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Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

The nerves that comprise the spinal cord play a pivotal role in delivering messages to and from the brain and the rest of the body. When injuries occur, the consequences can be life altering.

Spinal cord injuries can have a variety of causes ranging from motor vehicle crashes to industrial accidents to sports injuries. Over 200,000 Americans are currently living with spinal cord injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 12,000 to 20,000 new cases occur each year.

Spinal cord injuries are either complete or incomplete. In a complete injury, the person loses sensation and movement below the level of the injury; whereas, an incomplete spinal cord injury does not result in total loss of the ability to feel and move. Injuries to the spinal cord can also be classified according to the site of the injury. Below are a few examples:

  • C1-C3 injuries — When injury occurs near the top of the spinal cord, individuals generally suffer paralysis from the neck to the toes, generally referred to as quadriplegia. This type of spinal cord injury requires the use of a ventilator and assistance with personal care.
  • C7-8 injuries — Individuals have the ability flex their elbows, but cannot move their body or legs. They can often breathe without a ventilator and maintain mobility through the use of an electric wheelchair.
  • T1-12 injuries — When injury occurs lower on the spinal cord, the paralysis is less extensive. Individuals have movement and sensation in the upper body and partial paralysis of the lower body and legs.

Spinal cord injuries severely impact victims both physically and mentally. Many lose the ability to hold a job, drive or independently care for themselves. Therefore, when negligence is to blame for the injury, it is imperative to take legal action. Potential compensation includes medical bills and expenses for future medical care, rehabilitation and personal car; lost wages and loss of future income and benefits; pain and suffering; loss of quality of life; and permanent disability.

If you or someone you care about has suffered a serious spinal cord injury due to the negligence of a third party, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious accident, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.