6 quick facts about spinal cord injuries

As you are driving home from work, another vehicle slams into your car. Once you realize what happened, you take a quick stock of everything. You quickly realize that something is very wrong. You can't feel your legs.

What does this mean? You might have suffered a spinal cord injury during the crash. A spinal cord injury is almost always considered a catastrophic injury. If that is the case, you need to know these six points.

#1: The location of the injury matters

The effects of a spinal cord injury are noticeable below where the injury occurred. If your lower spinal cord area, known as the lumbar area, was injured, you might only feel the effects in your legs. If the injury was to your cervical spine, or upper spine, you might feel the effects in your arms, chest, abdomen and legs. Higher injuries are usually more serious.

#2: The type of injury is important

A spinal cord injury is labeled in two ways - incomplete or complete. An incomplete injury means that you still have some sensation and possibly movement below the location of the injury. A complete injury isn't associated with any movement or sensation below the level of the injury.

#3: Your symptoms might abate or improve

Spinal shock can impact the symptoms you have for the first few days or possibly weeks after the crash. During this time, your spinal cord area is inflamed and irritated. If you suffer from spinal shock, you might notice considerable improvements once your spinal cord settles down.

#4: Your recovery will likely be lengthy

Recovering from a spinal cord injury, even if you aren't paralyzed, can be a long process. You might face surgeries, therapies and hospitalizations. You might have to take time off of work until you are healed enough to return. In some cases, you might not be able to return to work.

#5: Spinal cord injuries are costly

Even a spinal cord injury that only results in partial loss of motor function is expensive. In the first year after the accident, the average cost of care is around $347,484, which doesn't include lost wages. The cost each year after is around $42,206. The most serious spinal cord injury, a high tetraplegia injury, has an average cost in the first year of $1,064,716 and approximately $184,891 each year after.

#6: You might opt to seek compensation

Since another car slammed into your vehicle, you might opt to pursue compensation. This could help you to afford the medical care that you need. It might also help to cover some of the other costs associated with the spinal cord injury you suffered in the crash. You could even seek compensation for lost wages if that is a factor in your case. Think carefully about how to proceed if you choose to seek compensation, and enlist the help of a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

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