If you spend a lot of time driving on the busy roads of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, you might have concerns about your safety and how you would manage if you suffered a life-changing injury in a car accident. It is a valid concern because accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, often with devastating consequences. Along with the trauma of a crash and the injuries you suffered will come the financial impact.
Authorities say, along with sports accidents, knife wounds, gunshots and falls, car accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, damage to your spinal cord could cause permanent disability.
Cervical and thoracic spine
The spinal cord serves as the messenger between the brain and the rest of your body, and it consists of different tissue and nerves. The spinal column encases the spinal cord through two sections — the cervical and thoracic spine. The cervical spine contains the spinal cord as it runs from the brain through the neck. The thoracic spine is between the neck and mid back. This is where the spinal cord ends, forming nerve roots to carry impulses as it branches out into the legs.
Types of spinal cord injuries
The location of your spinal cord injury will determine the severity. SCI can disrupt sensation, movement, and the functioning of organs below the point of damage, with injuries classified as follows:
- Complete: This injury will leave you with no movement or sensation below the level of your injury, and it will affect both sides of the body equally.
- Incomplete: You could retain some level of function below the point of damage, such as more sensation on one side or more movement in one limb than the other, and your body might function better on one side.
Types of paralysis
Depending on the location and severity of your spinal cord injury, it could leave you with paralysis or muscle weakness in your trunk, legs and arms. The severity of paralysis is classified as follows
- Paraplegia: Para means two, and paraplegia causes loss of movement in two limbs — such as both legs. This typically follows damage to the thoracic spine.
- Quadriplegia: Quad means four, and an injury to the cervical spine in the neck area can cause the loss function, both sensation and movement, in all four your limbs — both legs and both arms.
- Triplegia: Tri means three, and incomplete spinal cord injuries typically cause sensation and movement loss in both legs and one arm.
- Quadriparesis and paraparesis: These indicate partial loss of sensation and function in four or two limbs.
The impact a spinal cord injury can have on your life and your family is indescribable — both emotionally and financially.
Your legal rights
If the negligence of another party caused your spinal cord injury, you might have grounds to pursue a claim for financial relief through the Minnesota civil justice system. However, dealing with the complicated legal proceedings can be a daunting prospect. For this reason, others in similar circumstances utilize the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney to advocate for them in pursuit of economic and noneconomic damage recovery.