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Types of Spinal Cord Injuries and How They Can Affect Your Settlement

Because of the range of disabilities that a spinal cord injury can cause, the type and extent of trauma you experience can affect your settlement in a personal injury action. A complete injury refers to the lack of all motor and sensory movement below the level of injury. An incomplete cord injury means there is some voluntary motor or sensory function below the level of injury.

The main types of spinal cord injuries include the following:

Anterior Cord Syndrome

This is an incomplete cord injury that occurs to the front portion of the cord and some paralysis above the level of injury. Victims can experience a decreased ability to sense pain and temperature, though they retain the sense of touch. Some patients do regain a degree of movement. The inability to sense pain or temperature can produce a substantial settlement.

Central Cord Syndrome

This is damage to the center of the spinal cord with less severe motor and sensory functions in the lower extremities than the upper. Victims with more severe injuries may not be able to move their arms, but may move their legs. These cases can significantly affect your settlement if paralysis occurs.

Posterior Cord Syndrome

An incomplete injury in which victims retain motor function and sensory function, but have some loss of the body's ability to perceive positioning of body parts and fine touch. These injuries may not produce as substantial a settlement as other cord injuries.

Complete Cord Injuries

These are the most severe type of cord injuries since the spinal cord is split in two. This can produce paraplegia or quadriplegia with the total absence of all motor, sensory, and reflex activity below the level of injury.

Damages in Spinal Cord Injuries

Any degree of paralysis can produce devastating emotional, physical, and financial harm to the victims and their families. Rehabilitation or learning how to cope with paralysis both physically and emotionally can take many months or years, depending on the extent of the injury, and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

The types of damages for spinal cord injuries include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Cost of therapy
  • Cost of services for in-home assistance, cleaning, cooking, and other services
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Pain and suffering including psychological harm

Also, a home may need to be restructured to accommodate the victim's permanent condition.

According to some estimates, the lifetime cost of spinal cord injury to individuals in their twenties range from $700,000 to over $3 million depending on the severity of the paralysis. Contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in spinal cord injuries to ensure full value for your or a loved one’s case.