Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

February 17, 2016 — by Mark T. Flickinger, JD
Tags: Spinal Cord Injury Catastrophic Injury

An digital model of a spinal cordAt Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton, we take great pride in helping the injured through every phase of the legal process. By working with a skilled injury attorney at our Provo law firm, clients will find the counsel they need to ensure positive outcomes in the litigation process.

Legal assistance is especially important when it comes to major accidents, such as spinal cord injuries. We'd like to look at these kinds of injuries in basic terms and discuss legal options for victims and their loved ones.

Why Spinal Cord Injuries Need to Be Taken Seriously

Any kind of injury to the back or spinal cord can have serious repercussions. Even if a spinal cord injury does not result in permanent paralysis, the damage done can cause issues with flexibility, mobility, and overall wellness for years to come. Back injuries can lead to a greater likelihood of future injury or mobility issues later in life.

Spinal cord injuries may occur as a result of traffic collisions, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, sports injuries, physical assault and altercations, and major falls. Repetitive motions at a job can contribute to spinal cord injuries as well, which is important to keep in mind.

Common Spinal Cord Injuries

Some common spinal cord injuries that people experience but are not catastrophic in nature include:

  • Herniated Disc – Also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, this injury occurs when the spongy discs between the vertebrae are injured and bulge outward, resulting in serious pain.

  • Pinched Nerve – Sometimes a nerve can become pinched by the vertebrae and other structures of the spinal cord, resulting in serious pain and potential problems with feeling and strength in the extremities.

  • Spinal Fractures – This refers to fracture or dislocations of vertebrae, leading to pinched nerves or potential damage to the spinal cord itself.

Catastrophic Injury - Paraplegia

Paraplegia is a severe spinal cord injury that results in the loss of movement and sensation of the lower extremities. This typically involves serious spinal cord damage in the mid to lower portions of the spine. When paraplegia occurs, a person is wheelchair bound for the rest of his or her life, resulting in serious changes to daily life from career prospects to basic tasks around the home.

Catastrophic Injury - Quadriplegia

Also known as tetraplegia, quadriplegia is a severe injury to the upper portions of the spinal cord, particularly the neck area. This form of catastrophic spinal cord injury results in total paralysis, meaning the loss of use and sensation in all extremities. In some cases, a quadriplegic will require a ventilator just in order to breathe. As with paraplegia, quadriplegia will lead to significant changes to a person's life. He or she will be wheelchair bound and will require constant medical attention and assistance for the rest of his or her life.

Your Legal Rights Following a Spinal Cord Injury

Following a spinal cord injury, you can fight to receive both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to cover medical expenses, physical rehabilitation, lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, and other losses directly related to the spinal cord injury. Punitive damages will punish the negligent party for causing the injury.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You

Both compensatory damages and punitive damages can help you on the road ahead, particularly if you have suffered a catastrophic injury that results in partial or total paralysis. The legal system is complicated, so our attorneys will strive to provide you with peace of mind.

Contact Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton

For more information about your legal rights following a serious spinal cord injury, be sure to contact our team of personal injury lawyers today. The attorneys of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton will help you every step of the way.