As the spinal cord acts as a primary part of your central nervous system, any injuries to it can have very serious consequences, often having life-altering effects.
According to the spinal cord injury charity Aspire, around 40,000 people in the UK and Ireland are currently affected by a spinal cord injury, and a further estimated 1,200 people will become paralysed this year as a result of an injury to their spine. This means that someone will be paralysed by a spinal cord injury every eight hours.
There are many different causes of spinal injury, such as a fall from height, a skiing or horse-riding accident, and diseases that degenerate the bones, making the spine more susceptible to damage. However, road accidents - especially motorcycle accidents - are undoubtedly one of the most common causes.
The forces a body is subject to in certain road traffic accidents, especially head on collisions and collisions with non-moving street furniture, such as walls and street lighting, have the capacity to cause serious spinal cord damage. Car accidents are a major cause of spinal injury in the UK each year.
The two types of spinal cord injuries
As with all injuries, the impact that the trauma to your spinal cord will have on your daily life will vary greatly depending on how severe the damage is. There are two basic types:
- A complete injury, in which the spinal cord is severed at one point, means that it can no longer send electrical messages to, or receive them from, any part of the body below the injury. The body is therefore paralysed below the injury.
- An incomplete injury, in which the damage does not extend across the whole width of the spinal cord, means that some signals can still pass through. In this case, the victim is likely to have retained some motor or sensory control below the level of the injury.
What is life like after a spinal cord injury?
A spinal injury can be devastating, with lasting effects that are likely to change you and your family's lives forever. You will almost certainly require treatment and rehabilitation therapies so that you can adjust to living with your injury and attempt to regain as much independence as possible.
The impact may not be limited to purely physical damage – there could be psychological consequences as well. The abrupt change brought upon you following spinal injury can cause a lot of emotional distress, and having to relearn or require assistance with simple everyday activities may create a lot of frustration and anger. It's for these reasons that depression and anxiety are very common in spinal injury victims. These upsetting side effects as well as other post-traumatic stress syndrome symptoms will be considered in your claim.
The good news is that there are benefits you will be entitled to, support charities available, and assistive technologies that can make living with a spinal cord injury slightly easier. But if you or a family member have suffered a spinal cord injury in a road accident that was due to the reckless behaviour of another individual, these things are unlikely to be sufficient to alleviate all related problems.
This is where having access to an experienced spinal injury solicitor who can guide you through the compensation claims process can prove invaluable.
Thompsons can help find justice for you and your family
If you or a loved one have been affected by a spinal injury that was caused by the negligent actions of another, Thompsons can help. Unfortunately, a compensation claim won't restore victims to their former selves, but we can give you peace of mind with straightforward, expert advice from one of our specialist lawyers. We fully understand what a difficult time this must be for you, which is why our injury lawyers approach every case with the utmost level of sensitivity and care. We will be sure to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible, making it easier for you to cope with your situation knowing that, at the very least, justice has been done.
For simple, honest guidance and advice on whether you are entitled to make a claim, give our spinal injury lawyers a call on 0800 0891331.