Types and Levels of Spinal Cord Injuries


The spinal cord is essential for almost all bodily functions. It communicates signals from the brain to all other parts of the body. With such an important job, any spinal injury is always a cause for concern. Depending on the severity of the trauma, survivors may suffer from permanent and life-threatening disabilities.

The consequences of a spinal cord injury can be devastating, both personally and financially. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the lifetime costs of living with a spinal cord injury range from $2.8 million to $5 million, depending on the type of injury and the person’s age at the time of the accident. You shouldn’t pay for these costs if someone else is responsible for your injury. You need help from an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer.

THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm with decades of experience handling catastrophic injury cases. Our legal team knows that spinal cord injuries rob victims of their mobility, income, quality of life, and may even shorten their life expectancies. You deserve justice, and you deserve it now. Let us help you hold the responsible party accountable for their recklessness.

Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

Anatomy of the Spinal Cord: The Basics

The spinal cord is a column of nerves covered by an insulating layer called myelin. Small bones called vertebrae surround the spinal cord. When the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord are damaged or broken, the spinal cord can also suffer damage.

The spinal cord includes four distinct regions:

  • Cervical – The neck region of the spine, controlling head, neck, shoulder, arm, and hand function
  • Thoracic – The upper and middle part of the back, primarily supporting the abdominal and chest muscles
  • Lumbar – The five vertebrae in the lower back, serving the legs, hips, and feet
  • Sacral – The lowest part of the back, with no spinal cord but nerves controlling function in the pelvis, groin, bladder, and sexual organs

What are the Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury?

Since every spinal injury is different, the signs vary greatly from one person to another. Common symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of sensation in the arms and legs
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Pain, pressure, or lumps along the spine
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Total or partial paralysis

If you notice any of these symptoms following an accident, seek medical attention immediately.

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

Not all spinal cord injuries result in permanent paralysis. Your prognosis largely depends on the type of spinal cord injury you have.

  • Complete – A complete spinal cord injury occurs when the nerves are severed entirely. Paraplegia and tetraplegia are the results of complete spinal cord injuries.
  • Incomplete – Individuals sustain incomplete spinal cord injuries when the spinal cord suffers partial damage. Individuals may experience some sensation and have some ability to move the affected limbs. It is also possible to have an incomplete spinal cord injury that only affects one side of the body.

In addition to determining if the injury is complete or incomplete, the extent of paralysis also depends upon where the spinal cord is damaged.

What are the Different Levels of Spinal Cord Injury?

Since each region of the spine serves a different function, the effects of an injury will vary by location. In general, injuries towards the top of the spine are more likely to cause extensive paralysis than injuries lower down. The four regions include:

  • Cervical spinal cord injury – Since the cervical spinal cord is the closest part to the brain, a complete injury to the cervical spine almost always causes paralysis from the neck down, including all four limbs. Individuals with cervical spine injuries often have breathing difficulties since it also affects the chest muscles. Injuries high on the cervical spine are frequently fatal.
  • Thoracic spinal cord injury – This type of spinal cord injury generally causes paraplegia, where the legs and lower body are paralyzed but the individual can still use their arms and hands. The injured person may also have paralysis in the abdomen, affecting their bladder and bowel control.
  • Lumbar spinal cord injury – Injuries to the lumbar area can affect the hips and legs, but the injured person may be able to walk with a brace.
  • Sacral spinal cord injury – Though the sacral spine does not include the spinal cord, trauma to the nerves in this region can cause complications similar to a spinal cord injury. The injured person will most likely still be able to walk, but severe injuries could impact bladder and bowel control and the sex organs.

In the immediate aftermath of a spinal cord injury, doctors cannot predict how much function the injured person will ultimately recover. Do not settle with an insurance company until you know how much your injury will ultimately cost you. Talk to one of our experienced spinal cord injury attorneys first.

Spinal Cord Injuries: Common Causes

Most spinal cord injuries occur because of excessive force on the spine, such as in an auto accident, fall, sports injury, or industrial or construction accident. Violence is also a common cause of spinal cord injuries.

Preexisting conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis may make a person more likely to sustain spinal cord damage when involved in a severe accident. While insurance companies may try to reduce your compensation due to preexisting conditions, an experienced attorney can help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Talk to a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer In Las Vegas Now

Adapting to life after a spinal cord injury can be challenging. That’s why it is vital to seek the compensation you need to rebuild your life and live with the comfort and dignity you deserve.

Get a Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyer from THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys on your side. We know how complex these high-stakes cases can be. Our firm is connected with top medical experts who can testify to the impact the injury will have on your life. You can count on us to build a solid case demanding maximum compensation for you.

We’ll work relentlessly for the justice you deserve. Call or contact us right away for a free case review.