Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

Approximately 11,000 people are newly diagnosed annually with a spinal cord injury. Most spinal cord injuries are sustained by young adults. The average age of injury is 38 years old. 80% of those who sustain spinal cord injuries are men age 16 to 30.

Motor vehicle accidents account for approximately 46% of spinal cord injuries, followed by falls, violence (mostly gunshots), and recreational sporting activities. Spinal cord injuries come in many shapes and forms, including:

  • tetraplegia (also known as complete quadriplegia);
  • hemiplegia; and
  • paraplegia.

Tetraplegia (quadriplegia) is the paralysis of the limbs (i.e., arms and legs) and the trunk of the body below the point of injury to the spinal cord. Hemiplegia is the paralysis of one side of the body (i.e., left or right). Paraplegia is the paralysis of the limbs (i.e., legs) below the waist.

Tetraplegia (quadriplegia), hemiplegia and paraplegia can be complete, as well as incomplete complete. Like it sounds, a complete injury usually results in the complete loss of sensation and control. An incomplete injury is one that only partially damages the spinal cord. Generally, people who sustain an incomplete injury have some sensation, but little or no movement or control. The effects of the injury depend on the location of the damage to the spinal cord (i.e., front, back, or side). Common incomplete injuries include:

  • anterior cord syndrome (damage to the front of the spinal cord);
  • central cord syndrome (damage to the center of the spinal cord);
  • posterior cord syndrome (damage to the back of the spinal cord);
  • brown-sequard syndrome (damage to one side of the spinal cord); and
  • cauda equina lesion/injury (damage to the mass of nerves at the end of the spinal cord).

For every 100 people with a spinal cord injury, incomplete tetraplegia (quadriplegia) is the most common neurologic diagnosis (34 of 100), followed by complete paraplegia (23 of 100), incomplete paraplegia (19 of 100), and complete tetraplegia (quadriplegia) (18 of 100).

Spinal cord injuries are very serious because they can affect many of the body's systems, organs and functions, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and are known to cause chronic pain, urinary tract problems, bowel management problems, pressure sores, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli, weight control issues and sexual dysfunction.

The lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have considerable experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict cases involving severe personal injuries, including spinal cord injuries. Contact us now to discuss your case or concerns.