If you suffer a spinal cord injury in a Florida car crash, the result will be a catastrophic life-changing one. These types of injuries partially or completely sever your spinal cord, resulting in parts or virtually all of your body becoming paralyzed, forcing you to live the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

The Mayfield Clinic explains that your spinal cord and its nerves represent the way in which messages travel from your brain to the rest of your body and back again. When you injure your spinal cord, these messages can no longer get through and you lose the ability to feel much, if anything, below your point of injury. You likewise cannot voluntarily move those parts of your body.

Your back’s structure

As you know, your spinal cord and its surrounding vertebrae run down the middle of your back. What you may not know, however, is that your back is divided into the following five regions:

  1. Cervical region containing the seven vertebrae located in your neck
  2. Thoracic region containing the 12 vertebrae located between your neck and your waist
  3. Lumbar region containing the five vertebrae located between your waist and your lower back
  4. Sacral region containing the five fused vertebrae below your lower back
  5. Coccyx region containing the four fused vertebrae making up your tailbone

Paralysis types

Paraplegia and quadriplegia represent the two types of paralysis that you could suffer if you sustain a spinal cord injury in your car crash. Para means two and quad means four. Therefore, paraplegia means paralysis that affects your legs and feet and quadriplegia means paralysis that affects your arms and hands as well as your legs and feet.

Paraplegia generally results from an SCI to your lumbar region or the lower portion of your thoracic region. With this type of paralysis, you cannot walk or move your legs much if at all. You also usually cannot control your bladder or bowels, and have little or no feeling in your legs and feet or in your torso below your point of injury.

Quadriplegia generally results from an SCI to your cervical region or the upper portion of your thoracic region. Quadriplegia is a truly catastrophic condition in which you are unable to move or feel your arms, hands, legs, feet or any part of your body below your point of injury. In other words, quadriplegia renders you virtually helpless. Someone else must feed, hydrate, bathe and dress you, comb your hair, brush your teeth, perform your bowel and bladder routines for you, and move you from your bed to your wheelchair and back again.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.