A spinal cord injury from a car accident can be complete or incomplete and can cause paralysis and changes in sensation and body functions. The law does not force you to work with a lawyer on your claim, but if you sustained a spinal cord injury, working with a California car accident attorney can be a wise choice. Having a lawyer handle your claim can give you the freedom to focus on getting better and rebuilding your life.
The spinal cord is a complex bundle of nerves that runs from the brain through the bones of the neck and back and then to the arms, legs, internal organs, and other body parts. Without instructions from the brain that the nerves deliver throughout the body, your muscles cannot work, you might not feel touch or pain, and your internal organs cannot function on their own.
For example, if a person has a complete spinal cord injury in the neck, everything below that point will get affected. He will not be able to walk, move his arms, or even breathe without medical intervention.
Quadriplegia and Paraplegia
A spinal cord injury in the lower back can cause paralysis of the legs, pelvic organs, and truck of the body. A spinal cord injury cannot damage the areas that get innervated from nerves that exit the spinal column above the point of the injury. A lower back injury cannot interfere with the function of the arms. Paraplegia is when there is partial or complete paralysis from a spinal cord injury in the lower back.
Quadriplegia, also called tetraplegia, can happen when there is a spinal cord injury in the neck or upper back. Damage at this level can partially or fully paralyze the arms and hands, chest, and everything below the waist.
Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
It is possible to have some function or sensation after a spinal cord injury. For example, some people have paralysis only on one side of the body. Another possibility is having complete paralysis of the legs with some ability to move the arms. Complete spinal cord injury refers to having no sensation or ability to move parts of the body below the point of damage. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, the person retains some function or feeling or both.
Think of the spinal cord as a stream of water coming out of a garden hose. If someone steps on the hose and blocks the flow of water entirely, no water will get beyond that point. This example is a complete spinal cord injury.
On the other hand, if you place your thumb partially over the end of the hose where the water comes out, some water can still come through, although the flow gets reduced. This example is more like an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Getting Legal Help with Your Car Accident Spinal Cord Injury Claim
After a spinal cord injury, a person’s life is seldom the same. These injuries can impact a person’s ability to support himself through gainful employment, have independence, and participate in activities that used to bring him joy. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our California car accident attorneys can help you go after the money damages that you deserve.