Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic, forever affecting the lives of the victims and their families.
Each year in the United States approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries are reported. This is according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC).
When these injuries result from the fault of others, the law provides monetary compensation for medical care, rehabilitation, physical, occupational, or vocational therapy, loss of earnings (as well as future earning potential), conscious pain and suffering, emotional and psychological injuries, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society of spouse and children, assistive devices, transportation, and modifications to the victim’s home. CONTACT US NOW so we can get you the money you are entitled to.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries fall into one of two categories: incomplete and complete. Complete spinal cord injuries are those in which the spinal cord is fully severed, eliminating all function. By contrast, incomplete spinal cord injuries are those in which the cord is partially severed, leaving the injured person with some remaining function.
Some of the most common types of incomplete (or partial) spinal cord injuries include:
Anterior Cord Syndrome: An injury to the front of the spinal cord which affects motor and sensory pathways. While the patient may be left with some sensation, movement will be impaired.
Central Cord Syndrome: Injury to the center of the cord damaging the nerves that carry signals between the brain and central nervous system. These injuries result in the loss of fine motor skills, paralysis of the extremities, as well as loss of bowel and/or bladder control, and sexual function.
Brown-Sequard Syndrome: An injury resulting in damage to one side of the spinal cord. Symptoms are usually more pronounced on one side of the body;
Tetraplegia: These injuries – also referred to as “quadriplegia”, are caused by damage to the cervical spinal cord. They are the most severe, producing paralysis of all limbs. Tetraplegia eliminates all movement below the neck. In some cases, it also results in loss of bladder and bowel control, respiratory function, and other bodily functions.
Paraplegia: The result of damage to the thoracic spinal cord. All sensation and movement on the lower half of the body (including the legs) is lost.
Triplegia: This causes loss of sensation and movement in one arm and both legs, and is typically the product of an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Injuries below the lumbar spinal cord do not typically produce symptoms of paralysis or loss of sensation. They can, however, produce nerve pain, reduce function in some areas of the body, and require multiple surgeries to regain function. Injuries to the sacral spinal cord, for instance, can interfere with bowel and bladder function, cause sexual problems, and produce weakness in the hips or legs. In rare cases, sacral spinal cord injury survivors suffer temporary or partial paralysis.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries. Spinal cord injuries are both life altering and life threatening. The long term prognosis depends on the degree of severity of the injury, the quality of medical care, the psychological health of the victim, as well as other factors. Some common spinal cord injury symptoms include:
Paralysis of varying degrees;
Difficulty breathing, resulting in dependency on a respirator;
Pneumonia; over half of all cervical spinal cord injury patients experience recurring bouts of pneumonia;
Loss of bladder and/or bowel control;
Loss of libido or sexual function and infertility;
Muscle atrophy, along with chronic muscle aches and pain;
Among The Leading Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries:
Auto Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents can be devastating. The high speeds and massive weight of the vehicles involved can render the available safety protection insufficient. The victims may suffer many different types of injuries, the including those to the spine.
Fall Accidents: Falls can cause many types of injuries, including damage to the spinal cord.
Construction Site Accidents: Spinal cord injuries can result from falls from heights, such as a ladder, scaffolding, or other elevated area of the build site; falling objects at a construction site can also cause these debilitating injuries.
Motorcycle Accidents: Even when a cautious motorcycle rider obeys the rules of the road, and takes care to wear a helmet, these traumatic accidents can result in life altering spinal cord injuries. Statistics show that being rear-ended while on a motorcycle has one of the highest chances of causing motorcycle-related spinal cord trauma.
Medical Error: Anytime there is surgery near the spinal cord, surgeons must take all reasonable measures to ensure that the spinal cord is adequately protected. The failure to protect the spinal cord can cause profound nerve damage and severe pain.
Spinal Injections: In certain cases, physicians will inject steroids or other medication directly into areas near the spinal cord to alleviate pain. When the steroids are injected directly into the spinal cord, it can cause immediate nerve damage to the upper or lower extremities.
Failing to properly affix screws or plates to the vertebrae during cervical spine surgery. When these materials loosen and “migrate” to other parts of the spinal column, permanent injury, resulting in debilitating pain can result.
Birth Injuries: Blunt force trauma (such as bruise, contusion or complete tear) can affect the spine of the infant.
The failure to diagnosis (or misdiagnose) spina bifida. This places the infant at risk if the delivery team is unaware of the condition, and touches or damages the spinal column nerves.
