Car crashes and work-related incidents are two types of events that can lead to spinal cord injuries. The extent of damage determines what type of impact they have on your life. Ones that occur at a higher level and those that are complete are often more serious than lower or incomplete injuries.
Immediate evaluation is critical after an accident to determine the extent of the injuries and the proper care for them. This usually begins with the medical care team that comes to the scene of the accident to stabilize and transport the victim to the hospital. It continues with the emergency room staff and long-term care team.
Higher versus lower injuries
The areas of the body that a spinal cord injury impacts are always below the location of the injury. More impacts occur to the victim when the damaged part of the spinal cord is higher. For example, the lungs, digestive system and all four limbs may be impacted by a cervical spine, or neck, injury. A lumbar, or lower back, injury won’t impact the upper limbs or lungs, but it will affect the lower limbs.
Because of the impacts of the injury to the body, higher level injuries are often much more expensive to treat and becasue of the life care costs the person will incur. This includes the exorbitant initial costs of emergency care and stabilization.
Complete versus incomplete injuries
The amount of movement and sensation below the injury determines whether the injury is complete or incomplete. If there is any sensation or movement, the injury is incomplete. If there isn’t, it is complete. Typically, patients have a better chance of recovering from an incomplete injury than a complete one.
It is sometimes difficult to determine right away what type of injury you are facing. Spinal shock, which occurs during the first few days after the accident, can make the injury seem worse than it is. As the swelling and inflammation associated with the injury subside, the effects of it might lessen.
Victims of spinal cord injuries that were caused by the negligence of another party might choose to seek compensation for the damages they are facing. This can include the cost of medical care, but it goes far beyond that. The spinal cord injury could mean that the person can’t work any longer. Your claim can also include damages for lost wages to help address this. Just remember that there are time limits that apply for legal action, so don’t let time pass you by.