Spinal cord injuries can change the lives of California residents, and cervical spine injuries are often some of the most severe. Because these injuries are closer to the brain, injuries there can result in paralysis or a lack of sensation or movement anywhere below the head and neck.
In general, cervical spinal cord injuries often cause a permanent loss of sensory functions. In some cases this loss is complete while in others it is partial; in all cases, these types of severe injuries have many complications. The higher the injury is on the spine, the greater its severity, so these types of injuries can also be fatal. In some cases, people with these injuries may not be able to control their breathing, bladder or bowel movements. Even their ability to speak can be impaired. Many people will experience tetraplegia or quadriplegia, the paralysis of all four limbs. People with these types of high spinal cord injuries will generally need personal care providers throughout the day, although they may be able to move with special powered wheelchairs.
For injuries slightly lower in the cervical spinal cord, people may be able to raise their arms or bend their elbows. They may be able to speak but suffer breathing difficulties. Even people who retain arm movement will generally have severe difficulties using their hands. Rehabilitation processes often focus on helping people to use other parts of their body to direct specialized equipment like certain types of wheelchairs or personal care devices.
Many such catastrophic injuries are caused by slip-and-fall accidents due to the negligence of another party. Victims can work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages, including the costs of lifelong medical and personal care assistance and specialized equipment.