Search Site
Main Office : 125 St Pauls Blvd, Ste 510, Norfolk, Virginia 23510   |   8 Hampton Roads Meeting Locations
Free Consultation Call or Text 24/7 757.455.0077
Virginia Injury Blog
Extreme Spinal Cord Injuries – Quadriplegia, Tetraplegia and Paraplegia Explained

My hometown motivates me to work hard for my client and get results.- John Cooper

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Extreme Spinal Cord Injuries – Quadriplegia, Tetraplegia and Paraplegia Explained

Most of the people our Hampton Roads personal injury lawyers help after car wrecks or accidents at a business make a full recovery. However, in certain cases like extreme spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, these victims may never fully recover.

These cases are among the saddest we deal with. It’s important to fight hard for these victims because they have life-long medical needs to cover.

Spinal cord injuries that entail the severing of the spinal cord are among the most serious types of injuries that can be sustained in an automobile, truck or a motorcycle accident, or a slip and fall.

These injuries often entail paralysis and a loss of core body functions. They can place a tremendous burden on caregivers.


The most serious conditions are quadriplegia, tetraplegia, and paraplegia, but few people outside the medical profession know the meanings of the terms. Here we explain extreme spinal cord injuries.

What is Paraplegia?

Paraplegia is a severing of the spine below the first thoracic spinal nerve. Paraplegics suffer partial or complete paralysis of their legs or their entire trunk.

The severity of the injury will impact whether the truck is also paralyzed or not.

When an auto accident victim suffers an injury to the first to eighth vertebrae, the patient usually retains control of their hands. However, a lack of trunk control may be caused by the lack of abdominal muscle control.

If the severe spinal injury occurs in the ninth to 12th vertebrae, the patient will typically retain control of his or her abdominal muscles and trunk. However, if you suffer an injury to your sacral and lumbar areas, you may lose control of the legs and hips.

What is Quadriplegia and Tetraplegia?

Quadriplegia and tetraplegia are the same conditions.  The medical community uses the term tetraplegia to describe the injury, but patients are far more likely to use quadriplegia.

Quadriplegia and tetraplegia impact all four limbs, as well as the torso, states  Most people who are diagnosed with tetraplegia suffer a major paralysis below their neck. Many of them are unable to move altogether.

Quadriplegia is the product of damage that occurs high in the spinal cord, usually in the cervical spine between C1-C7.

The higher the spinal cord injury occurs, the more serious the injury. Injuries that occur at the top of the spinal cord are often immediately fatal.

Extreme spinal cord injuries are terrible injuries that ruin the lives of victims and their family. Often quadriplegics require a ventilator or electrical implant to breathe properly. The fact their arms are also paralyzed means this condition is even more debilitating than paraplegia. Hand and arm movement is possible in some instances.

Extreme spinal cord injuries often entail a loss of sexual function and other conditions like incontinence.

It’s rare to suffer a serious spinal injury of this nature in car wreck. If you or a loved one suffers paraplegia or quadriplegia, you will typically require intensive medical care for the rest of your life. It’s crucial that you recover the most you can from the at-fault driver.

Call our Virginia Beach car accident injury lawyers for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077 or read our spinal cord injuries FAQs.

John Cooper

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

View Full Bio
Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

View Full Bio
Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

View Full Bio
  • Recent Blogs When To Report a Virginia Boating Accident?

    Every summer the number of boating accidents in the waters off Hampton Roads, the James River, the Lynnhaven River or the Chesapeake Bay spikes. While… Read More »


    Read More
  • Download our FREE e-books

    At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we understand that the law is confusing. Learn about what to do after an accident. Explore our collection of FREE e-books.

    View Free E-Books
  • 2018 Scholarship Award

    Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.

    Learn More
Contact Us

Please fill out form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
8 Hampton Roads Meeting Locations

Use the map below to find the location closest to you

View more