Types of Paralysis From Accidental Spinal Cord Injuries

Your spinal cord runs the entire length of your torso and into your neck, so there is a large area that could be subjected to injuries in an accident. Any jolt to your body might cause harm ranging from herniated discs and whiplash to broken vertebrae. However, when the spinal cord takes an extremely violent blow, paralysis is likely. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Database, there are almost 17,900 new cases of spinal cord injuries every year. Less than 1% of these individuals will fully recover, while the remaining victims sustain varying levels of paralysis to the upper and lower body.

The location on the spine and severity of the trauma dictate whether the injuries will cause paralysis, and how the consequences will affect the victim. Many will lose independence and be forced to rely on others for care, and quality of life losses are significant. An Alaska catastrophic injury lawyer can explain your legal remedies for recouping losses, and an overview of spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis is helpful.

Categories of Spinal Cord Injuries

The main classification for this type of bodily harm is breaking the trauma down into complete or incomplete injuries. A complete spinal cord injury destroys tissue to the point where there is no feeling or function below the affected area. With an incomplete injury, a victim may have limited movement, sensation, and control. Complete or incomplete injuries may be caused by:

  • Anterior cord syndrome, which impacts the front of the spinal cord and results in loss of sensation below the point of injury;
  • Posterior cord syndrome affects the back side of the spine, usually leading to coordination and motor skills issues;
  • When the middle or center of the spinal cord sustains damage, there may be a lack of control over arms and legs; and,
  • Brown-Séuard syndrome is a condition where trauma harms one side of the spinal cord, causing issues for that side of the body.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis

The medical complications for a victim are a product of completeness and type of the injury, but age and overall health are also important factors. It may be possible to regain function through surgery, physical therapy, and other treatment. However, severe implications include:

  • Quadriplegia- the most devastating type of paralysis, in which the individual has no control over their arms and legs. There may also be implications for bodily functions, requiring a ventilator for breathing and a tube for nutrition. The victim will likely be confined to a hospital bed.
  • Paraplegia- typically results from spinal cord injuries to the lower back. The trauma impacts the legs and lower body, but a victim may have full use of the upper body, arms, and hands.

Talk to an Alaska Catastrophic Injury Attorney About Your Legal Options

For more information about recovering compensation for spinal cord injuries, please contact Power & Power Law in Anchorage, Alaska. You can call 907-222-9990 or visit our website to set up a no-cost consultation. Our team serves injured victims in all types of accident claims, and we look forward to working with you.