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Complete Spinal Cord Injuries: What Survivors and Their Loved Ones Need to Know After Car Crashes

A complete spinal cord injury from a Wisconsin car accident will dramatically and permanently change your lifeIn just an instant everything changed. Someone else’s negligent or intentional actions caused your car accident and that car accident resulted in you or a loved one suffering a complete spinal cord injury. While each and every complete spinal cord injury is life-changing and serious, they are not all the same. Thus, it is important to understand the differences between complete paraplegia and complete tetraplegia and to know what to do if you, or a loved one, is hurt.

Complete Paraplegia

This form of paraplegia is both total and permanent. Car accident victims who suffer from complete paraplegia lose all of their motor and sensory impulses at the T1 level of the spinal column or below. This means that they retain full use of their hands and arms after the accident. Additionally, any injury to the upper torso, including breathing, typically improves. However, the injury results in loss of motor and sensory function of the:

  • Bladder.
  • Bowel.
  • Sexual organs.
  • Legs.
  • Feet.

Accidents, such as car accidents, are a common cause of spinal cord injury that results in paraplegia. Prompt medical attention is essential. While the condition may not be reversed, medical care can prevent it from getting worse and important therapies, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, may be started to help the victim continue to live as independently as possible.

Complete Tetraplegia

Car accident victims who suffer complete tetraplegia suffer all of the same consequences of complete paraplegia; however, their hands or arms are also paralyzed. Additionally, people with complete tetraplegia may be:

  • Unable to breathe independently.
  • Unable to move their neck or shoulders.
  • Unable to speak without assistive devices.

The results of this form of paralysis can be devastating. It requires immediate and ongoing medical attention for the rest of the individual’s life. Life span may be shortened because of this condition—particularly if respiratory function is impaired.

If you suffer a spinal cord injury such as complete paraplegia or complete tetraplegia after a car crash, then it is important to know your rights and to take action. Please read our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims, and contact us today for a free consultation.


Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham