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Doctor reviewing the X-rays of a patient with a serious back injury | Burg Simpson

What Is the Most Serious Back Injury?

February 1, 2024 | 4 min read

Any back injury should be considered a serious back injury. If you experience back pain after an accident, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Treatment options vary widely depending on the nature and severity of these injuries—and, in some cases, prompt treatment can be essential for avoiding long-term consequences.

But, sometimes, long-term consequences of a spinal cord injury cannot be avoided.

The most serious back injuries will immediately cause permanent damage. This is most often the case when an injury causes damage to the nerves in the spinal cord. While nerve damage is treatable in some cases, in many cases it is permanent. This can result in permanent full or partial paralysis, which is the most serious type of back injury.

The back injury lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm have extensive experience helping accident victims pursue the compensation they need and deserve. If you were hurt in a wreck, we are ready to help. Call our office at 303-792-5595 to schedule a FREE and confidential case review today.

Understanding the Long-Term Consequences of Permanent Paralysis

Paralysis involves the loss of sensation, muscle control, and regulation of bodily functions below the point of injury. According to information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), paralysis can manifest immediately after injury (primary damage) or develop gradually due to bleeding, spinal cord swelling, and cell death (secondary damage). While paralysis is typically permanent, there are instances where recovery is feasible.

Because paralysis impacts the body beneath the injury site, the location of a spinal cord injury on the spine plays a crucial role in determining the severity of the consequences. Injuries higher on the spine can result in tetraplegia or quadriplegia, affecting the arms, trunk, and legs. Conversely, injuries lower on the spine can lead to paraplegia or monoplegia, influencing one or both legs and potentially impairing bladder and bowel function.

NINDS further distinguishes paralysis as either “complete” or “incomplete.” In a complete injury, there is no nerve communication below the site of injury, resulting in the loss of all sensation, control, and function below that point. Conversely, an incomplete injury allows the spinal cord to still transmit some messages to the brain. This implies that individuals with incomplete injuries retain some feeling, function, and muscle control below the site of their injury.

But, even with some remaining feeling and control, living with paralysis is still extraordinarily challenging. Individuals who are diagnosed with paralysis will also have ongoing treatment needs, and their ability to work will usually be significantly limited—if they are able to work at all. 

With this in mind, all forms of paralysis can be incredibly expensive for accident victims and their families. The lifetime financial costs of permanent paralysis will generally include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Psychological or psychiatric therapy
  • Medications, medical supplies, and medical devices
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Support services and other out-of-pocket costs
  • Loss of income and benefits

Along with these financial costs, accident victims who are diagnosed with permanent paralysis may also experience the following for the rest of their lives:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of society and support

Filing a Claim for Paralysis After a Serious Back Injury in Colorado

Given these financial and non-financial costs, it is important for anyone who is coping with the effects of paralysis after a serious accident to speak with a back injury lawyer about their legal rights. Accident victims and their families will be entitled to just compensation in many cases. If you are living with the consequences of permanent paralysis due to circumstances that were beyond your control, an experienced back injury lawyer may be able to help you recover just compensation for all of the costs listed above.

Just like seeking medical treatment, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Even if you technically have plenty of time to file a claim under Colorado’s personal injury statute of limitations, you do not want to wait any longer than necessary to get started. Your back injury lawyer will need to investigate promptly to preserve as much evidence as possible; the sooner you get started, the sooner you can recover the financial compensation you deserve.

Speak with a Denver Back Injury Lawyer for Free

If you need to know more about filing a claim for paralysis—or any other serious back injury—after an accident in Colorado, we invite you to get in touch.

Contact Burg Simpson by phone or online for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. We are Good Lawyers. Changing Lives.® Our Denver back injury lawyers serve clients from Aurora, Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, Northglenn, and surrounding areas of Colorado.