Depending on numerous factors, motor vehicle occupants might suffer traumatic spinal cord damage that could have a lasting impact on their lives. From the loss of control of numerous limbs to the impact to internal organs, spinal cord damage is often catastrophic.
Damage to the spinal cord can result from breaking, bending, twisting or shearing the delicate bundle of nerves. Depending on the type of damage and the position of the injury along the spinal column, individuals might face different types of paralysis, including:
- Monoplegia: This type of paralysis generally impacts only one limb. For example, the victim could suffer the loss of sensation or movement in one leg or one arm.
- Hemiplegia: This type of paralysis impacts both the arm and the leg on the same side of the body.
- Paraplegia: Paralysis that impacts both legs is referred to as paraplegia. Generally, the damage to the spinal cord is relatively low on the spinal column and could affect certain internal organs and bodily functions.
- Quadriplegia: Often considered the most severe of all forms of paralysis, quadriplegia is the result when the damage to the spinal cord is up near the neck. Quadriplegia is paralysis of both arms and legs. Additionally, the victim also suffers severe damage to internal organs and loss of numerous bodily functions.
Based on the level of damage and the severity of the impact, paralysis can be permanent or temporary. Additionally, individuals can suffer partial or total paralysis. For example, it is not uncommon for victims to struggle with loss of sensation but retain limited motor control. Vehicle occupants who suffer permanent, total paralysis will experience dramatic changes for the remainder of their lives.