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Phone: 702-405-6000
Jones Wilson, LLP
Call: 702-405-6000
Toll Free: 866-299-0558

Understanding the ASIA Scale for Assessing Spinal Cord Injuries

If your wife suffered a spinal injury in a serious slip and fall or car accident, you may be confused by how your doctor describes her level of injury, especially if he is telling you she has a Class D spinal injury. What does that mean? The doctor is using the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA) scale utilized in determining the type of impairment a patient is suffering from. However, the terminology can be confusing to the accident victim and his family.

How to Understand an ASIA Scale Diagnosis

To understand an ASIA scale diagnosis, it is helpful to know how doctors divide the spinal cord into neurological segment levels that focus on what part of the body the nerves from each section control. The spine is divided into the following levels:

  • 7 neck or cervical (C) vertebrae
  • 12 chest or thoracic (T) vertebrae
  • 5 back or lumbar (L) vertebrae
  • 5 tail or sacral (S) vertebrae

The segments of the spine and spinal cord are further designated by letters and numbers, with the letters corresponding to the location on the spine or spinal cord. For example, C1 refers to the first vertebra in the neck or cervical level. The ASIA scale also classifies a person’s level of sensation as follows:

  • A: Complete. The person has no sensory or motor function below the injury, including in the S4 and S5 region.
  • B: Sensory Incomplete. The person would have some sensation below the injury, including in S4 and S5.
  • C: Motor Incomplete. The person will have voluntary and sphincter contraction, and will have some function to three levels below the area of spinal injury, but most of his muscles will be weak.
  • D: Motor Incomplete. This is similar to C, but most of the person’s muscles are fairly strong.
  • E: Normal. The person will experience normal sensory and motor recovery.

So if your wife was diagnosed with a Class D injury, she has a motor incomplete injury and will retain some function below the area of the spine injured, including some useful motor functions. Even with a less severe diagnosis than a Class A injury, she may face expensive medical treatments throughout her life and life-long limitations on her day-to-day activities. However, she may be entitled to compensation from the business or person that caused her injury. Call us at 866-299-0558 to schedule a free consultation.