Spinal cord injuries are very severe and often leave victims paralyzed in the lower half of the body (paraplegic) or in all four limbs (quadriplegic).
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is trauma to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal column. These injuries can cause permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below damaged area. Due to their severity, they are usually considered catastrophic injuries.
The spinal cord is the nerve center of the body, acting like an electrical connection from the brain. Most of bodily functions, including breathing, body temperature, bladder, and sexual activity, require a fully functional spinal cord. As a result, accident victims can suffer a broad range of permanent and serious health problems.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are usually the result of a traumatic injury or blow to the spine. Common causes of spinal cord injury are:
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 result in a medical malpractice case.
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.
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 the consequences of an injury can be, physically, emotionally, and financially. The Mayo Clinic states that SCIs are a result of damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column or the spinal cord itself.
Furthermore, spinal cord damage from an accident won’t always be immediately apparent. The Mayo Clinic also says that additional damage accumulates over days and weeks as bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord.
Your spinal cord, together with your brain, comprise your central nervous system (CNS). It’s responsible for coordinating your body’s movements and sensations. And if you suffer a severe back injury, your body’s ability to send and receive messages from your brain may be impaired.
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.
An incomplete SCI happens when the spinal cord is not completely damaged or disrupted. In this case, some motor or sensory functions are preserved below the injury.
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.
In comparison, complete spinal cord injuries result in all signals from the brain to the body (below the nerve damage) being obstructed, and 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. These can include:
In many cases, these conditions aren’t adequately covered by health insurance.
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:
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.
If you’ve suffered an injury to your spineal 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.
However, as a victim of an SCI, you face uniquely complex challenges. As a result, you’re 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 an experienced legal expert. 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:
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.
The Hartman Law Firm, LLC in Charleston, South Carolina has expertise in the intricacies of spinal cord injury cases. Frank Hartman will 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, LLC today. Frank cares about your spinal cord injury case, and he can help.
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to negligence, you should call a local injury lawyer right away. As your attorney, Frank Hartman will tell you your rights, and what to expect from the personal injury claim process. He will also discuss your strategy for getting the settlement you deserve.