Houston Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
The sudden, traumatic blow to the spine typically is the onset of a spinal cord injury. When the vertebrae fractures or dislocates and bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments tear into the soft spinal tissue damage begins. The spinal cord is not always severed, but when it is paralysis is immediate and permanent.
Over 11,000 cases of traumatic spine injury occur every year. The leading cause is auto accidents, falls, workplace injuries, and violent acts are other major contributors to paralyzing spinal cord injury.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
- Quadriplegia (Tetraplegia) – Caused by a severe injury to the spinal cord in the neck region and results in the loss of use in the lower body including the arms and legs.
- Paraplegia – Caused by an injury to the spinal cord below the neck and results in the loss of sensation and bodily movement in the legs.
Besides the loss of sensation and movement in the extremities, spinal cord victims may also lose the control of body functions such as the bladder, bowels, breathing, and in men, sexual function. Involuntary functions such as the ability to regulate blood pressure and body temperature are often affected.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries can be classified differently, depending on the severity of the damage caused to the person. They can be classified as either of the two:
Classifying Spinal Cord Injuries
- Complete – All sensory and motor functions are lost below the site of the spinal cord injury. Victim is unable to feel or control movement from the site of the injury down.
- Incomplete – Only some of the sensory and motor functions below the injury are lost. These types of spinal cord injuries are classified by medical professionals in varying degree.
Medical professionals will use a variety of diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the damage in a spinal cord injury. Generally, we classify spinal cord injuries using the Frankel Scale, which assigns a grade of impairment based on feeling and muscle grade:
- A signifies a complete injury, in which there is no feeling or motor function in sacral vertebrae 4 and 5.
- B is an incomplete injury, in which there is little to no motor function but a patient preserves sensation.
- C is incomplete, in which there is some motor function, but there is a decrease in muscle grade.
- D is incomplete, in which there is mostly preserved motor function but possible accompanying muscle weakness.
These are medical classifications, but when we hear people talk about their spinal cord injuries, they usually talk about their vertebrae: “I don’t experience any sensation below L4.”
Each spinal cord injury is unique, but in general, the higher the injury is, the more paralysis is present.
Damage to the spinal nerves in the neck (cervical) can lead to quadriplegia or tetraplegia, which is a loss of sensation and/or movement in the arms, legs, and chest. Damage to the lower spinal nerves can lead to paraplegia, or loss of sensation or movement in the lower body and legs. Injuries very high in the spinal cord can affect breathing, but this is rare. Bowel and bladder control may be affected, no matter where the spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries Outcomes
There is currently no cure for spinal cord injuries. The goal of rehabilitation focuses on limiting further damage to the damaged tissue and teaching people with these injuries on how to return to a productive and meaningful life.
Rehabilitation specialists are able to teach patients how to regain lost muscle strength and to manage their day-to-day activities. Physical therapy session can be long term and expensive as can be the on-going medical services required to maintain an injured person’s health.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Common Questions
People who experience spinal cord injuries have many questions: “How much will I recover?” “What can I expect from the process?” “What should I tell friends and family?” Your answers to questions from family and friends should be honest and to the point: You don’t know how much you will recover or how long it will take. It often takes doctors a long time to assess the extent of a spinal cord injury, because of swelling around the spinal cord in response to the damage.
Your recovery also depends on your commitment to rehabilitation, which is an important aspect of the healing process. Your doctor will likely prescribe both physical and occupational therapy to get you back on your feet.
- Physical therapy will focus on strengthening your remaining working muscles, including maneuvering in a wheelchair or walking with crutches.
- Occupational therapy focuses on maintaining your quality of life after discharge from the hospital: You may need to learn how to accomplish tasks in a new way with the help of assistive equipment and technology.
Spinal cord injuries are variable: Some limit the quality of life only somewhat, while others carry lifelong consequences. It’s essential to keep up with all rehabilitation appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC
If you’ve been involved in an accident and suffered an injury to your spinal cord or back, contact the Houston spinal cord injury lawyers at Brian White & Associates to see how we can help you with your claim.
Because these injuries are permanent and life-changing, the financial compensation has to last your entire lifetime. This makes these cases expensive and time-consuming to bring to a successful conclusion. Brian White has the resources and determination to work aggressively for you to get you the maximum compensation allowed by the law. We don’t settle for less than what you deserve.
Call for a free consultation today. Our personal injury attorneys will listen to your story and layout for you and your family all of your options.