What Are the Four Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?

What Are the Four Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?The spinal cord extends from the lower back to the neck and facilitates communication between the brain and other parts of the body. However, when an injury occurs, it can lead to a loss of function in certain areas of the body, potentially causing lifelong complications and disabilities.

Many people with loved ones diagnosed with a spinal cord injury are often surprised to learn that there are four different types of spinal injuries. Their understanding of the injury is limited, typically recognizing that their loved one is experiencing significant pain and unable to perform the same activities that they were capable of prior to their injury. However, it is important to remain informed and understand the various types of spinal cord injuries to prepare for potential complications that may arise.

  1. Sacral spinal cord injuries: A sacral spinal cord injury typically occurs within the area between the tailbone and the lumbar spine, known as the coccyx. The coccyx area consists of five bones, each with its own set of nerves. Accordingly, the nerves may be affected in various ways depending on which bones are injured or damaged within this area. This may result in chronic pain and inability to control certain organs. The organs most commonly affected by sacral spinal cord injuries are the bowels, sex organs, and the bladder. Individuals suffering from this type of injury may experience difficulties controlling their bladder or bowels. Additionally, it is not uncommon for individuals to lose some leg or hip function because of a sacral spinal cord injury. However, these individuals should typically maintain the ability to walk and get around.
  2. Cervical spinal cord injuries: Cervical spinal cord injuries occur in the upper portion of the spinal cord. More specifically, these injuries are common in the neck area which consists of seven vertebrae. Since cervical spinal cord injuries are in close proximity to the brain, they are generally the most severe types of spinal cord injuries. Consequently, a diagnosis of this type of spinal cord injury often results in the individual learning they are paralyzed from the neck down—a condition known as quadriplegia—rendering the individual unable to move their arms or legs.
  3. Lumbar spinal cord injuries: Lumbar spinal cord injuries occur in the lower region of the spinal cord, just above the sacral area. The lumbar portion of the spinal cord consists of five vertebrae and is responsible for bearing most of your bodyweight. Accordingly, the vertebrae in the lumbar are much larger than vertebrae in other parts of the human spine. Individuals diagnosed with a lumbar spinal cord injury typically experience some loss of function in their legs and hips, while their upper body remains unaffected. Individuals with lumbar spinal cord injuries commonly face issues with bladder or bowel control, and they may also experience some difficulties with mobility.
  4. Thoracic spinal cord injuries: Thoracic spinal cord injuries affect the middle and upper portions of the back, spanning across 12 vertebrae. Injuries to the first five vertebrae in this area can lead to issues in the chest, mid-back, and abdomen. This can result in difficulties with lung function, rib and diaphragm muscles, and other respiratory support muscles. On the other hand, injuries to the last seven vertebrae in the thoracic spinal cord can impact an individual’s ability to sit up straight and maintain balance, making tasks like coughing or clearing airways difficult. Thoracic spinal cord injuries frequently lead to severe complications, such as muscle weakness, fevers, chronic back pain, sexual dysfunction, and loss of bladder or bowel control. Paraplegia is also common among those who have a thoracic spinal cord injury, which means that they cannot walk or move their legs.

McNicholas & McNicholas has successfully represented spinal cord injury clients

The Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas take great pride in assisting clients with spinal cord injuries. We are committed to doing everything in our power to hold defendants accountable for their negligent behavior and actions that have led to preventable injuries to our clients. We would like to highlight some of the cases our team has won on behalf of our clients with various types of spinal cord injuries. The following are three of our successes that resulted in millions of dollars for spinal cord injury victims:

  • We fought for the rights of a motorcycle rider involved in a traumatic accident with a passenger vehicle, resulting in a spinal cord injury and paralysis. Following a successful legal battle, the motorcycle rider was awarded $6 million for their injury and accident-related losses.
  • We also worked relentlessly for a basketball player client who became quadriplegic after suffering a spinal cord injury during a basketball game. Our team fought for his rights and successfully secured $2.25 million to help him to rebuild his life again after the accident.
  • Our team also represented a woman who sustained a lumbar spinal cord injury from the seat in her vehicle suddenly caving in. This led to severe pain and other complications in our client’s back. We successfully presented evidence in court to establish that the seat directly caused our client’s spinal cord injury resulting in a $1 million award for her.

Spinal cord injuries are challenging and full recovery often proves elusive for individuals who experience them. That is why it is crucial to hold the defendant accountable for their negligence and seek just compensation to regain your comfort and to rebuild your life after the accident. McNicholas & McNicholas has the experience and skills necessary to build a strong and convincing case for you. Our firm will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the justice you deserve. Contact us or call us at our Los Angeles office to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.

This blog should not be considered legal advice. Every case is based on individuals’ unique facts and circumstances. Therefore, if you need legal advice regarding your specific case, consider reaching out to an attorney for legal advice today.