Spinal cord injuries represent some of the most severe and life-altering traumas a person can experience. This injury occurs when the spinal cord—a critical bundle of nerves running down the middle of the back and transmitting signals between the brain and the body—is compressed, severed, or otherwise damaged.
There are multiple types of spinal cord damage, which can affect the injury’s severity and impact on the victim’s life. These variations range from partial impairment to total loss of mobility and sensation.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is partially severed, allowing the victim to retain some function below the injury level. The extent of function varies greatly, depending on the severity and location of the injury. People with incomplete injuries may experience varying degrees of sensation and movement, and in some cases, recovery is possible with proper rehabilitation and medical care.
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
A complete spinal cord injury refers to the total severance of the spinal cord, resulting in a complete loss of function and sensation. This type of damage often leads to permanent disability, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, depending on the injury’s location on the spinal cord. The impacts of complete spinal cord injuries are profound, affecting mobility, independence, and the ability to perform daily activities.
Levels of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is divided into sections, and injuries at different levels result in varying degrees of impairment. In addition to classifying the injury as complete or incomplete, medical professionals will also identify where the damage occurred. This information can help inform treatment options and recovery outlook.
The levels of spinal cord injuries are as follows:
Cervical Spinal Injuries: These injuries occur at the very top of the spine in the neck region and can result in quadriplegia or partial paralysis. Depending on the severity, they may affect breathing and require the use of ventilators.
Thoracic Spinal Injuries: Injuries to the thoracic region, located in the mid-back, primarily affect the chest and legs. Patients may experience paraplegia and require assistance with mobility.
Lumbar Spinal Injuries: These injuries affect the lower back. Victims may lose function in the hips and legs, often necessitating the use of wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
Sacral Spinal Injuries: Located at the bottom of the spine, sacral injuries typically impact the hips, buttocks, and pelvic organs. Mobility may be less affected, but there can be significant impacts on other body functions.
Your Legal Options After a Spinal Injury in Washington
The lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury can be overwhelming, encompassing medical treatment, rehabilitation, assistive devices, and potential loss of income. In Washington, if your spinal injury was due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you have the option to seek legal action. Filing a lawsuit or insurance claim against the responsible party can help cover these costs, but the process can be complex, and the stakes are high.
In these situations, a Washington spinal cord injury lawyer can provide the guidance and support that you deserve. An attorney will assess your case, help calculate the full extent of your damages, and fight for a fair settlement that addresses the impact of the injury on your life. After seeking medical care for your injury, contact a spinal cord injury lawyer who can advocate for your rights and help secure your future.