The average car accident is nothing more than a fender bender that may produce some minor bruising or soft tissue injuries among the individuals in the vehicles but no lasting medical consequences. Still, every day in Colorado, dozens of people suffer noteworthy injuries in motor vehicle collisions.
Some of the most severe injuries people can suffer in a crash include traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Given that your brain controls every aspect of who you are and what you do, and that your spine communicates your brain’s intentions to the rest of your body, damage to either of these parts of your body can produce lasting symptoms and consequences.
Spinal cord injuries are often severe and debilitating, but that doesn’t mean that they are inherently permanent. In certain situations, those with spinal cord injuries can seek treatment and improve the symptoms that they experienced because of the injury.
The type of injury will dictate your prognosis
There are two primary ways in which medical professionals identify and describe spinal cord injuries. The first is typically the location on the spine where the injury occurred. Each vertebrae has a shorthand representation, such as C1 for the first vertebrae in your cervical spine. The location of the injury will directly influence how much of your body the spinal cord injury impacts.
Medical professionals also differentiate between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries. A complete spinal cord injury occurs when the damage is so severe that it fully severs the spinal cord. An incomplete spinal cord injury, as you can probably guess, involves pinching, tearing or cutting of the spinal cord that does not actually sever the tissue but merely damages it.
Unfortunately, in the case of complete spinal cord injuries, recovery of motor function below the injury site is currently medically impossible. However, in the case of incomplete spinal cord injuries, with adequate treatment and physical therapy, recovery is sometimes possible.
Spinal injuries require expensive care and assistive technology
Whether the spinal cord injury you suffered is a complete or incomplete injury, you will likely have decreased mobility for at least several weeks or months, if not the rest of your life. The medical care and rehabilitative services you receive after a spinal injury can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Beyond that, it is often necessary for people to retrofit their vehicles or homes to make them more accessible for someone who relies on wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Grab rails, wider door frames and other changes to your home are expensive but necessary for those living with a spinal cord injury.
If another driver caused the crash in which your spinal cord injury occurred, you can likely hold them accountable by filing a claim against their insurance. However, if that individual has less coverage than you need based on the severity of your injuries, you may need to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to fully recoup your medical costs and lost wages during your convalescence.