Five Things to Know About Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many types of spinal cord injuries, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you or a loved one is dealing with one. However, there are key facts to keep in mind about spinal cord damage and how they impact your life.
We have listed the top five things you need to know about spinal cord injuries below and how our personal injury law firm can help if you’ve been injured.
1. There Are Two Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Medical professionals categorize spinal cord injuries in two ways: complete and incomplete.
Complete spinal cord damage affects both sides of the body. It causes a person to lose sensory and motor function below their damaged spine. Complete injuries are more severe and often result in partial or total paralysis. They most frequently lead to paraplegia (paralysis of the lower half of the body) and quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs).
Incomplete spinal cord damage does not cause total loss of sensation and mobility. These injuries are not as severe as complete spine damage, allowing the spinal cord to continue conveying messages to or from the brain. An incomplete spinal cord injury may lead to partial paralysis in one area while function remains on the other side.
2. There Are Multiple Causes of Spinal Cord Damage
In most cases, spinal cord damage results from forceful trauma to the vertebrae or nerves in the spinal column. The impact can crush, compress, fracture, or dislocate the vertebrae, cutting the spinal cord.
According to MayoClinic, the most common causes of a spinal cord injury in the United States include:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Nearly half of all spinal cord injuries stem from car, truck, or motorcycle collisions.
- Slip and falls: Falling is the number one cause of spinal cord damage in people over 65. It is also a top cause of spinal cord injuries in the workplace, especially among construction workers.
- Violence: Physical assaults and abuse make up 13% of spinal cord injury cases.
- Sports and recreational activities: High-contact sports, such as football and basketball, account for 10% of spinal cord injuries.
- Diseases: Chronic conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer can lead to inflammation along the spine.
3. Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms Can Range From Mild to Life-Changing
There are various spinal cord symptoms you can experience, and they range from mild to debilitating.
Many spinal cord injuries cause:
- Loss of mobility
- Inability to feel sensations (like hot or cold)
- Muscle spasms
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Intense pain around the back or neck
- Chronic coughing
- Difficulty breathing or clearing mucus from the lungs
However, severe symptoms of a spinal cord injury can include:
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Impaired breathing
- Loss of sensation in extremities, such as the hands, toes, fingers, and feet
- Loss of bladder control
- Feeling pressure and discomfort in the head, neck, or upper back
- Weakness in some regions of the body
If your spinal cord damage leads to paralysis, you will need rehabilitative care to learn how to function. You may also require medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, and you may not be able to return to your line of work. In addition, due to these lifestyle changes, one in five spinal cord injury patients develop depression.
4. Spinal Cord Damage Is Expensive to Treat
Spinal cord injuries are often permanent and, therefore, require long-term medical care.
Though there are a few treatment options available, the costs of treating and living with spinal cord injuries can be expensive. They can include:
- Surgery and hospital stays
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Medical supplies such as wheelchairs, braces, and prescription drugs
- Home adaptations
- Continued medical care and checkups
Thus, the costs associated with spine damage can range from $1.2 million to over $5.1 million depending on what age a person sustains their injury and the severity of the damage. If you experience spine damage due to another person or entity, you may be able to sue for your losses and collect compensation to cover treatment costs.
5. You May Be Able to Sue for Your Spinal Cord Damage
Dealing with spinal cord injury symptoms can be overwhelming, but a personal injury lawyer can help you take legal action. By filing an injury claim against the at-fault party, you may be able to recoup economic and non-economic losses.
- Medical care (past, present, and future)
- Lost wages due to recovering from your injuries
- Loss of future income if your injuries prevent you from returning to work
- Transportation costs if you cannot drive due to your spine damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (for your significant other)
A spinal cord injury lawyer will assess your case and determine its merit. From there, they can collect evidence to prove how the liable party’s negligence caused your injury. Finally, your attorney will calculate your total losses, including the costs of future medical care, and demand that you receive a fair settlement from the responsible party or insurance company.
Let Our Personal Injury Lawyers Review Your Spinal Cord Case
Spinal cord injuries are a serious matter, and you deserve to recover fair and reasonable compensation for each and every type of physical, emotional and financial damage that you suffered because of another’s fault. If you believe that you have been the victim of negligence, a spinal cord injury lawyer from Dansker & Aspromonte Associates LLP can help you seek justice. Call us today for a free consultation. Learn more about how our team of personal injury lawyers can fight for you.
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