Your Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in full or partial loss of motor control and sensation. Spinal cord injuries are often considered Catastrophic Injuries due to their severity.
Spinal cord injuries are very severe and often leave victims paralyzed in the lower parts of the body (paraplegic) or in all four limbs (quadriplegic). Because the spinal cord is responsible for a range of bodily functions including like breathing, body temperature, bladder, and sexual functioning, accident victims can suffer a broad range of permanent and serious health problems.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury is usually the result of a traumatic injury or blow to the spine. Common causes of spinal cord injury are:
- motor vehicle accidents
- acts of violence, such as gun shot wounds
- recreational sports activities
Spinal cord injury can also be caused by errors that occur during risky surgical procedures involving the back and the neck. In some of these cases, a spinal cord injury may have been avoidable, and the error might rise to the level of medical malpractice.
Damages for SCI claims can exceed recovery of medical expenses and pain and suffering. They may include compensation for the long-term effects, such as rehabilitation and home aid, cost of wheelchairs and other devices, and the expense of adding ramps and stair lifts to the victim’s home and transportation. Spouses of SCI victims may also sue for loss of household services, loss of consortium, and loss of spousal intimacy.
Spinal Cord Injury: Your Life Changed in the Blink of an Eye
A spinal cord injury, like any serious injury, can happen without warning and can change your life forever. It’s difficult to anticipate just how dramatic such an injury can be – physically, emotionally, and financially. The Mayo Clinic relays that SCIs are a result of damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column or the spinal cord itself. Further, not all spinal cord damage incurred in an accident will always be immediately apparent. The Mayo Clinic continues that additional damage often accrues over days and weeks as bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and fluid accumulation occur in and around your spinal cord.
Your spinal cord, together with your brain, comprise your central nervous system (CNS), and your spinal cord coordinates your body’s movements and sensations. If your spinal cord is injured, your body’s ability to send and receive messages from your brain is also impaired, causing dysfunction in your body’s sensory functions, motor functions, and those autonomic functions that are below the injury level. This often results in some degree of paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries, or spinal cord trauma, are far more than just a single event. The blunt force of the initial accident causes damage or death to spinal nerve cells. In the hours and days that follow the accident, an onslaught of secondary events ensues. These often include diminished oxygen and released toxins at the injury site, which can cause further spinal-cord damage.
Incomplete and Complete SCIs
With incomplete spinal-injuries, because the spinal cord is not completely damaged or disrupted, some motor or sensory function is preserved below the injury level. Victims of such injuries can continue to regain function for more than 18 months after the injury, and some people continue to regain function for years. With complete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, all signals from the brain to the body (below the nerve damage) are obstructed, and some paralysis is almost certain. Living with paralysis or any spinal cord injury is costly, and these conditions commonly incur complex secondary or chronic health conditions – such as pneumonia, respiratory problems, septicemia, and heart disease – that often aren’t adequately covered by health insurance.
Spinal Cord Injury Research and Resources
Spinal cord injuries are always serious, but advances in scientific research are providing victims with new hope that spinal cord repair is on the horizon. Advocacy groups like the United Spinal Association, through their New Beginnings program, provide SCI victims with support, informative research, and valuable resources on a variety of topics:
- Injury-based rehabilitation and recovery;
- Housing options;
- Home modifications;
- Wheelchairs and mobility devices;
- Avocations and recreation;
- Transportation; and
- Enhanced health and wellness.
The United Spinal Association also has important resources for caregivers. Its ongoing goal is to help people with SCIs, their loved ones, and their caregivers to better prepare for and cope with the myriad of challenges associated with catastrophic injuries. By providing these important resources, the United Spinal Association provides valuable resources while enabling and encouraging SCI victims to focus on their path to recovery.
The SCI Injury Legal Process
If you’ve suffered a debilitating injury, like a spinal cord injury, you know how traumatic that is. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you’re likely to be entitled to legal compensation. As a victim of an SCI, you face uniquely complex challenges, but you are unlikely to retain the keen, complex, and nuanced decision-making capabilities that you will need in the days and months ahead. To make matters worse, your health insurance provider may be pushing for a quick settlement that is probably not in your best interest and that probably doesn’t begin to take into consideration the full extent of your injury, how your injury will develop, and your necessary and ongoing expenses.
To settle your claim in a way that preserves your rights, you need experience, expertise, skill, know how, and dedication. Insurance companies are in the business of paying out as little as they can get away with. Secure your rights by retaining a reputable law firm that will provide you with the fully loaded legal defense that your case deserves. Your legal representation should have the resources to fully investigate and ascertain the detailed circumstances of your SCI, to determine how best to deal with your insurance provider, and to adequately demonstrate the full value of your SCI claim.
The right legal team will go beyond the basics and will endeavor to ensure that your case is airtight. This includes running interference with your health insurance provider and so much more:
- Enlisting and working with medical experts who have the expertise to review your case records and produce a succinct narrative regarding your SCI and the ultimate extent of its effect on your life as you formerly knew it;
- Gathering and compiling complete and accurate evidence as it relates to your unique case, including photos, videos, witness statements, accident reports, police records, or whatever else that might entail. The right legal firm will allow no stone to be left unturned.
- Processing an ongoing plan for your continued life care that identifies the comprehensive expense of your medical care, healthcare needs, medical assistance, housing and/or necessary housing adaptations, and whatever else your claim may necessitate.
Your Charleston SCI Case
Any injury involving your spinal cord is serious and is likely to have long lasting repercussions of an indeterminate nature. Your SCI claim is crucial to your future and is far too important to be left to chance or to the whims of your insurer. Contact an experienced Charleston, South Carolina legal firm with expertise in the intricacies of spinal cord injury cases as soon as you can. Allow your legal team to carefully construct your case by finding the evidence and expertly fitting it together in support of your claim, your rights, and your future. Call the Hartman Law Firm, L.L.C. today; we care about your spinal cord injury case, and we can help.
If you or someone you know suffers from a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to recover damages. Determining your legal rights can be complicated, and it may be unclear who to bring a claim against, and to what sort of damages you are entitled. For these reasons and more it is critical to consult with an experienced attorney.
Call us today at 843-300-7600 or fill out our online form.