As an Illinois driver, no one need tell you that motor vehicle accidents occur all to frequently in our state. Many of them can result in catastrophic injuries. One of the most devastating injuries you could suffer in a car crash is a spinal cord injury that could paralyze you and put you in a wheelchair for the remainder of your life.

Your spine, spinal cord and the nerves that emanate from it control all the movements your body makes, both voluntarily and involuntarily. In addition, it controls the sensations the various parts of your body feel, such as touch, heat, cold, pain, etc.

The Mayfield Clinic explains that your spine consists of 33 vertebrae in the following five regions of your back:

  1. The seven between the base of your brain and the base of your neck, called your cervical region
  2. The 12 between the end of your neck and your waist, called your thoracic region
  3. The five between your waist and the bottom of your lumbar curve, called your lumbar region
  4. The five fused together in your lower back, called your sacral region
  5. The four fused together in your tailbone, called your coccyx region

If you receive a spinal cord injury in your car crash, you likely will lose both movement and sensation below your point of injury.

Paraplegia and tetraplegia

You probably have heard about paraplegia, the form of paralysis that affects your legs, feet and lower torso. If your spinal cord injury occurs anywhere in your lumbar region, this is the type of paralysis from which you will suffer. You will not be able to walk, and you also likely will not be able to control your bladder and bowel.

Tetraplegia, formerly called quadriplegia, results from a spinal cord injury that occurs in your cervical or thoracic region. In this type of injury, not only will you be unable to walk or control your bladder and bowel, you will have limited, if any, movement or sensation in your arms, hands, fingers and torso. This will make you almost totally dependent on others for your day-to-day care.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.