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Complete versus incomplete spinal cord injuries

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Car Accidents |

Anyone involved in an auto accident that involved serious injuries is likely wondering about whether any spinal cord damage occurred.

There are two main kinds of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.  Each are very distinct and will affect injured parties differently.

Understanding complete spinal cord injuries

Complete spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is completely cut or damaged in a way that no information from the brain can travel beyond the point of injury. Someone with this level of spinal cord damage suffers what’s commonly referred to as paralysis and will have no sensation or motor function below the injury.

An individual will suffer from paraplegia if they no longer have movement in the lower abdomen area and both legs. A person will suffer from quadriplegia if they have no sensation or movement in both arms, the chest and anywhere below the waste.

Incomplete spinal cord injuries

An incomplete spinal cord injury is one that does not entirely sever the spinal cord. A person with an incomplete spinal cord injury may still have sensation and motor function, but likely limited.

How much function, however, depends on individual circumstances including the intensity of damage to the spinal cord.

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury

Many people who have been seriously injured in a car accident likely do not know the extent of their injuries at first. After being rushed to the hospital, undergoing surgery or intensive care, even a doctor won’t know right away how a person will recover.

However, there are signs that can point to spinal cord damage. Symptoms a victim may notice include but are not limited to:

  • Spasms
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Pain or unusual sensations, such as tingling or burning
  • Trouble breathing
  • Inability to feel heat or cold
  • Loss of movement
  • Extreme pain or pressure

Options for those seriously injured in auto accidents

For many who are unfortunate to suffer a spinal cord injury in an auto accident – whether complete or incomplete – life will undoubtedly change.

Although no one can change what happened, there are ways that can really help transition into a new life. Financially speaking, the cost of medical care, physical therapy, and surgical procedures – both in the long and short term – will be very high.

Fortunately, victims have the right to recover the monetary compensation they need to help with these costs.

Seeking help from an attorney with knowledge handling complex personal injury cases is advised, as an attorney can fight for maximum compensation. The ultimate goal is for victims to focus on recovery, not stress about medical expenses.