A spinal cord injury typically results from trauma either directly or indirectly to the skeletal structure, the nerves, muscles, or blood vessels surrounding the spine. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of spinal cord injuries, along with falls.
Spinal cord injuries can have life-changing impacts. This is especially true considering that young men aged 15 to 35 are the likeliest victims of spinal cord injury, possibly facing a lifetime of disability. Individuals who are the victims of this type of trauma can suffer a variety of repercussions, possibly including limited mobility and loss of bowel and bladder control. The location and degree of damage to the spinal cord affects the symptoms the individual will experience. Medical professionals categorize spinal cord injuries as "complete" or "incomplete."
A complete spinal cord injury is typically the result of a severe trauma. Most often there is complete paralysis below the location of the injury. This is the type of injury many people think of when they think of a spinal cord injury. The location of the injury typically dictates the degree of paralysis that will be experienced. For example, if the lumbar area of the spine is damaged, the injured person will experience no voluntary movement or sensation in areas of the body located below the lower back. With a complete spinal cord injury each side of the body is affected in the same way. The closer the injured area is to the skull the greater the impact on critical body functions, including breathing.
The other category of spinal cord injury is termed an "incomplete" injury. Incomplete spinal cord injuries can also result in paralysis, loss of sensation and mobility. However, with an incomplete injury both sides of the body may not be affected in the same way, and some feeling and control may remain below the injury. One side of the body may have greater symptoms then the other, or may have no symptoms.
Any injury to the spine is a medical emergency and should be examined and treated by a physician. The amount of time that lapses between the injury and medical care may affect the impact the injury has on the individual's life.
Motor vehicle accidents are often the result of negligence. People who fail to exercise a reasonable duty of care in the operation of a vehicle and thus cause injury to another can be held liable for their actions. Individuals injured by another's negligent conduct may be eligible to recover monetary damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. For more information, contact a personal injury attorney today.