Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

By Peter DePaolis

Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys Helping Victims in Washington, D.C.


skeleton view of spinal cordSpinal cord injuries can be painful and hard to recover from. If you have suffered from a spinal cord injury, it is important to understand what caused your injury so that you can seek money from the person responsible for your injury. It is also important to understand the safety measures to take so that you avoid spinal cord injury.


The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. Together, these two body parts control most of the body’s functions. The spinal cord runs from the base of your brain to your waist. It is made up of many long nerve fibers that carry messages to the brain. These nerve fibers run into nerve roots that are located between the vertebrae of your backbone. From these nerve roots, other nerves send messages to the rest of the body. Whenever the nerve fibers in the spinal cord are damaged, the brain is unable to send the right messages to other parts of the body. This is what causes paralysis and other difficulties in moving around.

Spinal cord damage can be caused by one of the following injuries:

  • Concussion of the spinal cord
  • Spinal contusion
  • Spinal compression
  • Tearing of the spinal cord

Concussion of the Spinal Cord

A concussion of the spinal cord occurs when a sudden jolt injures the tissue surrounding the spinal cord. Concussions are generally the least harmful of the different types of spinal cord injuries. A concussion of the spinal cord usually lasts a few hours.

Spinal Contusion
A spinal contusion is a bruise on the spinal cord that causes bleeding inside the spinal column. This bruise can put pressure of the spinal cord, making it difficult to function properly.
Spinal Compression

Spinal compression occurs when a tumor or other object puts pressure on the spinal cord, making it difficult to move properly.
Tearing of the Spinal Cord

If the spinal cord is torn due to a sports injury, car accident, or other injury, the neurons inside the spinal cord are damaged. The worst damage is when the spinal cord is completely cut.


The most common causes of spinal cord injury in the United States are car accidents, falls, acts of violence, sports-related accidents and diseases.

Car accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. About fifty percent of all spinal cord injuries are the result of a car accident.


About twenty percent of spinal cord injuries are the result of a fall. Falls are also the leading cause of spinal cord injury to individuals older than age 65.

Acts of Violence

Violent acts, such as gunshot and knife wounds, cause about fifteen percent of spinal cord injuries.
Sports-Related Accidents

About ten percent of spinal cord injuries result from recreational and sports-related accidents. Such accidents include high impact sports and diving in shallow water.
Diseases and Other Causes

Most other spinal cord injuries are caused by diseases such as cancer, cysts on the spinal cord, infections, inflammation of the spinal cord, multiple sclerosis, cervical spondylosis and arthritis. Some spinal cord injuries are also related to drug and alcohol abuse.

Contact a DC Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today!

If you have injured your spinal cord in a car accident, an act of violence or any other even that was someone else’s fault, you should contact a Washington, D.C., Virginia or Maryland injury lawyer to help you. The spinal cord treatments following such a horrible accident can be expensive and you may also be suffering from lost wages and painful recovery. If you would like to bring an action against the person responsible for your injuries, contact an injury lawyer at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P., today to help you during this painful time.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.