What Are Spinal Cord Injuries?

As of 2016, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that there are about 282,000 persons living with spinal cord injuries in America. This averages to approximately 17,000 new cases every year.

A spinal cord injury, also called an SCI, leads to consequences that can greatly impact a person’s way of life. Spinal cord injuries are among some of the most serious medical conditions, affecting the body’s central nervous system and possibly interrupting some bodily functions that work below the injury site. People living with an SCI have to deal with issues involving their motor, sensory, and automatic abilities, limiting them to a lifestyle that is drastically different from the one they’ve gotten used to before the accident that caused their condition.

According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injuries typically result from accidents that cause damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column, or even the spinal column itself. This damage is commonly due to a sudden and forceful blow to the back that dislocates fractures, or compresses on or more of the spinal column’s vertebrae. It could also be due to a penetrative wound that cuts through the spinal cord. Specific situations that could lead to such scenarios include car crashes, physical assault, slip and fall accidents, as well as accidents that occur during contact sports.

The most notable complication caused by spinal cord injuries is paralysis. A person paralyzed due to an SCI could fall into one of the two categories—either they are considered quadriplegic or paraplegic. Quadriplegia refers to paralysis that affects a patient’s hands, arms, trunk and pelvic organs, as well as their legs. Meanwhile, paraplegia refers to paralysis to a part or all of the trunk, pelvic organs, and legs.

Whatever the complication SCIs may cause a particular patient, it’s clear that having such an injury leads to life-altering consequences. The Tuscon personal injury attorneys of Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. note that any serious injury can have devastating effects on the lives of victims and their loved ones, but perhaps spinal cord injuries are particularly devastating due to the fact that it can cause severe impairment. As such, people with SCIs should remember that they have legal recourse to pursue action against those responsible for the accident that caused their long-term trauma.

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