Spine injuries. They’re some of the most catastrophic medical conditions we experience and often significantly impact every aspect of life. Unfortunately, these injuries happen far too often, with thousands of new cases occurring each year. Many people are unaware of the different types of spine injuries and how severe they can be. While any spine injury can seem damaging, it’s important to also note that there’s a difference between complete and incomplete spine injuries. Our Kansas City spinal cord injury attorneys explain more. 

Understanding Complete Spine Injuries

When someone suffers a complete spine injury, it means that the damage was severe enough to cause total loss of mobility and sensory perception from the point of the injury and below. For example, if the damaged area is in the lumbar spine between the L1 and L5 vertebrae, it could mean that they lose function in the lower part of the body, a condition known as paraplegia. 

If the injury is considered complete, both sides of the body are affected, so the injured party is unable to move either leg. They also have a loss of physical sensation and problems with bowel and bladder function.

What Are Incomplete Spine Injuries?

An incomplete spine injury occurs when communication between the brain and parts of the spinal cord isn’t lost completely. As a result, there may be some potential movement possible below the point of the injury.

For instance, a person may suffer incomplete paraplegia, but instead of complete loss of function on both sides of the body, they may still be able to move part of their right leg. Incomplete spine injuries typically impact one side of the body more than the other. Can the region be repaired? Maybe enough to regain a little more mobility, but the damage can’t really be undone.

In spinal cord injury cases based on someone else’s negligence, a skilled lawyer may have to wait until their client reaches what’s known as maximum medical improvement (MMI) before assigning value to their claim. This term usually means a patient’s medical condition has reached a point of stability, and no further change is expected. Knowing whether a spine injury is complete or incomplete influences the amount of compensation you’re owed by the negligent party.

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