A spinal cord injury is generally considered to be a catastrophic injury and results in a loss of function, such as mobility and feeling. This injury can be the result of trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident, gunshot wound, or fall, or it can be caused by diseases, such as polio or spina bifida. Spinal cord injuries are vastly different from back injuries. If an accident resulted in a broken back and only the bones around the vertebrae were affected, the injured person might not experience paralysis once his or her bones are stabilized.
The Difference Between an Incomplete and a complete Spinal Cord Injury
There are two types of spinal cord injuries – complete and incomplete. They are defined in the following ways:
- Complete spinal cord injury: When a spinal cord injury is complete, this means there is no feeling or voluntary movement below the level of the injury.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury: When a spinal cord injury is incomplete, this means there is minimal function below the primary level of the injury and that the injured person might be able to move one limb more than another and feel parts certain parts that cannot be moved.
In addition to the loss of sensation and inability to move, spinal cord injuries can also result in other changes, including dysfunction of the bowel and bladder and difficulty breathing without assistive breathing aids.
Can You Ever Get Better?
Spinal cord injuries result in swelling of the spinal cord, which can result in changes in nearly every system of the body. However, this initial swelling will go down after days or weeks, allowing the injured person to regain some function. For those who suffer from incomplete spinal cord injuries, it might be possible to regain some function 18 months after the surgery. That said, most individuals are unable to recover all function after sustaining a spinal cord injury, even if the damage was incomplete.
The Life Expectancy of Someone with a Spinal Cord Injury
For individuals living with a spinal cord injury, life expectancy can vary and largely depends on the level of the injury. It is estimated that about 85% of those who have a spinal cord injury and are able to survive the first 24 hours are still alive 10 years later. When a spinal cord injury patient dies due to complications, the most common cause is usually due to diseases of the respiratory system, especially pneumonia.
Experienced Catastrophic Injury Attorneys in Atlanta
Spinal cord injuries are life-altering and can potentially shorten the lifespan of a person. If you sustained this catastrophic injury as a result of someone else’s negligent or careless actions, you have a right to pursue fair and just compensation. At Pratt Clay, LLC, our Atlanta catastrophic injury attorneys are dedicated to providing compassionate and aggressive legal representation for those who have been wrongfully injured.