Drunk drivers can inflict a variety of devastating injuries in an auto accident, including paralyzing you through a spinal cord injury. Currently, there is no cure for an SCI, so it is likely you will face medical challenges for the rest of your life. Still, there are some factors that may help you recover to even a significant degree.
As MedicineNet explains, the extent to which you can recover body functions after an SCI will depend on certain circumstances involved in your injury and afterward.
The type of injury
The kind of SCI you experience will influence your prospects of recovery. Some SCIs completely sever the spinal cord at a certain point, known as a complete injury. This will result in permanent disability since your nerve signals cannot progress beyond the damaged location.
On the other hand, some SCIs only result in an incomplete injury, meaning the spinal cord has suffered damage but is still partially intact. This can improve your prospects for recovering at least part of your lost motor function.
What happens in the first minutes and hours following the injury could be critical to your recovery. Emergency responders will immobilize you to prevent further harm. You will probably receive surgery once you reach a hospital. Doctors may remove broken areas of vertebrae to relieve pressure on your spine. They may also stabilize your spine, possibly by implanting metal screws and rods to support your spine. All of these steps may prevent your SCI from becoming worse.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation are the next steps after surgery. This is crucial because most of the recovery you will experience occurs within the first six months following your SCI. After a year has passed, whatever loss of body function you experience is likely to remain with you for the rest of your life.
Even if you have a permanent disability, you may still regain some independence through the use of mechanical aids. The expenses stemming from your treatment and rehabilitation are something to consider if you seek compensation because of the actions of a drunk driver.