Unfortunately, a North Carolina car crash could leave part or all of your body paralyzed. Motor vehicle crashes represent one of the main causes of spinal cord injuries and depending on where your injury occurs, you could have to live in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.

As explained by the Mayfield Clinic, your spinal cord and its nerves that go from your brain to the various parts of your body receive protection from the 33 vertebrae surrounding it and them in the following five regions of your back:

  1. Five vertebrae in your back’s cervical region that extends from the top of your neck to its bottom
  2. Twelve vertebrae in your back’s thoracic region that extends from your neck to your waist
  3. Five vertebrae in your back’s lumbar region that extends from your waist to the lower part of your back
  4. Five fused vertebrae in your back’s sacral region that extends from your lower back to your tailbone
  5. Four fused vertebrae forming your tailbone in your back’s coccyx region

Should your car crash cause one of these vertebrae to break and sever your spinal cord, this also severs your brain’s connection to the parts of your body below the injury. This, in turn, results in paralysis; i.e., your inability to voluntarily move any of those parts or feel much, if any, sensation in them.

Paraplegia versus quadriplegia

“Para” forms the root of the word paraplegia and means two, in this case, an injury affecting your legs and feet. A spinal cord injury to your lumbar region generally results in paralysis of them and your consequent inability to walk. You likely will feel no sensation below your point of injury, nor will you be able to control your bladder and bowel functions.

“Quad” forms the root of the word quadriplegia and means four, in this case, an injury affecting your arms and hands as well as your legs and feet. A spinal cord injury to your cervical or thoracic region generally results in paralysis of all four of your limbs, plus all of the muscles in your trunk below your point of injury. This nearly complete paralysis renders you dependent on others for all of your needs. Should you sustain a severe quadriplegic injury, you may not even be incapable of breathing without the assistance of a ventilator.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.