What Is the Difference Between Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and result in long-lasting disabilities. Often, individuals who sustain these injuries can no longer work or enjoy life the way that they were able to before the injury occurred. However, there is a difference between an incomplete and a complete spinal cord injury. Here, our injury attorneys examine the difference between these types of injuries and look at how they can affect the victim as they move forward with their lives and their recovery. 

Not all Spinal Cord Injuries are the Same

It is important to understand that not all spinal cord injuries are exactly alike. In fact, the symptoms that a spinal cord injury victim experiences will vary greatly depending on the severity and location of the initial injury. When examining the seriousness of these injuries, we have to look at whether or not the trauma is considered “complete” or “incomplete.”

Complete spinal cord injury in Tennessee

A complete spinal cord injury will occur if a person’s spine is completely severed or fully compressed. This type of injury will take away the brain’s ability to send signals below the site where the injury occurred. Any person who experiences a complete spinal cord injury will be paralyzed from the area where the injury occurred downward. Depending on where the injury happened, this could result in quadriplegia or paraplegia.

Incomplete spinal cord injury in Tennessee

Incomplete spinal cord injuries occur anytime the spinal column sustains trauma, but a person retains feeling or function below the site of the injury. The severity of an incomplete spinal cord injury will depend on many factors. Some incomplete spinal cord injury victims may experience various levels of paralysis below the site of the injury. However, it is not uncommon for these injuries to be mild enough to where a person experiences only mild weakness and no other signs that an injury occurred.

Spinal Cord Injuries are Costly

Spinal cord injuries can become incredibly costly. Data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) shows that the first year of medical care can cost anywhere from around $380,000 to more than $1.1 million. Every additional year is likely to reach costs ranging from around $46,000 to more than $200,000 for the rest of a person’s life.

However, there are other costs associated with these injuries that many people do not consider when it comes to securing compensation. This can include lost income if a person can no longer work, the costs of modifying homes or vehicles to aid with mobility, paying for in-home medical care, and more.

We bring up the costs of spinal cord injuries because the severity of the injury will directly impact these expenses. More severe injuries will clearly result in higher medical bills and more out-of-pocket expenses for a victim and their family. However, even less severe spinal cord injuries can still come with major price tags.

If you or somebody you love has sustained a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury caused by the negligence of someone else in Tennessee, reach out to an attorney today. A Nashville spinal cord injury lawyer can fully investigate your case and help negotiate with aggressive insurance carriers to recover the compensation you are entitled to.