Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

March 5, 2021 | Personal Injury

Spinal cord injuries are typically classified as “catastrophic injuries.” Our spinal cords are essentially the control center for our bodies. When an injury affects the spinal cord, the results are often devastating for the victim. However, not all spinal cord injuries are exactly alike. Here, we want to discuss the types of spinal cord injuries that occur most often. We also want to discuss how these incidents occur as well as the lifetime costs of various spinal cord injuries.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are various levels of spinal cord injuries that need to be discussed. Typically, we can say that the overall costs of a spinal cord injury increase as the level of severity of the injury increases.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

An incomplete spinal cord injury is the most common type of spinal injury that occurs. The most common types of incomplete spinal cord injuries include the following:

  • Anterior cord syndrome. This type of injury occurs to the front of the spinal cord and damages the motor and sensory pathways.
  • Central cord syndrome. This type of injury affects the spinal cord’s center and involves nerve damage.
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome. This type of injury occurs when only one side of the spinal cord is injured.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

Complete spinal cord injuries are less common, but they are much more severe. There are three types of complete spinal cord injuries we want to mention:

  • Tetraplegia. This is the most severe type of complete spinal cord injury, and this causes paralysis that can affect every limb in the body.
  • Paraplegia. This type of paralysis involves a person losing complete movement and sensation of the lower limbs.
  • Triplegia. This type of complete spinal cord injury results from complications arising from spinal cord injuries classified as and complete.

The Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury

The true cost of a spinal cord injury really depends on the severity of the injury. When we look at data available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that the first year of care for an injury can range anywhere from around $368,000 to more than $1.1 million. Again, this depends entirely on the severity of the initial injury. Additionally, every following year of treatment adds to these medical costs. The NCISC says that every year of a spinal cord injury victim’s life can lead to additional costs ranging from $44,000 to more than $200,000.

Unfortunately, these medical costs only paint part of the overall picture of how much compensation injury victims and their families pay. Other costs to consider in these situations include the following:

  • The cost to modify homes or vehicles to help with mobility
  • The costs of travel to and from spinal cord injury specialists
  • Lost income if a victim is unable to work
  • Lost income of a family member who may have to become a caregiver

Finally, there is really no way to adequately measure the amount of emotional and psychological harm that occurs to victims and family members in these situations.

These spinal cord injuries, both incomplete and complete, occur in a wide variety of ways. According to the NCISC, the most common causes of these injuries include the following:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Violence
  • Sports and recreation incidents
  • Medical or surgical mistakes
  • Other

We strongly encourage any spinal cord accident injury victim and their family members to work with a skilled Indianapolis spinal cord injury attorney who can help investigate the cause of their case and secure maximum compensation on their behalf.