Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

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Helping Injury Victims in South Carolina Recover Fair Compensation

A spinal cord injury can have a serious, lasting impact on your life. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, nearly 18,000 people sustain spinal cord injuries each year. The impact of a spinal cord injury can range from pain and limited range of motion to paralysis and loss of bodily functions. The exact symptoms vary depending on the type and extent of the injury, but may include:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Loss of strength
  • Pain
  • Numbness and/or tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Temporary or permanent paralysis

A spinal cord injury may also cause symptoms that you would not necessarily associate with your spine. Some examples include:

  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of sexual function

Some spinal cord injuries also make the victim more susceptible to respiratory problems, heart disease, pneumonia, and other medical conditions.

How do Spinal Cord Injuries Happen?

A spinal cord injury can happen in many different ways. Some of the most common include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents
  • Work injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Intentional violence
  • Horseplay
  • Medical malpractice

In many of these situations, someone else may be responsible for your injury. Of course, that depends on the specifics of your case. Some examples in which another party might be responsible for your damages include:

  • When you sustain your injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence
  • When you sustain your injury in a fall that occurred because property was poorly maintained or hazards were not clearly marked
  • When your injury is caused by defective equipment

These are just a few examples of situations in which someone else might be legally liable for your injuries. The best source of information about who may be responsible for your injuries and whether you may be entitled to compensation is an experienced Charleston personal injury attorney.

Why are Spinal Cord Injuries so Dangerous?

Your spinal cord runs from your brain to your lower back, and carries messages from your brain to your body and from parts of your body back to your brain. When damage to the spinal cord interrupts this communication, it can have a significant impact on a wide variety of body functions.

Spinal Cord Injuries Aren’t Always Immediately Apparent

One of the most important things to know about a spinal cord injury is that you may not recognize the seriousness of your injury immediately after a car accident, fall, or other event. Instead, the injury may worsen in the hours or days following the accident, due to inflammation, fluid buildup, diminished oxygen supply, or bleeding around your spinal cord. Too often, people who have suffered a back injury in a car accident, slip and fall accident, sporting event or other traumatic event try to wait out the pain and stiffness.

While it is natural to assume that you might just be stiff and sore after an injury and expect it to work itself out in a few days, the wait and see approach can be very dangerous. If you have been involved in an accident that jarred your spine, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the incident, even if you believe the injury was minor. Delaying treatment can worsen your condition, or transform a temporary injury into a permanent one.

In addition, if it does turn out that you are seriously injured and you didn’t seek medical attention right away, the responsible party may use that against you, arguing that you are responsible for the worsening of your condition. Or, they may argue that the injury wasn’t even caused by the accident they caused, but could have occurred at some point between then and when you saw a doctor.

Adapting After a Spinal Cord Injury

A person who has suffered a spinal cord injury may require significant assistance in the wake of the accident. In some cases, limitations may be long-term or permanent. Therefore, it is especially important that the injured person receives the compensation necessary to provide for losses including:

  • Medical expenses, both of those incurred after the accident and projected ongoing or recurring expenses
  • The cost of physical and occupational therapy necessary to restore function to the extent possible and adapt to limitations
  • The cost of therapy necessary to help the injured person adjust to and accept life changes
  • Lost income and projected lost or diminished future earnings
  • Necessary alterations and equipment, such as remodeling a home to make it wheelchair friendly or purchasing a vehicle that can be operated manually
  • Any additional assistance required such as help in the home and transportation
  • Pain and suffering and loss of quality of life

Advocacy organizations and support groups can assist with the logistics and with the emotional aspects of adapting after a serious injury. However, the best source of financial support for your lifestyle changes and medical expenses is often the party responsible for your injury.

Beware of Quick Settlements in Spinal Cord Injury Cases

After a serious injury, you may be under pressure from all sides to settle quickly. You may be struggling to make your mortgage payments and otherwise keep up with your living expenses after the sudden loss of income. The insurance carrier for the responsible party will likely make a tempting offer, knowing that you could use the quick cash. Your health insurance carrier may even be pushing for a settlement so that they can be reimbursed for medical expenses they’ve covered.

However, it is very difficult to know the extent of a spinal cord injury in the early days after the accident, and it may be impossible to predict what type of long-term care you may require. If the responsible party’s insurance carrier is eager to settle with you, you should see that as a red flag. They are likely hoping that you will enter into a settlement agreement with them before you know the full extent of your injuries. If that happens, and you later require additional surgeries or other medical care, you will be on your own to pay for those services.

When you hire an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer like Frank Hartman soon after your injury, you can avoid much of this stress and conflicting information. When The Hartman Law Firm represents you in a spinal cord injury case or other serious injury case, we make it our business to protect you on all fronts. That includes running interference with insurance companies, counseling you on how to avoid their traps, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses to build the strongest possible case on your behalf, finding and working with the best medical experts for your case, and working with economic experts to demonstrate the full extent of your long-term losses.

Call Attorney Frank Hartman Today

With The Hartman Law Firm, you are never just another case. Attorney Frank Hartman understands the special challenges that someone suffering from a spinal cord injury faces, and cares about your future. Frank will go above and beyond to fight for the compensation you need to rebuild after a serious injury. To learn more about how he can help, call 843.300.7600 right now.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Spinal Cord Injuries?

How Common are Spinal Cord Injuries?

In the United States, about 54 people in every 1,000,000 suffer a spinal cord injury each year. Though that sounds like a small number, it works out to about 18,000 people a year, and hundreds of thousands are currently living with spinal cord injuries. Most of these injuries occur in men, particularly younger men.

What are the Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?

Though spinal cord injuries can occur in many different ways, the two most common causes are motor vehicle accidents (including motorcycle accidents) and serious falls. Automobile rollovers and head-on collisions are particularly dangerous to the spine, though whiplash is most likely to occur in rear-end collisions.

What Kind of Compensation Can You Get for a Spinal Cord Injury?

The compensation available after a spinal cord injury is different in every case. That’s because compensation is based on actual damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. The amount of compensation you receive will also depend in part on whether you were partly responsible for the accident or in some other way partly responsible for your own injuries.

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