Paralysis from Spinal Injuries

cartwrightlaw - August 8, 2022 -
Spinal cord x-ray

Injuries to the spinal cord are usually among the most devastating types of harm people can suffer because the effects can often be permanent. Any person who sustains a spinal cord injury after an accident caused by another party’s negligence in California will want to work with an experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyer.


Spinal cord injuries may be complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury typically causes total paralysis or loss of function below the level of the injury and affects both sides of the body, including paralysis of all four limbs or the lower half of the body, but an incomplete spinal cord injury means that some function will remain on one or both sides of the body and the body and brain may still communicate along certain pathways.


Types of spinal cord injuries


Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

Common incomplete spinal cord injuries include the following:


  • Anterior cord syndrome — This is an injury to the front of the spinal cord, damaging motor and sensory pathways in a spinal cord. Victims could retain some sensation, but will struggle with movement.


  • Brown-Sequard syndrome — An injury involving damage to one side of the spinal cord. It may be more pronounced on one side of the body, meaning movement is impossible on one side, but fully retained on the other. The degree of Brown-Sequard injuries varies from patient to patient.


  • Central cord syndrome — An injury to the center of the spinal cord, damaging nerves that carry signals from the brain to the spinal cord. This can involve loss of fine motor skills, paralysis of the arms, and partial impairment, although less pronounced, in the legs. Some victims also suffer a loss of bowel or bladder control, and may lose the ability to sexually function.


  • Triplegia — Triplegia involves paralysis of three limbs, usually one arm and both legs. It could also be both arms and one leg. 


  • Monoplegia — Monoplegia is paralysis involving one limb, such as a single arm or leg on one side of the body. Monoplegia could affect the upper or lower body.


  • Hemiplegia — This is paralysis of muscles of the lower face, arm, and leg on one side of the body. 


  • Diplegia — Paralysis affecting symmetrical parts of the body, such as both legs or both arms.

Spinal cord injuries explained

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

Complete spinal cord injuries may include:


  • Tetraplegia — Also known as quadriplegia, this form of paralysis affects both arms and both legs. It usually involves an inability to move the upper and lower parts of the body, with areas of impaired mobility often including the hands, fingers, arms, chest, feet, legs, and toes. Such injuries might or might not include the head, neck, and shoulders. There could also be difficulties with bladder and bowel control, respiration, or other certain routine functions. The higher up the injury is on the cervical spinal cord, the more severe the symptoms will be.


  • Paraplegia — Paraplegia relates to the inability to voluntarily move the lower parts of the body, usually the toes, feet, legs, and possibly the abdomen. These injuries are the result of damage to the thoracic spinal cord. Like cervical spinal cord injuries, the injuries will usually be more severe the closer they are to the top vertebra.


Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis

There are many ways that people can suffer severe spinal trauma that leads to paralysis – many of which happen due to the negligence of others. Common accidents that might cause paralyzing spinal injuries include:


  • Falls from high places
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents 
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Violence


If someone else’s negligence causes a spinal injury, that party should be responsible for covering all the losses stemming from the injury. 


Losses from Paralysis

The losses from a paralyzing spinal injury can be overwhelming. Paralysis changes almost every aspect of a person’s life, including finances, physical abilities, and mental state. Complete spinal injuries are permanent, which means the life-altering losses will continue for the rest of a victim’s life. 


Some losses that are compensable include:


  • All past medical expenses, which might include ambulance transportation, hospitalization or ICU stays, surgeries, rehabilitation services, medical equipment, home health care, and more. 
  • The estimated costs of future medical care, which can be required for the victim’s lifetime and can include ongoing medical visits, wheelchair and equipment upgrades, and other medical support. 
  • Adaptations to the victim’s home or vehicle
  • Lost income while the victim was out of work
  • Future lost earnings if the paralysis prevents the victims from working or earning as much as they did before
  • Physical and mental pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability 


Because of the magnitude of these losses, calculating how much a victim deserves is a highly complex task. It is important to have an injury lawyer calculate your damages to ensure you seek enough compensation from your spinal injury claim. Calculating future and intangible damages can be especially challenging, and spinal injury victims cannot afford to lose a penny that they deserve. Money cannot take away paralysis, but it can provide the financial support an injury victim and their family needs moving forward after a life-altering injury. 

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer

Did you or your loved one suffer a spinal cord injury because of another party’s negligence in California? Cartwright Law Firm can fight to ensure that you are able to recover all of the financial compensation you will need to care for your injury for the remainder of your life.


Our firm is well aware of the significant costs that spinal cord injury victims are facing, and we also know how insurance companies often decline to fully compensate people for the harm that was done to them. Call (415) 433-0444 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can sit down with you and really go over the details of your case while getting a better understanding of how we might help with your spinal injury claim. Don’t wait to learn more. 


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