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Most people understand that there is a level of risk involved in getting behind the wheel of a car or riding as a passenger. Sadly, people die and suffer serious injuries every day as the result of motor vehicle collisions. No matter how careful you are while driving, there's always the risk of someone else making a mistake that causes an accident.

When that happens, you and your family can end up paying the price. Serious injuries can result from crashes caused by distracted, drunk or negligent drivers. Sometimes people hits their heads and suffer traumatic brain injuries. Spinal cord injuries can result from the force of an impact, penetrating injuries, rolling vehicles or being ejected from a car or truck. These injuries often result in permanent disabilities.

There are several kinds of spinal cord injuries

Medical professionals rate and name spinal cord injuries based on two factors. Both the location and extent of the damage affects the severity of the disabilities and the prognoses of the patients.

Incomplete spinal cord injuries happen when the spinal cord is pinched, bruised or partially cut. Compression of, or damage to, the spinal cord can severely limit nerve and motor function below the injury site. In some cases, surgery, trauma care and physical therapy can lead to partial or full recovery. Complete spinal cord injuries, however, result from the spinal cord being completely severed. There are currently no known remedies for this level of damage.

The location of the injury also impacts a patient's abilities post-accident. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, results from an injury to the upper spine or neck. This means you can not use your arms, legs, trunk or pelvic organs. Paraplegia results from lower-injury sites and generally impacts part of the trunk, as well as the legs.

Spinal cord injuries can result in an inability to work

Depending on the extent of the injury and the nature of your career, a damaged spinal cord might leave you unable to return to work. Even if recovery is possible, you will likely lose wages for many months as you work through rehabilitation.

The cost of medical care — including skilled nursing and mobility assistance devices — can compound the loss of income. Trauma care, physical therapy and surgery are all quite expensive and can leave you financially vulnerable.

If you or someone you loved suffered a spinal cord injury related to a crash caused by another driver, you shouldn't have to assume all of the burden of the consequences. You may have options for pursuing compensation to offset the medical expenses and lost wages associated with your injuries from the crash.

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