September 25, 2020

Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating of accident injuries. A spinal injury happens when an injury occurs in the spinal cord, such that the nerves can no longer effectively communicate between the brain and the body.

Physicians spend years studying the anatomy of injuries associated with the spinal cord. The spine is incredibly complex and can cause hundreds of physical ailments. Even minor injuries to the spinal cord can leave life-long consequences, from numbness or pain to paralysis.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a spinal injury caused by the negligence of another person, business, or other entity, connect with a Richmond personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Victims of major spinal injuries often feel isolated. Few people understand their struggle.  Fortunately, there are many medical facilities and spinal cord injury attorneys who have experience in these cases. They can help with the struggles you may be facing now, and help you get the money you need to pay for the expensive and specialized care you require.

Top Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The causes of spinal cord injuries (SCI) can come in nearly any form and it’s important to recognize the potential causes of these injuries.

Statistics compiled by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center show 38.4% of spinal injuries are caused by vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Another 30.5% of all cases are caused by slip and falls. Acts of violence, primarily from gunshot wounds, cause 13.5% of spinal injuries. Sports account for 8.9% of these injuries. However your spine was injured, the consequences can seem overwhelming and life-altering. For many, their life and that of their families will never be the same.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Note that no two injuries are the same. The location of the injury and the severity of the damage determines your diagnosis and your prognosis for recovery.

It’s important to remain hopeful. With a proper diagnosis, there are patients who beat the odds and have greater recoveries than doctors expected. For others, even with the best care in the world, the injuries are unrecoverable and paralysis permanent.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) categorizes the degree of severity of spinal injuries into two categories:

Incomplete injury

  • Some sensation and movement are possible below the injury

Complete injury

  • Motor control and sensation are almost completely lost

Additionally, the NIH places spinal cord injuries into the categories of tetraplegia or paraplegia.


  • Tetraplegia used to be known as “quadriplegia”.
  • It is defined as any person who has a spinal injury from the T1 in the upper back up to the C1 vertebra in the neck.
  • Individuals who have suffered these injuries lose function, sensation, or movement in the legs, pelvis, upper chest, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and/or head area.


  • Paraplegia is defined as an individual who has suffered a loss of sensation, movement, or function in the lower part of the body.
  • This can be in the chest, stomach, hips, legs, and/or feet.
  • The injury occurs between the T2 and S5 vertebrae.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are many physical symptoms of minor spinal cord injuries that should not be ignored.

Not all injuries develop immediately after impact and diagnosing these injuries can be complicated.

Previous damage to the tissue surrounding the spinal structure will slowly apply pressure to the spinal cord.

As a result, spinal structure tears might not show up on the first day and often take some time to develop.

Physicians advise any individual who has had a significant injury to the back to see a doctor as soon as possible. An experienced physician can review your symptoms, run tests, and ask questions to diagnose the specific condition.

Here are some symptoms of spinal cord injuries:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bowel control difficulty
  • Partial or complete loss of bladder control
  • Twisted back or neck
  • Excessive back pain
  • Extreme pressure in the head, neck or back
  • Trouble walking
  • Balance issues
  • Numbness or strange sensations in the feet or toes
  • Numbness or unusual sensations in the hands or fingers

Compensation in SCI Cases in Virginia

When another party is found negligent for your injuries in an accident in Virginia, you could receive a substantial monetary award. Recovery time for these injuries is often measured in years, not days or weeks.

Unfortunately, many of these injuries carry life-altering, permanent disabilities.

Your injury compensation may include payment for rehabilitation, assistive devices like motorized wheelchairs, ongoing medical care, and even home modifications for stairlifts or access ramps.

This is but one of the reasons to speak with an experienced attorney who has dealt with multiple spinal structure injuries, and the range of treatments and providers this care requires.

The goal of the legal system is to restore your life to a pre-accident condition through monetary compensation as much as possible. A judgment award can’t make you walk again, but can help you pay for the ongoing care and treatment you will require throughout your life.

Get Help For Your Injury

If you or your loved one has been injured, it is always important to see a physician as soon as possible. This is especially true for spinal cord injury scenarios.

If the insurance company investigates your case and sees you were not treated by a physician soon after the incident occurred, they may try to argue your injuries are not that serious, or were caused after the accident and are unrelated to the crash.

When choosing your personal injury lawyer, it is important to work with a team of attorneys who have many years of knowledge and experience working with spinal cord injury victims.

The Virginia law firm of Cravens & Noll, P.C. has successfully represented victims of spinal injuries for 34 years and are ready to confidently help you get the justice you deserve, and the medical care you need.

Get in touch today to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options and how we can help you.

4 Locations    |    804-330-9220    |    540-246-0684

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