A stressful delivery can also result in damage to the spine. Traction on the infant’s trunk, rotational stress to the spinal axis, and hyperextension of the fetal head in abnormal birthing positions (breech and face-first, also known as “turtle syndrome”) can all cause permanent spinal injuries.
The spinal cord may also be overstretched during delivery.
Bicycle Accidents: Injuries sustained by cyclists tend to be especially serious. Cyclists have little protection and are often traveling at high speeds when the collision occurs. While helmets may protect the skull and brain, they provide no protection to the rider’s neck or back, leaving the cyclist prone to life altering spinal cord injuries.
Assault and Other Acts of Violence. Some injuries that result in damage to the spinal cord are caused by violent acts, like fights. In these situations, the bad act is no accident, but rather intentional violence. In addition to the monetary compensation that can be recovered in a civil lawsuit, potential criminal charges may also be brought against the perpetrator.
Pedestrian Accidents: When a pedestrian is struck by a car, truck, or SUV, the trauma is life-threatening. The size and weight of the offending vehicle, combined with the velocity results in blunt force trauma that can shatter the victims’ spine.
It is crucial that you select the right law firm to handle your spinal injury case.
Proving the victim’s damages in a spinal cord injury case requires extensive testimony from several highly qualified expert witnesses. This expert testimony is needed to prove the physical, financial, psychological and emotional harm suffered by the plaintiff, and his or her family.
This multidisciplinary team of experts can include forensic economists, and medical experts from several subspecialties such as neurology, orthopedics, psychology, psychiatry, surgery, life care planner(s), vocational rehabilitation specialists, and economists, just to name a few.
This highly skilled, coordinated team of experts is crucial to prove plaintiff’s damages, as well as to help the victim and his or her family develop a comprehensive future life care plan.
The cost of prosecuting these cases is astronomical. As such, selecting the right attorney is one of the most important decisions a spinal cord injury victim will ever make. Only highly experienced trial attorneys with the resources to front the costs of properly preparing and presenting the case should be retained.
Personal Injury Is All We Do: There are many factors that determine whether an accident victim is entitled to monetary compensation. Our wealth of experience in this area will ensure that you get the maximum amount possible for your pain and suffering. The passion we feel for getting victims the justice they deserve, is evident in every aspect of our representation. We are immersed in personal injury law, and up to date on any changes in the law that can affect your claim.
One-On-One Consultation: We will meet in person to discuss the facts surrounding the attack in detail, and discuss all of your options. I will be the lawyer you see on day one and the lawyer that is by your side until the conclusion of your case.
Aggressive Representation: I will negotiate with the other side when it is in your best interest, or fight them in court – all the way to trial if necessary – to deliver justice.
Insider Knowledge of Big Insurance: I started my career working for a huge insurance company and will use that experience to head off their attempts to minimize, deny, or destroy your claim.
You Will Always Be Treated Like a Person, Not Just Another File: I will return your calls personally. I will take the time to explain things in a clear, concise way; I will listen to your questions and concerns. You will be made to understand what is happening with your case every step of the way.
Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Make out an accident report stating your version of what happened.
Do not – under any circumstances – sign anything,
including any accident or incident report(s) made out by someone else.
Do not allow anyone to take a recorded statement from you until you contact us.
Take pictures of your injuries (cuts, bruises, burns, scarring, stitches, staples, etc.).
Take clear color photos showing whatever caused your accident from several different angles,
and varying distances in daylight.
If you have not already done so, get to an emergency room to be examined immediately
so that the appropriate tests can be performed to determine the extent of your injuries.
Contact your family doctor right away to get prescriptions for any necessary pain medication,
as well as referrals to see the appropriate specialists (i.e Orthopedist, Neurologist, Chiropractor, Physical therapist, etc.).
See to it that you get the appropriate diagnostic tests (such as X-Rays, MRI’s, or CT-Scans)
performed before too much time passes. The doctors or other health care providers who examine you
will be able to inform you which test(s) are applicable based on the symptoms you are experiencing.
If you are unable to work due to your injuries, get a letter of disability
from your treating physician(s) and/or chiropractor.
Keep track of any time you missed from work as a result of your injuries, as well as your lost wages.
Keep track of any out of pocket expenses you incur related to your injuries (co-pays, deductibles, etc.).
Keep a log or journal, to record the frequency of your treatment, as well as the pain you are experiencing,
making sure to note all of the specific parts of your body that hurt, along with the frequency and severity of the pain.
Do not speak to anyone about your case until you consult with us to protect your rights under the law. We will consult with you at no cost or obligation, to see if you have a case that is worth pursuing. Then we will advise you as to the available options and give you our professional opinion as to which strategy is best suited to your particular case.
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