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What Happens If Your Spinal Cord Is Severed?

Posted on January 31, 2022 in

The spinal cord is one of the most important structures in the human body. It is responsible for transmitting messages between your brain and the rest of your body, impacting movement, function, and feeling. If any damage to the spinal cord occurs, the victim can develop permanent limitations.

A severed spinal cord is one of the most severe injuries that you could sustain, often resulting in permanent paralysis. If your spinal cord is severed and someone else is responsible for your injury, you could pursue legal action against the at-fault party.

Common Causes of a Severed Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is a long bundle of nerves that extends from the base of the brain to the lower back. It is protected by several layers of tissue as well as the bones in the spinal column. While these structures are in place to keep the spinal cord safe, it can still be severed during an accident, medical procedure, or act of violence.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include the following.

  • Car accidents are responsible for 38.2% of spinal cord injuries between 2015 and 2021.
  • Falls are the second-leading cause of spinal cord injuries, contributing to 32.3% of cases between 2015 and 2021.
  • Acts of violence, primarily gunshot wounds, contributed to 14.3% of spinal cord injuries.
  • Sports injuries contributed to 7.8% of spinal cord injuries.
  • 4.1% of spinal cord injuries were caused by medical or surgical activities.

The Long-Term Impact of a Severed Spinal Cord

There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. If you experience an incomplete spinal cord injury, you retain some movement and sensation below the injury site. If you sustain a complete injury, you will lose all feeling and function because your body is unable to communicate with your brain below the injury.

If your spinal cord is severed, you will sustain a complete spinal cord injury. Depending on the location of the injury, you could develop paraplegia, or paralysis in the hips and legs, or quadriplegia, which affects the upper and lower body.

To treat your condition, you may require corrective surgery, mobility equipment, and physical therapy. You may be unable to return to work or perform daily tasks without assistance. The lifetime cost of a complete spinal cord injury can be very high; according to the NSCISC, average lifetime expenses can range anywhere from $1.6 million to $5.1 million.

What to Do If Your Spinal Cord Is Severed

If you have sustained a severed spinal cord, you may wonder what to do next. The physical, financial, and emotional toll of the injury can be difficult to bear. However, if someone else’s actions caused your severed spinal cord, you may be eligible for financial compensation.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury, you could file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the responsible person or entity. Motor vehicle drivers, medical professionals, property owners, coworkers, manufacturers, and many other parties may be liable for your injuries.

In these situations, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and help you identify your optimal path to justice. Contact an attorney after your accident to discuss your legal options.