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What is an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

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What is an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

The term “spinal cord injury” may bring to mind a devastating injury that results in the complete loss of the legs (paraplegia) or the legs and the arms (quadriplegia). These are examples of complete spinal cord injuries, in which the nerves in the spinal cord are severed so completely that communication between the brain and the body below the injury location is destroyed, resulting in permanent loss of feeling and function.

But just as common are incomplete spinal cord injuries, where some of the nerves at the injury site are damaged beyond repair while others retain normal function. This means some form of communication between the brain and the body remains.

Here’s what to know about incomplete spinal cord injuries.

What Are the Primary Causes of an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, both incomplete and complete. Other trauma-related causes include falls, sports-related accidents, and physical abuse (including gunshots and knife attacks). Some common non-trauma causes of spinal cord injuries include surgical complications and infections.

If a spinal cord injury is the result of actions or negligence of another person, the injured person may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against the party at fault. They may be able to recover damages to help cover medical bills, rehab costs, lost wages, and more.

How is an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury Treated?

Depending on the cause of the injury – if it’s the result of a car accident, for instance – emergency surgery may be required. Surgery may also be a treatment option later on, too.

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are the main long-term treatments for incomplete spinal cord injuries. Physical therapy helps the injured person regain some function over time, while occupational therapy helps them learn new skills and how to live with their injuries.

What is the Prognosis for an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

The outcomes after an incomplete spinal cord injury vary widely. While some people can make a full recovery, most people live with some degree of reduced function and sensation for the rest of their lives. This may be on one or both sides of the body and may mean the injured person has to use a wheelchair or other assistive device, undergo long-term rehabilitation treatment, and may not be able to work as before. These are just some of the outcomes of an incomplete spinal cord injury.

Speak with the Personal Injury Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, fall, assault, or other accident that wasn’t your fault, call the personal injury lawyers at The Carolina Law Group. We have experience handling spinal cord injury cases and can help you understand the process and get the money you need to help you focus on your recovery. Call one of the numbers below to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to talk about your case.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.


Hugh received his BA magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina – Columbia in 2001 and his JD magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina in 2006. Hugh brings with him fifteen years of litigation experience in the Carolinas with a focus on ​trucking collisions, serious motor vehicle collisions, and complex litigation. His clients come to him after experiencing a traumatic and often life-changing event, which he’s able to help them through while pursuing a fair and just outcome in their case.

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