Spinal cord injuries can not only be extremely painful and dangerous, they can also damage a person’s ability to live the way that he or she wants and contributes to a lowered quality of life. Spinal cord injuries are also a fairly common form of occupational injury, meaning that they occur very often in workplaces when people engage in heavy lifting, working with heights and other at-risk tasks.
Different types of spinal cord injuries carry with them different levels of seriousness. Generally speaking, the higher up the injury to the spinal cord, the more serious the injury. The most severe type of spinal cord injury is damage to the high-cervical nerves. This can lead to the arms, hands, body and legs becoming paralyzed and can even mean that the injured person cannot breathe without assistance. This can lead to the patient needing 24-hour care.
An injury to the low-cervical nerves can still lead to the paralysis of the arms and hands; however, it does not usually affect the rest of the body, and therefore, the person will usually be able to breathe and speak without assistance.
If the mid-back thoracic vertebrae is affected, then usually the arms will not be affected but the body and legs are likely to be paralyzed. This can lead to those injured needing to use a manual wheelchair.
If an employee has been affected by a spinal cord injury, the results can be devastating. However, if the injury occurred at work, you will be entitled to compensation and damages for all of the suffering and lost wages.
Source: Spinal injury 101, “Spinal injury,” accessed Oct. 20, 2017