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Spinal Cord and Back Injuries

Serving Clients Nationwide From Our Texas Offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin

The human back is an intricate structure of bones, muscles, and other tissues and is essential to regular human function. Due to the important functions of the back and spinal cord, injuries to these areas can be devastating and life-altering.

If you have suffered a back or spine injury, it is important to speak with an attorney as quickly as possible. Do not risk your claim, call Thomas J. Henry Law now.

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Types of Back and Spine Injuries

Back injuries: Because back injuries involve only the bones in the back, a person can actually “break” their back or neck without sustaining a paralyzing spinal cord injury. Back injuries include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Herniated disks
  • Fractured vertebrae

Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries, as opposed to back injuries, can cause paralysis or death. Spinal cord injuries are categorized by the level of injury and how much motor function is left below that level. They are grouped into one of two categories:

  • Complete injury — no function below the primary level of injury
  • Incomplete injury — some functioning below the primary level of injury
  • Complications from a severe spinal cord injury may include respiratory issues, irregular heartbeat, persistent pain, blood clots, and sexual dysfunction.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord and Back Injuries

Individuals suffering from a spinal cord or back injury may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Head that is in an unusual position
  • Numbness or tingling that spreads down an arm or leg
  • Weakness or difficulty walking
  • Paralysis of arms or legs
  • No bladder or bowel control
  • Symptoms of shock (pale, clammy skin; bluish lips and fingernails; acting dazed or semiconscious)
  • Lack of alertness (unconsciousness)
  • Stiff neck, headache, or neck pain

Accidents that Often Result in Spine and Back Injuries

There are many different causes of spinal cord and back injuries, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Acts of physical violence
  • Recreational sports activities
  • On the job accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products

Contact an Experienced Spinal Cord and Back Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one have suffered from a severe spinal cord injury or back injury, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are backed by the legal and financial resources necessary to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies will try to offer amounts that do not take into account the catastrophic impact a spinal cord injury may have on the rest of your life. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, medical costs, mental anguish, and more.

Our lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Contact us today for a free case review. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin serving clients across Texas and nationwide.

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Your Spinal Cord Injury Questions Answered

We have straight answers to difficult questions to help you make critical decisions, navigate legal process and help you get justice.

Following a spinal injury, there are always more questions than answers. At Thomas J. Henry, we’re here to answer any questions you have about your injury case.

If you have suffered a spinal injury, chances are your injury has been categorized as either complete or incomplete. While this is often misinterpreted as meaning the spinal cord was either completely or partially severed, the measure of whether a spinal injury is complete or incomplete is actually dependent on how it affects sensory and motor function.

Incomplete spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is bruised, stretched, crushed, or partially severed and the injured person is still able to retain some sensory and motor function. The degree of function retained depends on the extent of the injuries suffered.
Complete spinal cord injuries are absolute and result in a total or near-total loss of motor function and sensation below the area of injury. A common example of this would be a fully severed spinal cord. While it may be possible to regain some function and feeling, it will require extensive treatment and rigorous physical therapy.

In most situations, the completeness of a spinal cord injury is not fully known until 6 to 8 weeks after the injury occurs.

Incomplete spinal injuries can be further categorized by the type of trauma suffered, where on the spinal cord the injury occurred, and the significance of the resulting loss of function. Some of the most common types of incomplete or partial spinal cord injuries include:

Anterior cord syndrome: An injury to the front of the spinal cord that damages the motor and sensory pathways of the spinal cord. Typically, the injured person may retain some sensation but will struggle with movement.

Central cord syndrome: An injury to the center of the cord which damages the nerves that carry signals from the brain to the spinal cord. Central cord injuries can result in loss of fine motor skills, paralysis of the arms, and partial impartment in the legs. Injured individuals may also suffer the loss of bowel and bladder control as well as the ability to sexually function.

Brown-Sequard syndrome: An injury to one side of the spinal cord. Loss of function will be more pronounced on one side of the body while the other side may retain full function. The severity of the injury and loss of function varies greatly from patient to patient.

When loss of function or sensation occurs, it occurs beneath the highest vertebrae to suffer significant damage. This is because the paralyzing injury effectively blocks or breaks the signal being sent by the brain down the spinal cord.

Typically, paralysis will be defined as:

Tetraplegia (Quadriplegia): Severe spinal injuries to the cervical spinal cord (C1-C8 vertebrae) that result in varying degrees of paralysis in all limbs. In addition to limb paralysis, tetraplegia can result in difficulties with bladder and bowel control, respiration, and other essential and routine bodily functions. Generally, the higher on the cervical spinal cord occurs, the greater the loss of sensation and function.

Paraplegia: Injuries to the thoracic spinal cord (T1-T12 vertebrae) which results in loss of sensation and movement in the lower half of the body, including the legs. As with cervical spinal cord injuries, the severity of the injury is greater when they occur closer to the top thoracic vertebra.

Triplegia: Injuries the result in loss of sensation and movement in one arm and both legs. Triplegia is generally the product of an incomplete spinal cord injury.

Although spinal cord injuries can occur without causing paralysis, symptoms can have a devastating impact on a person’s quality of life. Beyond paralysis, spinal cord injuries are associated with other serious health complications, including:

Respiratory problems
Bladder control
Blood circulation issues
Persistent pain

In some cases, spinal cord injuries can even result in death. Damage to the high cervical nerves (C1 – C4) result in ventilation dependency or coma and are usually fatal.

Car accidents are at the top of the list of causes of spinal injuries. Beyond vehicle occupants, pedestrians are also frequently involved in motor vehicle accidents and can also suffer serious spinal injuries. In this new age of distracted pedestrians, this type of spinal cord injury victim is on the rise. Another cause of many spinal cord injuries had nothing to do with motor vehicles; the well-known slip and fall injury. Significant spinal cord damage can result from such falls.

Significant spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis, either temporary or permanent. The degree of paralysis that can result from a spinal cord injury is in large part the result of where on the spinal cord the injury occurred. Trauma to the neck, known as the cervical spine area, can result in the most severe level of spinal injury. Trauma to the upper spine area can result in quadriplegia, leaving the victim unable to move the arms or legs. Loss of bowel and bladder control, even respiratory issues, can result from such a severe injury. Severe spinal injuries in the mid to lower back, the thoracic or lumbar regions, can result in paraplegia, leaving the victim wheelchair-bound, unable to walk.

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Representing injured victims from across the United States.

No matter the injury or the accident, if you or a loved one were harmed due to the negligence of an individual or company, Thomas J. Henry is here to assist you.

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