Spinal cord injuries are one of the most severe injuries that people can suffer during a motor vehicle accident, fall, or similar physical trauma inducing event. Spinal cord injuries are usually caused by a sudden blow to the spine that dislocates or fractures one or more of the vertebrae; bone fragments, ligaments, disc material, and other parts of the spinal column often bruise or tear the spinal cord.
Most spinal cord injuries don’t completely sever the spinal cord, but rather fracture or cause compression to the vertebrae, resulting in the nerve damage. Depending on the severity of the damage, spinal cord injuries may almost totally recover, or may result in partial or complete paralysis.
Classification of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are classified into either complete or incomplete injuries, with complete injuries resulting in no motor or sensory function remaining below the injury (completely paralyzed) or incomplete injuries, where some amount of motor function and/or sensory function remains below the injury.
The American Spinal Injury Association divides spinal injuries into five categories:
A. Complete Injury – no motor or sensory function is preserved.
B. Sensory Incomplete – sensory but not motor function is preserved below the level of injury.
C. Motor Incomplete – motor function is preserved below the injury, but more than half of the muscles tested do not have full range of motion against gravity.
D. Motor Incomplete – motor function is preserved below the injury, and at least half of the muscles tested have full range of motion against gravity or better function.
E. Normal – no motor or sensory deficits, however the patient previously had deficits.
Patients can suffer from complications following an incident as well– some of which are caused by the lack of nerve and muscle functionality resulting from the injury itself, while others occur as a result of being hospitalized for a long period of time. Pulmonary edema, neurogenic shock, pneumonia, and urinary tract and respiratory infections are all potential side effects. Likewise, muscle atrophy and deep venous thrombosis can occur if patients are immobile for long periods of time. Luckily however, an attentive medical staff and timely treatment can mitigate most of these complications.
A patient’s prognosis after a spinal cord injury can vary greatly. In some cases extensive treatment and physical therapy can restore some amount of lost function, however almost all spinal injuries result in at least some incurable issues, regardless of the quality of care a patient receives. While patients can often recover a good quality of life after a spinal injury, this can be a drawn out and expensive process.
Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
If you or a family member has suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of an automobile accident or other accident caused by the negligence of another, contact the Green Law Group. Our combination of medical and legal expertise makes us uniquely suited to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injury. Please contact us online by filling out the form on this page or by telephone at (888) 264-3780 to discuss your potential personal injury claim, and let us explain your options.