What Happens if Your Spinal Cord Is Damaged?
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What happens if your spinal cord is damaged depends on the type of trauma you sustained. That said, it is never to be taken lightly. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), if your spine is injured in an accident, your spinal cord injury can fall into one of two categories: incomplete and complete.
- Incomplete damage to your spinal cord generally means your brain and body retain a limited ability to communicate. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, you will be unable to move or control your body below the point of trauma.
- Complete damage to your spinal cord typically means your brain and body can no longer send and receive signals to each other. The result of a complete spinal cord injury can be paralysis.
A spinal cord injury may also lead to persistent pain, bladder and bowel disorders, and adverse heart health. These conditions can persist as long as the injury lasts.
Implications of Spinal Cord Injuries
When you or a member of your family suffers a spinal cord injury, you want to know what caused the trauma, if it could have been prevented, and what long-term consequences can be expected. Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a number of life-threatening circumstances.
The Mayo Clinic reports that some of the causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Physical assaults
- Sports injuries
The immediate and ongoing medical treatment required for victims of spinal cord injuries can add up quickly and continue throughout their lifetime. Information from the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine notes that people with complete damage incur over $28,300 in care costs per year, while those with incomplete damage incurred over $16,700 annually. This is the cost of follow-up care alone; this does not account for the initial treatment costs at the time the trauma happened.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatments
Treatments for spinal cord injuries can vary according to the severity of the injury and your prognosis. Emergency medical treatment in the immediate aftermath of a spinal cord injury will include temporary neck immobilization and shock prevention.
According to the Mayo Clinic, long-range spinal cord treatment plans can include:
- Respiratory support
- Prescription and intravenous medications
- Surgical intervention
You or your injured loved one might also require assistive medical and assistive living devices such as wheelchairs, specialized tubs and commodes, and electronic adaptive devices.
Lifestyle Changes Following a Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord injury you sustained can permanently alter the functionality of your body. In some cases, you might be unable to care for your physical needs, maintain employment to support yourself, or experience the same active lifestyle you enjoyed prior to the accident.
Physical and emotional changes after a spinal cord injury include:
- Loss of bladder control
- Loss of bowel control
- Loss of sensation
- Chronic bedsores
- Fluctuating blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of muscle tone
- Loss of sexual function
- Muscle and nerve pain
- Depression and anxiety
The changes to your lifestyle following a spinal cord injury will incur their own costs, such as long-term rehabilitation, household help, and in-home medical care.
Recoverable Expenses of Spinal Cord Damage
If the spinal cord damage you or a loved one endured was caused by another party’s negligence, the expenses related to the damage could be their responsibility.
The financial expenses and losses you might be able to recover in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Assistive devices
- Home help
Your lawyer can also help you collect compensation for the “pain and suffering” and inconvenience of a long-term spinal cord injury. Spinal cord damage can lead to lifestyle changes while you cope and adapt to your current condition.
You may be entitled to financial recovery for your complete or incomplete spinal cord damage. Your lawyer can also help you identify the right party to pursue, assign liability, build a case for compensation, and meet the filing deadline as needed.
Explore Financial Recovery After a Spinal Cord Injury
When a car accident, trip, slip, and fall, or other accident leads to a spinal cord injury, your life and finances can both be permanently impacted. What happens if your spinal cord is damaged in an accident can vary, but you could be entitled to financial compensation that can help you afford ongoing medical care.
Many of your injury-related expenses could be recovered through a personal injury lawsuit. Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 to discuss your spinal cord injury and how you can recover the cost of your current and ongoing medical care.