What are the consequences of an incomplete spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injuries are among the most feared and severe injuries that can occur in a car crash, a fall or another serious accident. The people with such injuries will require trauma care and ongoing medical support, and their lives will change substantially.

Medical doctors have very specific terms that they use to describe spinal cord injuries. The placement of the injury is one of the most important considerations regarding the impact of the injury on your health and what supports you need. Beyond that, the completion of the injury is also important.

Doctors will usually identify the vertebra closest to the injury and then also describe your condition as complete or incomplete. Those with complete spinal cord injuries have fully torn or severed their spinal cords and therefore have a permanent loss of function and sensation. However, not all spinal cord injuries break the cord. Some of them only cause tears, pinching or other damage. What impact does an incomplete spinal cord injury have?

They cause motor function and sensation limitations

As with a complete spinal cord injury, the biggest symptoms of an incomplete injury relate to diminished physical sensation and motor function below the site of the injury. Individuals with incomplete injuries may retain some sensation and some motor function, but they may notice reduced strength or other challenges. They may need to change jobs and will need extensive rehabilitation support to improve their condition.

The financial impact

An incomplete spinal cord injury will likely require immediate trauma care and then extensive medical support for the rest of your life. Even incomplete injuries low on the spine where someone still has functionality will typically cost more than a million dollars in lifetime medical costs.

Individuals may not have the same pressing need to modify their homes and vehicles as they would with a complete spinal cord injury, but such expenses may still be necessary. They may also need to change professions or move to part-time work to limit the physical demands on their bodies. The younger someone is and the bigger the impact on their job opportunities, the more someone will lose in earning potential and benefits.

Figuring out the true financial impact of a spinal cord injury will put you in a better position to seek compensation for your losses.

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