Spinal Cord Injuries
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury (the nerve bundle that goes from the base of the brain to the tailbone and is protected by the bony “vertebrae” of the spine), the extent of your injuries depends on at what level of the spinal cord you were injured. If you were injured in the “cervical” vertebrae—the 7 vertebrae at the top of the spinal cord—you will be paralyzed from the point of injury downward.
A person whose spinal cord is severed or compressed at the cervical level is known as a “quadriplegic.” If the break is at the third cervical vertebrae (C-3) or higher, the victim will usually require artificial means of breathing for the rest of his or her life. If the break is at the C-4 level or below, the person will be able to breathe on his or her own. If the break is at C-7 (the lowest of the cervical vertebrae), the injured victim is considered to be functionally independent, even though he or she cannot fully move his or her fingers.
Below the seven cervical vertebrae are the 12 “thoracic” vertebrae and five “lumbar” vertebrae. A spinal cord injury at a thoracic or lumbar vertebrae results in paralysis below the point of injury. A person who is paralyzed from the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae down is known as a paraplegic.
Spinal cord injury at any level of the spinal cord is a devastating injury having a major impact on the person’s physical abilities and enjoyment of life. The victim of a spinal cord injury must also face the increased risk of developing bed sores (decubitus ulcers) that can become infected and life threatening. Spinal cord injury victims—especially quadriplegics—are also at increased risk of developing pneumonia, which can be fatal.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the complexities of spinal cord injuries and their associated problems immediately so he or she can start working right away to obtain all the monetary compensation you are entitled to.