Spinal cord injuries refer to any damage to the spinal cord itself or the nerves attached to it. Spinal cord injuries often lead to life-altering injuries that frequently leave people paralyzed or require a wheelchair for movement. They can also cause less devastating effects but still cause a loss of body mobility or functions.
Additionally, a person suffering from a spinal cord injury may also suffer emotional damage, experiencing feelings of depression, despair, and social isolation. Current medical science has not yet found a way to completely heal every type of spinal cord injury, but with the proper long-term care, someone who has suffered such an injury can still lead a functional life and learn to gain a level of independence and self-worth.
Location and Severity
Every spinal cord injury remains unique to the person suffering the injury, which means the severity of the damage depends on two primary factors: the location and severity of the damage.
For example, if you get hit by a driver of a slow-moving vehicle, you may experience some pain in the neck area from the impact. While not permanent, the injury to the spinal cord could require several days of rest while missing work and the need for pain medication before experiencing a full recovery.
On the other hand, for example, being rear-ended by a driver of a faster-moving can result in you having chronic pain in the damaged areas for the rest of your life. In the most extreme cases, you may lose the use of your arms or legs due to severe damage to the spinal cord (paraplegic or quadriplegic)
The seriousness of the injury gets measured by the neurological level of the spine, meaning the doctors look for the lowest part of the spinal cord that shows no sign of damage. The injury then gets classified as complete or incomplete. A complete injury will be the total loss of feeling and motor function. An incomplete injury will show some signs of feeling and function.
Additional signs of spinal cord injuries include the loss or change in physical sensation, including physical contact and heat/cold sensitivities; loss of bowel/bladder control; labored breathing; and body spasms.
How They Can Happen
In general, such injuries can be the result of falls and car accidents mostly because both situations involve a person suffering high-velocity blunt force trauma. If you have suffered a slip and fall at work or in a public setting, you may get a spinal cord injury. Certainly, spinal cord injuries from a bad car accident are unfortunately common.
It’s important to remember that spinal cord injuries do not only result in cases of paraplegia or quadriplegia. Any injury to the spinal cord qualifies. For example, having a book fall onto your head from a high bookshelf could cause spinal cord damage.
What You Can Do
If you suspect you have a spinal cord injury, do not move. Wait for medical professionals to be called to the scene. Others on the scene should not move you and should keep your head from moving, as movement may cause more damage.
Once you have begun proper medical care, you may need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney like Adam Capetillo of the Capetillo Law Firm, to get the necessary financial compensation for such as the cost of long term care, reimbursement of medical costs, and lost wages as a result of your spinal cord injuries.