Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is soft tissue that extends from the base of the brain to the lower end of the spine. It is protected by the connective tissue and vertebrae in your neck and back. When injury occurs to the spinal cord, the results can be horrific and life-altering. Signs and symptoms of spinal cord injuries include loss of movement or sensation, paralysis, loss of bowel or bladder control, changes in sexual function, exaggerated or absent reflex activity or spasm, and pain or intense stinging sensation in the extremities.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injury is categorized as either complete (complete loss of sensory function and motor control below the level of injury) or incomplete (some, but not all sensory function and motor control below the level of injury, is lost).

What Are the Different Kinds of Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries are also often identified by region. There are three main regions in your spine:

  • Cervical, which the top of your spine (your neck and upper back);
  • Thoracic, which is the middle of your spine (mid-back);
  • Lumbar, which is the base of your spine (low-back and tailbone).
  • You have two more regions at the base of your spine, the sacrum and the coccyx, but these are less frequently injured in motor vehicle accidents.

Doctors will often refer to specific vertebrae using a letter and number designation, e.g. C2 or T4 or L3. The letter stands for cervical, thoracic or lumbar. The number refers to a specific intervertebral disc. There are seven cervical vertebrae (C1 to C7), twelve thoracic vertebrae (T1 to T12) and five lumbar vertebrae (L1 to L5). The sacrum is often referred to as S1.

Spinal Cord Injury Damages

Motor vehicle accident-related spinal cord injuries usually gives rise to significant claims for damages, including for non-pecuniary loss, loss of income earning capacity or housekeeping capacity, future costs of care, tax gross up and management fees, and in-trust claims. To develop and maximize these claims, it is imperative that multiple experts be retained to address the myriad issues that flow from spinal cord injuries. Some of the experts needed include neurologists, physiatrists, occupational therapists, vocational consultants, economists, and epidemiologists (life expectancy).

Finding the Right Lawyer

Given the complexity and potential magnitude of spinal cord injury cases, hiring the right lawyer is of paramount importance. You must hire a lawyer who has the financial resources and willingness to retain highly qualified experts to build the claim and rebut ICBC’s experts. We have handled numerous spinal cord injury cases and obtained excellent results for our clients. If you or someone you know has suffered such an injury, give us a call. We will be very pleased to help.

Date last reviewed:  November 5, 2019

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