While no injury is insignificant, there is no doubt that some injuries are much more serious than are others. One of the most severe types of injuries is a spinal injury, which can leave a victim with permanent partial or complete paralysis.
If an accident occurs that results in the spine being impacted with force, a spinal injury is possible. Consider the following information about spinal and spinal cord injuries, as well as what to do if you or a loved one is the victim of a spinal injury in Virginia.
Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae. Not only do the vertebrae allow for movement, but one of their primary functions is the protection of the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that runs the length of the spinal column, all the way from the cervical spine (base of the neck) to the lumbar spine (tailbone). The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and the rest of the body, which allows for movement and sensation.
The spine and its vertebrae are strong; protection of the spinal cord is critical. With enough force, however, the spine may be harmed. A common spine injury is a fractured vertebra, which can happen when too much pressure is placed on a vertebra. Another injury is a vertebral dislocation, which happens when vertebrae come out of alignment due to surrounding ligaments or discs becoming stretched or torn.
The most serious type of spine injury, however, is an injury to the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury usually starts with a vertebral fracture or dislocation, causing the vertebra to damage to the spinal cord. There are two types of spinal cord injuries:
- Complete – In a complete spinal cord injury, the cord is unable to send messages to the body below the site of injury. As such, a person will be completely paralyzed from the site of the injury downwards.
- Incomplete – In an incomplete injury, some messages are still able to get through, despite the damage to the spinal cord. As such, an injured individual will still retain some sensation and movement.
Causes of Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries
Fractures and dislocations of the vertebrae are a result of large amounts of force. Enough force to cause a spine or spinal cord injury is often present in a variety of accident types, including car accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accident, motorcycle accidents, sports-related accidents, and even slips and fall accidents.
Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries
When a person’s spine is hit with a large amount of force, it is important that the injured individual seek medical care immediately; in some cases, immediately care may mitigate more severe effects of the injury. Depending upon the extent of the injury, treatment might include surgery, the use of a brace, prescription medications, and physical therapy.
Tragically, there is currently no cure for a spinal cord injury. While science and medicine are constantly progressing, today, it is assumed that a person who experiences a spinal cord injury will suffer partial or complete paralysis for life.
Living with a Spinal Injury and Seeking Recovery
Life after a spinal cord injury will likely be very different, and an injury victim may require intensive and around-the-clock medical care, will probably incur large medical bills and costs to redesign the home to accommodate for disability, may be unable to return to work or seek work in the future, and could suffer a diminished quality of life.
While there is nothing that can truly compensate a victim who has suffered a spinal cord injury at the hands of another, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be one way to recover the compensation that you deserve. At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our Virginia personal injury lawyers will aggressively fight for your right to recover the full value of your economic and noneconomic losses. Please do not hesitate to stop by our Manassas office today, send us a message telling us more about your accident and injury, or call us directly at 703-361-1555 to request your consultation.