Ottawa lawyer: Types and causes of spinal cord injuries.

Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth 

Some of my most severe personal injury cases are where someone has been involved in an accident which has resulted in a spinal cord injury. Not only has their life completely changed; so has their families.  Every person who suffers a spinal cord injury faces different challenges. Some have excellent family support; while others are alone.  Some have insurance coverage; while others have none. A spinal cord injury can be devastating and life-altering.  It’s important to completely understand your spinal cord injury and ensure that you are adequately provided for throughout your rehabilitation and throughout the rest of your life moving forward.

Types of spinal cord injuries.

Any spinal cord injury can occur anywhere along one’s spinal cord. Typically a spinal cord injury is the result of damage to spinal cord cells. This damage causes a loss of communication between the brain and the parts of the body below the injured area. In other words, the higher the injury along the spinal cord, there is a higher chance of having problems with the injury. Often times, there is a loss of movement and sensation in body parts.

Paraplegia is often the result of an injury at the thoracic level of the spinal cord. It often results in loss of sensation and paralysis in one’s lower body and legs.

Quadriplegia is often the result of an injury to the cervical area of the spinal cord. It also may result in loss of sensation and paralysis in both the arms and the legs or it can also result in sensation loss in all areas below the neckline.

Spinal cord injuries are divided into 2 types of spinal cord injuries: complete spinal cord injuries and incomplete spinal cord injuries. It is possible that a spinal cord injury classification change during the recovery process.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries.

Typically a loss of sensation and motor ability is associated with a complete spinal cord injury caused by bruising, loss of blood to the spinal cord, severe pressure to the spinal cord, or cuts and severed spinal cords. Typically a complete spinal cord injury results in a total loss of sensation and movement below the spinal injury site.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury:

An incomplete spinal cord injury does not always result in complete loss of movement and sensation below the injury site.

Most common causes of spinal cord injury:

Car Accidents:

Auto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of most spinal cord injuries. Car accidents cause up to 40% of new spinal cord injuries every year.

Slip and Fall Accidents:

Spinal cord injury after the age of 65 are most often caused by a slip and fall accident. Overall, slip and fall accidents cause more than 25% of spinal cord injuries.

Violence: Close to 15% of spinal cord injuries result from acts of violence.

Athletic injuries: Athletic injuries, sports injuries, dives cause approximately 8% of spinal cord injuries.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a factor in approximately 25% of spinal cord injuries.

Diseases. Cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and spinal cord inflammation are also some causes of  spinal cord injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s vital that you consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in spinal injuries.  Spinal injuries are the most severe of injuries and require extensive support, rehabilitation and compensation for a life-time.  Our personal injury lawyers have helped many families who have a loved one with a spinal injury and we can help you.

Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer, Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Ontario Spinal Cord Injuries Lawyers, Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth

An increase in spinal cord injuries

catastrophic injury

Sadly spinal cord injuries occur every day. Every day, someone in Canada suffers a spinal cord injury (“SCI”). This is the sad but real reality of spinal cord injuries. They are happening all the time. More than 80,000 Canadians currently live with some form of Spinal Cord Injury. Sadly, this number is expected to climb. A report by the Urban Futures Institute estimates that roughly 86,000 individuals currently have spinal cord injuries in Canada. Tragically, this number is set to increase to 121,000 by 2030. That’s an increase of 35,000 in less than 19 years.  Too high a number, in my opinion because we should be learning how to better prevent such injuries from occurring. The statistics are grim.

Do all spinal cord injuries result in paralysis?

Roughly 48,243 people with SCI’s are fully paralyzed, while 30,324 can still make use of their arms. Individuals with SCI will spend an average 140 days in hospital, and will die 15 to 30 years earlier than the average person with an average life expectancy. That’s because victims of SCI are more susceptible to medical complications like urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, pneumonia and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Christopher Reeve, for example, is a tragic and iconic example of a SCI victim dying of the enumerated causes – namely, depression and pressure ulcers. It is ironic that even the invincible and iconic superman of our generation was not invincible enough to avoid a spinal cord injury. These injuries are serious and can happen to anyone.  So please take care and exercise caution in situations where you or your loved ones could be at risk.


Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Shares Information as it Relates to Spinal Cord Injuries.

Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Catastrophic injury lawyers…

Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

Spinal cord injuries can be traumatic and frightening experiences to injury victims and their families. Often times, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury, you may experience physical injuries such as pain, discomfort, sensitivity, and related symptoms, while fear, anger, and an experience of loss and insecurity can also be common. It is important to address these matters.

Alongside these considerations, spinal cord injuries also require the serious and careful attention of a qualified and competent lawyer who specializes in the complex and constantly evolving science and law that surrounds spinal cord injuries in Canada. I  have several clients with a spinal cord injuries and I understand how this is an incredibly difficult time for you, your family and your friends.

Here is some information for you to consider as you learn more about spinal cord injuries, which generally fall into two stages, known as (1) the Primary Stage and (2) the Secondary Stage of a spinal cord injury.

The primary spinal injury stage includes an initial physical trauma to the spine. This may occur if there is a very bad fall, motor vehicle accident (Car, Truck, snowmobile) and any other such kind of traumatic incident (Snowboarding, ski accident, soccer, etc).

The primary injury can be the result of a neurological injury or spinal cord injury due to: (1) Physical compression of the spinal cord/nerves: This may occurs secondary to injury to the bone, disc, and or ligament. If compressed, the tissues narrow down the spinal canal or sometimes also change in alignment. Consequently, nerves are “squeezed” and injured. (2) Stretch of the tissues: The spinal cord is extremely sensitive and can be injured in a subtle yet severe manner, even by the most ostensibility minor trauma attributed to it directly. (3) Blood supply mutilation: secondary to an injury, the inner blood network (tiny blood vessels) can be destroyed suddenly, causing immediate and dangerous hemorrhage into the spinal cord.

Spinal cord injuries are typically diagnosed  with an MRI scan just after trauma. This will better inform the decision of the doctor on how to proceed, and your lawyer, and most importantly yourself on your goals and wishes. Because at the end of the day, it’s about what you most want and need. Health is not just the absence of disease, but so much more. You want to be healthy, and back to functioning at a high level.

So far we have discussed the primary stage.  What many people do not realize is that nature of the secondary injury stage, where many of the effects of the primary injury or trauma finally become clear, such as pain, tension, emotional/psychological considerations, and so on. There is no fixed time for the occurrence of secondary injury. It may occur within seconds, hours, days, and even weeks. Physiologically, the body releases certain chemicals in response to trauma. As such, these reactions in your body can cause inflammation, and reduce spinal cord blood flow. Such conditions can kill the cells in your body.
As a goal of spinal cord injury treatment, your doctor, your lawyer, and you can work together in considering the best way to:

a. decrease inflammation
b. reduce cell degradation and death
c. increase blood flow where needed
d. reduce likelihood of scar formation

The science and law behind spinal cord injuries is complex and can be a challenge for someone that is finding themselves in this situation for the first time. I respect and admire you for taking the step towards learning and recovery.

If you need more information on spinal cord injuries, or have suffered a spinal cord injury, or simply want to speak with a personal injury lawyer in the Ottawa area regarding a spinal cord injury, please visit or call; 613-978-9549.  You are under no obligation and I would be happy to help in anyway I can by offering you some of the resources that have helped my clients or simply listening and finding out how I can help.

-Take care and be safe out there !

David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer