Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is one of the most serious injuries that a person can experience. Permanent paralysis is the most serious consequence but even less severe spinal cord injuries can leave the victim with a permanent loss of function. A spinal cord injury is bad enough, but it is especially bad if it was caused by the negligence of another person. When someone acts in a reckless, careless, and quite frankly, selfish manner, it can have dire consequences for anyone they encounter. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury, then extensive medical treatment and special equipment will be needed. It would add insult to injury if you had to pay for the medical treatment and equipment yourself, but fortunately, you do not have to.
At the Harrison Law Group, we represent people who have suffered all kinds of personal injuries and we fight to get them the compensation that they deserve. So if we represent you we will use our considerable legal experience and do all that we can to ensure that you receive a fair settlement that will take care of all of your medical needs. There is nothing that we can do to reverse the damage done by the negligent individual, but we will do all that we can to relieve at least some of the suffering that they caused.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury is one that directly affects the spinal cord, not just the vertebrae surrounding it. When the spinal cord is injured, it can result in a loss of sensation and mobility in different parts of the body. The extent of that loss of feeling and mobility depends on the extent of the spinal cord injury. Damage to the spinal cord can be caused by some diseases like polio, but it is generally caused by some sort of impacts like a car accident, a heavy fall, or a gunshot.
The spinal cord does not have to be completely severed for paralysis and loss of function to occur, in most cases damage to the spinal cord results in those conditions. Damage to the back or to the neck does not automatically mean that a person suffers damage to their spinal cord. In many such injuries, only the bones are damaged and the spinal cord is unaffected by the damage. That means the injured individual will not suffer any loss of function once the bones heal.
The Types of Spinal Cord Injury
There are four different classifications of spinal cord injury and they are based on how high up the vertebrae the spinal cord injury occurs. The higher the injury, the greater the loss of function experienced by the injured person. The different types of spinal cord injuries are as follows:
Cervical Injuries – These injuries occur in the neck area and can cause quadriplegia, which is a loss of function in the arms and legs.
Thoracic Injuries – The thoracic region is in the chest area where the ribs are located. Damage to the spinal cord in this area can cause paralysis in the chest and legs, otherwise known as paraplegia.
Lumbar Injuries – This is the area between the lower back and the pelvis. Injuries to the spinal cord in this area can lead to a loss of function in the hips and legs.
Sacral Injuries – This area runs from the pelvis to the end of the spinal column and the result of injuries to the spinal cord in this region are similar to lumbar injuries in that they also affect the hips and legs.
Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
In addition to the four types of spinal cord injuries, there can also be complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury – This is when there is no function or sensation below the level of the injury.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury – An incomplete injury is when there is some function or sensation below the level of the injury. The person may have some sensation in a body part even if they cannot move that body part. They may be able to move one body part more than the other or one side of their body may be functioning more than the other. Advances in medicine mean that incomplete spinal cord injuries are increasingly more common.
The Consequences of a Spinal Cord Injury
In addition to the paralysis experienced by people with spinal cord injuries, there are other complications that can arise. People who have spinal cord injuries can develop secondary conditions like deep vein thrombosis, pressure ulcers, respiratory problems, urinary tract infections, and other complications. Additionally, people with spinal cord injuries have a higher mortality risk than those who do not; they are two to five times more likely to die prematurely than people who do not have spinal cord injuries.
Spinal Cord Injury Care and Equipment
Special equipment is needed to take care of people with spinal cord injuries or to have those people take care of themselves. They will need mobility devices that can help them get around such as wheelchairs, canes, or crutches. Respiratory equipment may also be necessary since many people with spinal cord injuries have, or develop breathing problems. Special beds may also be needed as well as transfer devices to get in and out of the bed, plus positioning devices to keep the person stable and avoid skin and muscle problems. Overall, a lot of special equipment is needed to take care of a person who has a spinal cord injury.
The Harrison Law Group Helps Everyone Who Has a Spinal Cord Injury
If you suffered a spinal cord injury because of someone’s gross negligence, then we will do everything in our power to make sure that you get the compensation that you need to cover your expenses. We know that those expenses can be very high, which is why we will negotiate with the insurance companies to make sure that they don’t give you a lower settlement than you need. There is nothing that we can do to alleviate the physical consequences of a spinal cord injury, but we will do everything we can to ensure that no one has to suffer from the financial consequences of their injury as well.