us online or call us at 856-414-0010 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.