Has an auto accident or a fall caused a spinal cord injury that left you with a permanent disability? If so, you might need assistance with even the most routine tasks, and your days of working to earn an income might be over. Catastrophic is an apt description of a spinal cord injury because the consequences such as medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering could be overwhelming.
The spinal cord contains tissues and nerves that carry messages about sensations from the various parts of the body to the brain, and then it takes the responses from the brain about movements back to the body. The spinal column consists of different sections, of which the upper two encase the spinal cord. The spinal cord runs through the cervical spine, which is the neck section, and the mid and upper-back thoracic spine, ending in the lumbar spine, which is in the lower back.
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Severe damage to the spinal cord could prevent it from carrying messages to and from the brain. It can interrupt nerve functions of sensation, movement and organ function in part of the body below the spinal cord damage. The severity of the spinal cord damage will determine the type of SCI, which could be one of the following:
- Incomplete injury: Some remaining sensation and function below the location of the damage
- Complete injury: Loss of all feeling and movement on both sides of your body below the injury level
The higher the injury to the spinal cord, the wider the extent of the damage will be.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury
An injury can cause swelling or bleeding that causes pressure on the spinal cord, and symptoms could develop gradually. The following might indicate the need for a spinal injury evaluation:
- Digestive problems
- Breathing difficulty -- for upper portion spinal injuries
- Blood pressure and heart rate changes
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of bladder and bowel function -- for lower portion spinal injuries
- Muscle spasms
Potential types of paralysis
When spinal cord injuries cause muscle weakness, it could affect the trunk, legs or arms in the following ways:
- Paraparesis and Quadriparesis: Partial function loss in four or two limbs
- Triplegia: Loss of function and sensation in three limbs -- a typical incomplete spinal cord injury
- Paraplegia: Loss of all function and feeling in both legs and lower half of the body
- Quadriplegia: Paralysis of all four limbs --typically after spinal cord damage in the upper neck region
The severity of the damage to the spinal cord and the position will determine the bodily deficits.
If another party's negligence caused an auto accident or dangerous fall that led to any permanent disabilities, you might have grounds to pursue financial relief. However, this will be a challenge that most others will not tackle without legal counsel. An experienced Texas personal injury attorney can assist with establishing negligence and estimating damages to cover past and future losses. Estimating loss of potential future income is extremely complicated, and having someone who will advocate for you and seek maximum damage recovery can be an invaluable asset.