What Happens if the Spinal Cord Is Damaged? 

What happens if the spinal cord is damaged

Spinal cord injuries are caused by direct, forceful impact to the back that is so strong that it damages the spinal cord itself. The victim can also suffer a personal injury to the tissue or bones around the spinal cord. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are:

  • Car accidents
  • Slips, trips or falls
  • Acts of violence, like gunshot wounds
  • Sports injuries

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident that caused paralysis, then you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, loss of independence, lost wages, and even your lost enjoyment of life. 

Because these types of cases usually have higher settlements, insurance companies fight them hard, say the Santa Barbara-based personal injury attorneys at Maho Prentice, LLP. They suggest talking to an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can advise you of your rights.

Anatomy of the Spine

The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, or small bones stacked on top of each other. Housed within those vertebrae is the spinal cord, a long bundle of nerves that communicates messages from the brain to the rest of your body. The four parts of the spine are the cervical spine (top), thoracic spine (behind your chest), lumbar spine (lower back) and sacral spine, which is fused with the coccyx. Only 24 of your bones are moveable. They are surrounded by muscles, ligaments and tendons.


A spinal cord injury can cause permanent or temporary paralysis, and can affect different parts of the body. Paraplegia is a condition caused by injury to the lower spine that results in the inability to voluntarily control the legs and pelvis. Quadriplegia and tetraplegia are the same condition, and both words are used interchangeably to describe the inability to voluntarily move parts of the body from the neck or shoulders down.

Incomplete and Complete Spinal Cord Injury

If the connection from the brain to the spinal cord to the rest of the body is not permanently damaged, then it is an incomplete injury. Signs of incomplete spinal cord injury include having some sensation or the ability to make even the smallest movement voluntarily. A person with incomplete spinal cord injury could possibly recover some motor and sensory function with dedicated medical attention. Complete spinal cord injury is when there is permanent damage that prevents communication from the brain throughout the rest of the body.

Personal Injury Attorney

In order to win your case and get the compensation you deserve, you will need to prove negligence on the part of the at-fault party. They can be any number of people, including the manufacturer or designer of a product that caused the injury, or a driver who caused a car accident. Hiring specialized personal injury attorneys is crucial in navigating through the complexities of such cases.

A spinal cord injury is considered a catastrophic injury, so there is more at stake. Spinal cord injury claims are contentious cases that involve compensating the victim for their expensive medical treatment, and interpreting complicated medical records. The defense attorneys for the insurance company will argue that you are responsible for the accident, too. Your attorney’s job is to stand up for you and work hard to prove their liability. Personal injury attorneys have experience in gathering evidence and developing legal strategies. You don’t have to face your case alone; call a reputable personal injury attorney today.

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