A spinal cord injury (SCI) is defined as any damage to the spinal cord that results in loss of function or mobility. Approximately 270,000 people in the United States are living with a SCI, and 12,000 new incidents of SCI occur each year according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke . Such injuries can be caused by trauma or disease, resulting in temporary or permanent loss of sensation, loss of movement (paralysis), or loss of bowel or bladder control.
Auto accidents are the primary cause of SCIs. Falls and sports accidents also cause a significant amount of SCIs each year. Though many of the activities associated with SCI are voluntary, a spinal cord injury lawyer will help you learn if another’s negligence entitles you to monetary damages.
There are two types of SCI: complete and incomplete.
a) Complete SCI is one in which the victim has no sensation or voluntary motor movement on either side of the body below the level of the injury.
b) If the victim has some feeling or partial movement, it is called an incomplete SCI.
Spinal cord injuries are usually identified by the vertebra to which the affected nerve is most closely located, coded by region of the spine and by number. An injury to the spine in the neck area will affect a person’s cervical vertebrae.
For instance, an injury to the nerves at the fifth cervical vertebra is called a C-5 injury. Below the neck are the thoracic vertebrae, so those injuries are defined as T-1, T-2, etc. Then there are lumbar (L-injury) and sacral vertebrae (S-injury).
Symptoms and Challenges of SCI
Neck injuries can lead to paralysis of all limbs (quadriplegia), while thoracic injuries can cause paralysis to the lower limbs only (paraplegia). Both areas have variations in the amount of dysfunction, depending on the severity of the injury. An incomplete cervical injury can leave the patient with some hand use, while a complete injury at C-4 can require the patient to be on a ventilator. Thoracic injuries can leave the arms functional but interfere with walking, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function. Other functions that can be affected are blood pressure, body temperature, and pain levels.
A spinal cord injury usually involves swelling of the spinal cord, which consequently affects the whole body. When the swelling decreases, the patient may regain function months or years after the injury, but regaining complete functioning is rare. Treatment presently consists of stabilizing any broken vertebrae, maintaining the patient, preventing movement to the injured area, and reducing swelling. Although stem cell research has shown some promising signs for the future, there is still no cure for SCI.
Filing a Spinal Cord Injury Claim
If you or a loved one has been victim to a spinal cord injury, contact a spinal cord injury lawyer at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP at 1-800-624-8888 or submit an InjuryLawyer.com free online case evaluation. The initial consultation is FREE. If we agree to handle your case, we are compensated for our services only if you receive compensation for your injuries.
Lawsuits, often, must be filed before an expiration date known as the Statute of Limitations. Therefore, please call or contact us right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.