One of the most devastating injuries that can be caused by an accident and ultimately result in a legal claim is an injury to the spinal cord. These injuries are referred to as traumatic spinal cord injuries as they are caused by an external impact or injury that damages the spinal cord.

It is estimated that over 86,000 people are living with spinal cord injuries in Canada. Approximately 1,389 Canadians sustain a spinal cord injury each year as a result of a traumatic injury.

Spinal cord injuries are debilitating and change a victim’s life forever. The spinal cord is a main part of the body’s central nervous system. It is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the other parts of the body. If the spinal cord is damaged, the pathways become interrupted.

Unfortunately, sustaining a spinal cord injury is not reversible. In the most severe cases, spinal cord injuries can leave life-long complications such as paralysis, loss of sensation, loss of bladder or bowel control, pain or intense stinging sensations and/or breathing problems.


Most traumatic spinal cord injuries occur as a result of an accident. A major factor in a spinal cord injury lawsuit is the cause of the injury, more specifically, whether the cause involves negligence or malice.

The following are the most common causes of traumatic spinal cord injury:

Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents

The most common cause of spinal cord injuries are related to falls. Slip and falls can occur anywhere. A fall can occur while at work, at home, in the neighbourhood or as a visitor on a commercial property. There are also numerous reasons for the fall, which can include poor lighting, hidden hazards or slippery walkways.

If you are suffering from a severe personal injury as the result of a fall on someone else’s property, our personal injury lawyers can review your accident to determine whether it was caused by a hazard that could make it eligible to file a legal claim for compensation.

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most prevalent causes resulting in injuries to the spinal cord. This is especially true for those involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, such as a semi-truck.

Spinal injuries are also common in the case of accidents that occur when the victim has less protection for their head and neck, such as in an ATV accident, as a pedestrian, or while riding a bicycle or a motorcycle.

Medical Errors

Medical malpractice can also lead to spinal cord injury. A surgeon may make an error that can damage a patient’s spinal cord or an anesthesiologist can increase the risk of spinal cord damage to a patient while administering medication.

A doctor’s failure to properly treat an infection can also lead to permanent spinal cord damage and paralysis. Damage to a baby’s spinal cord can also occur during the birthing process. If a doctor pulls too hard on a baby’s head, neck or shoulders, this can cause lifelong damage.

Once a mistake is made involving a patient’s spinal cord, the damage cannot be undone. If you think you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to medical malpractice, the lawyers at Cuming Gillespie Lawyers will review your case and provide you with an honest assessment as to whether a claim will have a strong likelihood of success.

Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

Falls are the biggest hazard in a nursing home as many elderly patients require assistance walking. If a nursing home is understaffed or neglectful of its patients, falls can occur and these falls may have tragic consequences.

While not as common as those previously mentioned, some individuals suffer a spinal cord injury as a result of a violent attack. The majority of spinal cord injuries caused in violent attacks result from gun violence, but knives and even violent assaults can permanently damage one’s spinal cord. Victims of violence can file a legal claim against their attacker if damages have been suffered.

In terms of sports-related injuries, diving is the most likely sport to cause a spinal cord injury. Other sports, including skiing, hockey, sledding, horseback riding, football or cycling, also have high rates of injury to the spine. Sustaining a blow to the neck or back during sports pay can result in a traumatic spinal cord injury. A bone or vertebrae can become dislocated, fractured, crushed or compressed depending upon the level of force and the impact.

You may have a legal claim if you can prove that your injury resulted from an individual or organization that did not make safety a priority or that the sports equipment you were relying on to keep you safe was faulty or defective.


Although there is no fool-proof way to prevent a spinal cord injury, there are some steps that can be taken to lower the risk of a traumatic injury occurring and damaging your spinal. These steps include:

  • Refraining from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Always wear a seat belt while in a vehicle;
  • Take precautions and remove all hazards to avoid falls in and around your home; and
  • Always wear a helmet and protective gear when riding a motorcycle or participating in a sport that may involve a head injury (ie. bike riding, skiing, hockey or football).


If you suspect that you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately.

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury resulting from any of the causes described above, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party. It is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or another serious accident and suffer from spinal cord injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP can help evaluate your specific case to determine whether you have a valid claim. It is important that you call us promptly so we can help you understand your rights and the potential to recover compensation for your injuries. For a free case evaluation, please contact our office online or at 403-571-0555 to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.