Spinal Cord Injuries

Paraplegia refers to a specific level of paralysis. Individuals who are affected by paraplegia have no movement in their legs, and often limited or no movement in their torso. Paraplegia is caused by spinal cord injury, interrupting signals between the brain and other body parts.

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Every year, around 11,000 Americans will suffer a new spinal cord injury, adding to the already 250,000-400,000 Americans currently suffering from a spinal cord injury. The leading cause of a spinal cord injury is due to auto accidents. Depending on the location and severity of the spinal cord injury will determine how a spinal cord injury patient’s life may become affected. Since over half of all spinal cord injury patients will have suffered the accident between the ages of 16 and 30, spinal cord injury patients that seek treatment can learn new ways to live a fulfilling life despite an unfortunate accident.

A spinal cord injury can be a devastating event. Spinal cord injury lawyers exist to help families in a difficult time. Although the idea of recovering compensation following a spinal cord injury can be emotionally unappealing, spinal cord injury lawyers are experienced with the delicacy of the situation and will do everything possible to ensure the legal rights of the spinal cord injury victim are upheld. The costs associated to a spinal cord injury can be overwhelming and a spinal cord injury lawyer can help eliminate the financial struggle aspect of a spinal cord injury.

Paraplegia Injuries

Paraplegia not only paralyzes the lower extremities, but also interrupts sensory messages to the brain. With paraplegia, individuals cannot “feel” their affected body parts, and are generally insensitive to pain or heat. Paraplegia can jeopardize the victim’s health and safety because of this inability to differentiate pain. Paraplegia can also cause phantom pain and heat sensations because of damaged nerves. Like all paralyses, paraplegia significantly impacts the patient’s quality of life. In addition to mobility, paraplegia affects sexual drive and performance, digestive capabilities, bladder control, and numerous other aspects of life.

Paraplegia can be caused by accidents, injuries, or disease. Vertebrae protect the spinal cord; injuries causing paraplegia must be quite traumatic in nature to damage the bone-encased nerves. Traumatic causes of paraplegia include falls, car accidents, sports injuries, and construction or industrial accidents. Some forms of paraplegia are hereditary, while others are caused by disease or a tumor on the spine.

Paraplegia affects hundreds of thousands of Americans. If you or a loved one has paraplegia, you may be entitled to recover medical costs, lost wages, and other damages. Attorneys specializing in paraplegia cases may be able to help you learn more about your legal rights.

Quadriplegic Injuries

Quadriplegia is a condition in which victims have lost sensation and mobility in both their lower and upper body. Because it affects all four extremities, the condition can also be referred to as tetraplegia.

Quadriplegia is most often the result of a serious spinal cord injury due to an accident or act of violence. While car accidents are the leading cause of quadriplegia, paralysis resulting from violence, such as gunshots, is on the rise. Falls and sports-related injuries also lead to quadriplegia.

Each year, roughly 11,000 people are affected by spinal cord injury, with 47 percent leading to quadriplegia. Approximately 250,000 Americans are currently living with paralysis. More than 80 percent of spinal cord injury victims are male; the average age of quadriplegia victim is 32.

The spinal cord is referred to as the pathway between the brain and the body. When the spinal cord is damaged, the transmission of information between the brain and the body parts it controls is disrupted. The spinal cord is divided into five sections: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal regions. The level of injury determines the extent of paralysis, with loss of sensation and mobility usually occurring below the site of the injury. Therefore, quadriplegia occurs when there is damage to the upper portion of the spinal cord, or the cervical and thoracic regions.

Quadriplegia can be defined as both complete and incomplete. Complete refers to total loss of sensation and bodily function below the injury level; incomplete injuries refer to partial loss, and are more common than complete injuries. Although the spinal cord can be severely damaged, it is rarely fully severed.

The related effects of quadriplegia not only refer to loss of mobility in the arms and legs, but also to the loss of function in a number of bodily systems. Breathing, bowel and bladder control are often limited or completely lost in victims of quadriplegia, and pain, muscle spasms and sexual dysfunction also often occur. Complications of quadriplegia can also lead to secondary medical problems, such as bladder infections, lung infections and skin lesions.

Although quadriplegia is usually caused by accidents, it can also be the result of poliomyelitis, a viral infection, or metabolic diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig”s Disease), which affect the neurons in the entire spinal cord; hereditary conditions, such as cephalic disorders and spastic quadriplegia; or brain damage from cerebral palsy, stroke or head trauma.