Spinal Cord Injury

Stritmatter Law offers experienced spinal cord injury attorney services. Throughout Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue and beyond, our lawyers have seen countless spinal cord injuries as the result of trauma from car/truck/motorcycle/bicycle crashes, falls, diving accidents, medical malpractice, construction accidents and various other causes. With one tragic event, a client's life changes forever in these cases. Skilled spinal cord injury lawyer's services are critical to obtain justice/full compensation for a lifetime of care and missed/lost wages. 

Spinal cord injuries cause myelopathy or damage to white matter or myelinated fiber tracts that carry signals to and from the brain. They also damage gray matter in the central part of the spine, causing segmental losses of interneurons and motorneurons.

The exact effects of spinal cord injuries varies according to the type and level of injury, and can be organized into two types:

  1. Complete Injuries. A person would be classified as having a complete spinal cord injury when there is no motor or sensory function preserved in the sacral segments, S4-S5. Any function below the neurological level is lost.

  2. Incomplete injuries. A person with an incomplete injury retains some sensation or movement below the level of the injury. If a person is able to contract the anal sphincter voluntarily or is able to feel a peri-anal pinprick or touch, both of which test the lowest spinal segment, the injury is said to be incomplete. 

In addition to the loss of sensation and motor function below the point of injury, spinal cord injuries are replete with a host of other complications, including:

  • Bowel and bladder function. Because bowel and bladder function is controlled by the sacral region of the spine, it is common to experience dysfunction of the bowel and bladder, including susceptibility to infections of the bladder and incontinence. Sexual function.

  • Sexual function is also associated with the sacral region, and is often affected.

  • Breathing control. A loss of breathing capabilities requiring ventilators or phrenic nerve pacing are attributable to injuries of the C-1 and C-2.

  • Regulatory function. The inability to regulate heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and therefore body temperature.

  • Spasticity caused by increased reflexes and stiffness of the limbs

  • Neuropathic pain, which is caused by damage or dysfunction of the nervous system

  • Autonomic dysreflexia, which is a reaction of the autonomic nervous system to overstimulation

  • Muscle atrophy

  • Gallbladder and renal stones

  • Osteoperosis and bone degeneration

  • Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome

Traumatic spinal cord injury is classified into five types by the American Spinal Injury Association and the International Spinal Cord Injury Classification System:

  • A indicates a "complete" spinal cord injury where no motor or sensory function is preserved in the lower, sacral segments S4-5.

  • B indicates an incomplete spinal cord injury where sensory, but not motor function, is preserved below the neurological legel and includes the sacral segments S4-5. This is typically a transient phase.

  • C indicates an incomplete spinal cord injury where motor function is preserved below the neurological level and more than half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of less than 3.

  • D indicates an incomplete spinal cord injury where motor function is preserved below the neurological level and at least half of the key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of 3 or more.

Location of the Injury

  • Cervical Injuries: Cervical, also known as neck injuries, often result in full or partial tetraplegia (quadriplegia). Depending on the location of the injury, a person suffering from a cervical injury may retain some level of function, or may be completely paralyzed.

  • Thoracic Injuries: Injuries at the chest or below often result in paraplegia, in which case the hands, arms, head, and breathing are usually not affected.

  • Lumbar and Sacral Injuries: Injuries to this lower region of the spine result in decreased control of the legs and hips, sexual functioning, urinary system, and anus.

The attorneys at Stritmatter Law have wide ranging experience with spinal cord injuries, and understand the complex medical and legal issues that frequently accompany these cases. Our knowledge and reputation in litigating spinal cord injury claims will help you through the long and difficult process of medical and legal recovery.

Spinal Cord Injury Cases