How Does a Spinal Cord Injury Lead to Paralysis?

Every person’s spinal cord begins at the base of your brain stem and moves down to the bottom of your spine. Your spinal cord consists of sensitive nerves that are protected by layers of tissue as well as individual bones called vertebrae. Though a lot is at work in your spinal cord to protect your nerve endings, certain accidents can be forceful enough to shatter your vertebrae and cause lasting damage.

Accidents that often result in spinal cord injuries include:

Spinal cord injuries are classified as complete or incomplete depending on whether you’ve completely lost your sensory or motor functions. In a complete spine injury, the victim has lost all feeling and sensations, as well as the ability to move certain parts of their body. Incomplete injury victims may still have some ability to move or feel in the affected area.

When a person suffers a spinal cord injury, it typically leads to paralysis, which occurs when you can no longer move certain parts of your body below the affected area on the spinal cord. Tetraplegia and quadriplegia are the same thing and refer to all your limbs being paralyzed, including your arms, hands, legs, and pelvic organs. Paraplegia is paralysis that affects the lower half of your body, including your legs, trunk, and pelvic organs.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury

Some people are instantly paralyzed in accidents and know when they’ve suffered a spinal injury, such as if they’re pinned beneath a vehicle after a rollover accident. Others initially feel unharmed after their accidents, only to wake up the next day with extreme back pain or a tingling sensation in some parts of their body.

Below are some emergency signs of a spinal cord injury that everyone should be aware of. If you or a loved one has experienced any of the following symptoms following an accident where you fell or were hit on your back, you should seek medical attention:

  • Impaired breathing
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Extreme pain or pressure in neck, head, or back
  • Numbness in hands, fingers, feet, or toes
  • Tingling or loss of sensation in parts of your body
  • Difficulty with walking or balance
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Chronic pain and emotional distress

Even after you’ve been treated, you should be prepared for additional complications related to paralysis, including bladder issues, pressure sores, and blood pressure problems. If you’ve been paralyzed, you’ll likely have to schedule a number of doctor visits long after you’ve been released from the hospital.

man with crutches after an injury

What Should I Do If I Suspect I Injured My Spinal Cord in an Accident?

If you or someone you love has been paralyzed in an accident, it’s incredibly important to follow certain steps in the aftermath of the crash or fall to ensure that the injury doesn’t become worse. If you can no longer feel parts of your body, it’s crucial that no one moves you, as permanent paralysis can set in. Get medical treatment as soon as possible.

Instead, follow these steps:

  • Have someone call 911
  • Make sure you or the affected person keep still
  • Ensure heavy towels or items are placed on both sides of the neck to prevent movement
  • Provide first aid if necessary to stop any bleeding


Is A Spinal Injury Lawyer Necessary After an Accident?

Retaining an experienced lawyer for the injured person is beneficial with the legal process, especially after severe injuries like spinal cords to maximize the compensation that you can receive from insurance companies. These types of injuries can lead to immense medical costs, and it’s often important financially for those affected to seek financial aid in order to cover their suffering. Insurance companies are incentivized to settle every claim for as little as possible, leaving those injured with less money than they deserve in terms of reimbursement. Hiring an experienced legal professional with medical cases proves invaluable in many ways, helping victims ensure they get what they rightfully deserve.

Having competent representation through a lawyer also helps if negotiations break down as it allows one access to the process of filing a lawsuit. This method will give them an opportunity to prove their losses through evidence and have their case heard in court if need be. A good lawyer will be able to handle all these steps with expertise, pursuing your claim relentlessly until rightful payment is received or an agreeable settlement is achieved. Without proper legal assistance, the chances are attorneys representing insurance companies will not offer compensation that fully reflects the severity and impact of your spinal cord injury and its associated costs.

We Help Our Clients Recover Expenses After Back and Spinal Injuries

Once you’ve been treated, don’t hesitate to call our firm to start your spinal cord injury case, especially if you suspect the person who caused your accident was being negligent, such as drunk driving. Paralysis involves a variety of costs, from hospital bills and physical therapy expenses to costs of medical equipment like wheelchairs, lifts, and furniture that is closer to the ground.

Countless paralyzed individuals also find themselves out of work when they can no longer perform the manual aspects of their jobs. Our back injury lawyers know how to get the maximum amount of fair compensation to help with medical bills that are available to you under the law.

Spinal injury attorneys specialize in helping victims of catastrophic injuries get justice and financial compensation for their losses. We know the legal process to file personal injury claims on your behalf to go after insurance companies for fair compensation for the traumatic injury. Our legal team will work with our medical professional experts to assess the severity of your injury and determine what legal options may be available to you.

Recovery is possible when you call our Indianapolis spinal cord injury lawyers at 317-488-5500. Since 1993 our firm has proudly served our community in Indiana.