Spinal injuries can be painful and debilitating; and, in the most severe cases, they can lead to paralysis. Spinal injuries can also be incredibly expensive, as they can lead to substantial medical bills, loss of income, and other out-of-pocket costs. While the spine can withstand a lot, severe trauma can cause substantial damage, and many different types of accidents can lead to life-altering spinal injuries.
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our seasoned spinal cord injury lawyer knows the hardships victims of spine injuries face every day. We are committed to helping you achieve the justice and compensation you need to move forward.
The Three Most Common Types of Spinal Injury
Doctors classify spinal injuries based on the location where these injuries occur. Injuries are most common in the three uppermost regions of the spine: (i) the cervical region, (ii) the thoracic region, and (iii) the lumbar region.
1. Cervical Spine Injuries
The cervical region is the uppermost region of the spine. It is located in the neck, above the shoulders, and connects to the base of the skull. The Shepherd Center describes cervical spine injuries as, “the most severe level of spinal cord injury.” It goes on to explain:
“Being closer to the brain and affecting a larger portion of the body, cervical spinal cord injuries are typically the most severe variety of spinal cord injuries. If there is an injury in the cervical area, it will result in tetraplegia/quadriplegia, meaning there is limited or absent feeling or movement below the shoulders/neck.”
However, not all cervical spine injuries are this severe. In fact, the most common type of cervical spine injury is whiplash—and most accident victims can recover from whiplash over time. Whiplash is a condition that is characterized by damage to the spine and the surrounding soft tissue in the neck, and it most commonly results from a direct frontal or rear impact to the body (i.e. in the case of a head-on or rear-end vehicle collision).
2. Thoracic Spine Injuries
The thoracic region of the spine is directly below the cervical region, and it includes most of the vertebrae in the back. Due to its size, the thoracic region is highly susceptible to injury; and, as a result, injuries to the thoracic region are among the most common of all spinal cord injuries. Common injuries in the thoracic region of the spine include:
- Fractured vertebrae
- Herniated discs
- Nerve damage
The specific location within the thoracic region at which an injury occurs will determine the injury’s effects. Damage to the T-1 to T-5 vertebrae (those located at the top of the thoracic region) typically affect mobility and bodily functions in the abdomen, lower back and legs, while damage to the T-1 to T-12 vertebrae (those located at the bottom of the thoracic region) are more likely to result in loss of bowel or bladder control—possibly in addition to partial paralysis (paraplegia).
3. Lumbar Spine Injuries
The lumbar region of the spine sits below the thoracic region in the lower back. Lumbar spinal injuries are common in various types of accidents, but they can also result from prolonged sitting, poor posture, and other forms of repetitive strain. Depending on their severity, lumbar spine injuries can have effects ranging from chronic lower back pain to loss of bowel and bladder control and loss of function in the hips and legs.
A Fourth Type of Spinal Injury
While cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal injuries are most common, there is a fourth region of the spine that can suffer damage in traumatic accidents as well. This is the sacral region, which sits at the base of the spine above the tailbone. Due to its location, the sacral region is generally less prone to injury in the event of trauma; however, in serious accidents, victims can potentially suffer sacral spinal injuries resulting in loss of lower body function and other potentially serious complications.
What Are Your Legal Rights After Suffering a Spinal Injury?
As we mentioned in the introduction, the costs of treatment for spinal injuries can be substantial. Spinal injuries can lead to pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-financial costs as well. Fortunately, in many cases, accident victims who suffer spinal injuries will be entitled to receive financial compensation for their injury-related losses. This is true for many of the most common causes of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine injuries—including:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Accidents on construction sites, oil fields, and other job sites
Call a Bakersfield Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today
To find out if you are entitled to compensation for your spinal cord injury, you will need to speak with a lawyer at the Law Offices of Mickey Fine as soon as possible.