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Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Santa Barbara

After a serious injury, your focus should be on your health and recovery. That is why it is imperative to seek an empathetic and intrepid personal injury attorney who will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve from the liable party. If you were injured by another person’s recklessness or negligence and aren’t sure if you can receive compensation, then call Maho Prentice, LLP now to schedule your free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.

Spinal Cord Injury

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries usually occur due to a sudden blow to the back that fractures or dislocates the vertebrae. Spinal cord injury leads to permanent or temporary:

  • Loss of strength
  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of bodily function below the site of injury

These symptoms occur because the signals that are usually carried back and forth between the brain and the body are disrupted due to the damage. Multiple bone discs called vertebrae make up the spine. The vertebrae are responsible for keeping a person upright, and multiple vertebrae allow for bending over and standing up. When the vertebrae break, sharp pieces of bone can cut into spinal cord tissue or press down on the nerves that carry important signals.

The ER physician may assess the level of injury, or the neurological level of injury, by evaluating the victim’s movement and level of sensation at or below a certain level on the spinal cord. You may hear them refer to numbers after letters and wonder what that means. This is the level of injury designation, and it corresponds to the spinal nerves and location on the spine. The designations are as follows:

  • C1 through C4 refer to the spinal cord nerves in the cervical section, near the top of the spinal cord.
  • T1 through T12 refer to the spinal cord nerves in the thoracic section, which affect the hands, chest, and abdominal muscles.
  • L1 through L5 refer to the lumbar spinal section, which affects the hips, knees, and toes.
  • Although there is no spinal cord in the sacrum region, if there is nerve damage to the sacral spine, the victim can suffer a loss of function in the hips and legs and loss of control of the bowel or bladder. Sometimes they are able to walk.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Many different situations can cause spinal cord injuries including, but not limited to:

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

There are two types of spinal cord injury: incomplete and complete. Incomplete spinal cord injury means that there are enough intact nerves or axons able to convey messages to and from the brain; some sensation or movement is possible below the injury site, even if the sensation is very faint. Complete spinal cord injury is the total lack of sensory and motor function below the injury site.

The spinal cord consists of four sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Each corresponds to different groups of nerves that connect to parts of the body. The type of spinal cord injury depends on which section of the spine was injured.

Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries

One of the most severe types of spinal cord injury, cervical spinal cord injury, affects the region of the body above the neck and shoulders and usually results in tetraplegia/quadriplegia. Victims of cervical spinal cord injury usually require 24-hour care for the rest of their lives.

Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries

The thoracic spine holds the body upright. Damage to this part of the spinal cord usually results in paraplegia. However, with rehabilitation, they may be able to recover some movement in their hands, arms, or upper body.

Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the lumbar spinal cord could result in loss of function in the lower extremities. An injury to this area of the spine will require the victim to use a wheelchair, and they may have little to no control of their bladder, bowels, or pelvic organs. With rehabilitation and mobility-assisting devices, many people who suffer lumbar spinal cord injuries can regain their mobility and independence.

Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries

Five bones are fused together to make up the triangle-shaped sacrum, which is located below the lumbar spine but above the tailbone and is also known as the coccyx. This region controls the pelvic organs. Damage to the sacral spine is usually caused by a fall or trauma directly to the area.

Why Do You Need a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?

A spinal cord injury lawyer in Santa Barbara is your advocate when you need one most. Maho Prentice, LLP has represented victims who have been seriously injured in catastrophic motor vehicle crashes, explosions, and other dangerous accidents for over 20 years. Our firm has over 50 years of experience helping spinal cord injury victims and their families obtain fair compensation.