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What’s The Difference Between A Complete And Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?


Spinal cord injuries are one of the leading types of injuries suffered by people involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, and other types of accidents. A spinal cord injury may cause paralysis in most of the body and leave the injured party disabled for the rest of their life.

Suffering a spinal cord injury can be devastating for anyone because the injury may prevent you from working or enjoying your life the way you used to before the traumatic event. Fortunately, an accident victim may be entitled to compensation when their spinal cord injury was the result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, careless, or intentional conduct.

However, it is vital to understand the difference between a complete and incomplete spinal cord injury when pursuing compensation for your injury. Below, we will discuss everything you need to know about these two types of spinal cord injury.

What is a Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

Not all spinal cord injuries are the same. Doctors recognize two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete depending on the location and severity of the injury:

  • Complete spinal cord injury. An injured party suffers a complete spinal cord injury when their spine is either fully compressed or completely severed as a result of a traumatic event. Typically, the victim’s cord is unable to send signals below the level of the injury when a complete spinal cord injury occurs. The victim could suffer quadriplegia or paraplegia, depending on the location of the injury.
  • Incomplete spinal cord injury. A victim suffers an incomplete spinal cord injury when the ability of their cord to transmit signals to or from the brain is not completely lost. Thus, the injured person retains some function, sensation, and movement below the level of injury. However, a person diagnosed with an incomplete spinal cord injury may still be unable to work and perform other activities of daily living.

Contact a Nashville spinal cord injury attorney regardless of whether you were diagnosed with a complete or incomplete injury. Your attorney will help you assess your damages and ensure that you are fairly and fully compensated for all your financial losses and life-long damages.

How Much is Your Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth?

Statistically speaking, the cost of medical treatment for a spinal cord injury can be rather astronomical. A person diagnosed with a complete spinal cord injury could end up paying from $500,000 to $770,000 (or more) in medical expenses during the first year of the injury.

The cost of an incomplete spinal cord injury is somewhat lower – about $347,000 during the first year. In many cases, people who suffer a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury are expected to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the rest of their life.

The medical expenses and other financial losses, such as lost wages and diminished earning capacity, must be taken into account when calculating the appropriate settlement for a spinal cord injury caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, carelessness, or intentional conduct.

Additionally, injured victims diagnosed with spinal cord injuries are often eligible to recover non-economic damages for their emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and many more. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you determine how much your spinal cord injury case is worth.

Our attorney at Calhoun Law, PLC, in Tennessee can help. Call 615-375-4773 to get your no-obligation consultation today.

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