6 Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Every day, 46 Americans suffer a spinal cord injury. That’s about 17,000 spinal cord injuries every year. These injuries are usually caused by car accidents (36%), violence (28.9%) or falls (21.2%). And for some, the odds of a spinal cord injury are naturally higher.

The expenses and costs of a spinal cord injury can be considerable and overwhelming. If you’ve been involved in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Protect your rights by speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney immediately.

Odds of an injury go up if:

  • You’re male.
  • You’re between the ages of 16 and 30.
  • You’re older than 65. Falls cause most injuries in older adults.
  • You engage in risky behavior, such as diving in shallow water or playing sports without safety gear.
  • You’re suffering a bone or joint disorder.

The spinal cord can be divided into four sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. Spinal cord injuries, their type and severity, depend on: 1) the spinal section that’s been injured; and 2) the injury’s completeness or incompleteness.

The six types and levels of spinal cord injury are:

  • Cervical spinal cord injuries: Affects the head and neck above the shoulders.
  • Lumbar spinal cord injuries: Affects the hips and legs.
  • Thoracic spinal cord injuries: Affects the chest, back and abdomen.
  • Sacral spinal cord injuries: Affects the hips, thighs, buttocks and pelvic organs.
  • Complete spinal cord injuries: Permanently damages the spinal cord, resulting in paraplegia or tetraplegia.
  • Incomplete spinal cord injuries: Partially damages the spinal cord. Movement and feeling vary.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the yearly expenses and lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury vary based on education, neurological impairment and pre-injury employment history. Estimated costs are:

  • For high tetraplegia: First year – $1,065,980 / Each subsequent year – $185,111.
  • For low tetraplegia: First year – $770,264 / Each subsequent year – $113,557.
  • For paraplegia: First year – $519,520 / Each subsequent year – $68,821.
  • Motor functional at any level: First year – $347,896 / Each subsequent year – $42,256.


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