What you need to know about spinal cord injuries
There are many kinds of injuries that can result from a serious car or truck accident: broken bones, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, head trauma, PTSD and more. One kind of especially devastating injury that can result after an automobile crash is damage to the spine. The spinal column, or vertebrae, consists of 24 separate bones including the fused bones of the coccyx and the sacrum.
The vertebral column contains and protects the spinal cord, a bundle of nerve tissue and support cells that is integral to the central nervous system. Damage to the spinal column or the spinal cord can cause major problems for accident victims. Since auto accidents are a major cause of spinal cord injuries, victims of serious crashes need to know what to expect if they suffer such an injury.
Complete vs. partial spinal cord injuries
Because the spinal cord is comprised of nerves, when it is damaged permanent disability or paralysis can occur. Victims can also lose sensation below the site of injury, and be unable to move their limbs. The location of the spinal cord injury affects the type of symptoms. Paralysis to most of the body including the arms and legs is known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia, and victims may require a respirator to breathe. Paralysis to the lower part of the body is known as paraplegia.
In addition to location, the severity of the injury will also affect the symptoms. If the spinal cord is seriously damaged, it can result in a complete spinal cord injury which leads to a near-total loss of motor function. The victim often also loses feeling below the area of injury.
On the other hand, in a partial spinal cord injury – also known as an incomplete injury – some motor function and sensation below the injury site may be preserved. It all depends on how much of the spinal cord was damaged and where the damage occurred.
The distinction between complete and partial spinal cord injuries is significant. Victims who experience partial spinal cord injuries may be able to experience significant recovery, while those who experience a complete spinal cord injury cannot. Even with a partial spinal cord injury, recovery can involve intensive, long-term physical therapy.
Getting help after your motor vehicle accident
If you’ve been injured in a serious car or truck accident – especially if you have suffered a terrible injury like spinal cord damage – then consider hiring an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. The skilled lawyers at the Christensen Law Firm have offices in Draper, Bountiful, and can work with you to help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.