Types of Spinal Injury

By Peter DePaolis

tech looking at spinal cord x-rayThe spinal cord is a collection of nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body. It is protected by bones called vertebrae that make up the spine. Spinal cord injuries occur when damage to the vertebrae is significant enough to cause damage to the nerves on the inside too. The severity of your symptoms will largely depend on the location of your injury along the spinal column. No matter what section of the spinal column sustained the damage, it can be categorized as either a complete or an incomplete spinal cord injury.

If you were in an accident that resulted in any kind of damage to your spine, our Maryland spinal cord injury lawyers can work with you to get the compensation you are owed. Our firm has a record of success with cases concerning all types of spinal cord injuries, including several verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

A complete spinal cord injury is characterized by a total loss of feeling and function below the site of the injury. This does not necessarily mean that there are no intact nerves remaining where the injury is, only that the nerves were damaged to such an extent that they no longer function properly. Following a serious injury, the spinal cord goes into shock. Significant swelling and an abundance of fluid in the area make it difficult for medical imaging equipment to effectively show doctors the full extent of the injury. It is frequently necessary to wait as long as six to eight weeks after the injury before it can be fully diagnosed and treated.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

When doctors diagnose an incomplete spinal cord injury, it means that some feeling and ability of movement remains below the level of the injury. The spinal cord has not been damaged to the point that it is no longer able to communicate with the brain. These types of spinal cord injuries are far more common and can be broken down into five sub-categories:

  • Anterior Cord Syndrome involves damage to the front part of the spinal cord. This causes diminished sensation below the point of injury.
  • Central Cord Syndrome involves damage to the center of the spinal cord. This causes loss of arm function, while leg movement is limited.
  • Posterior Cord Syndrome involves damage to the back of the spinal cord. Muscle power and sensation remain, while coordination is diminished.
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome involves damage to one side of the spinal cord. This causes diminished movement without loss of sensation on one side of the body and diminished sensation without loss of movement on the opposite side.
  • Cauda Equina Lesion involves damage to nerves between the first and second lumbar region, causing loss of sensation that may be partial or complete. These nerves have regrown, in some cases, allowing recovery of function.

Helping Victims of Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries, whether they are complete or incomplete, often involve extensive rehabilitation and a long period of recovery, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, if you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer at our Personal Injury Law Firm Today!

The personal injury attorneys at our law firm offer free initial consultations to review your case and answer any questions you have about the next steps in the process. Contact our spinal cord injury law firm online or call one of our offices today to set up a free case review in Maryland.

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.