Spinal Cord Injuries
THE SPINAL CORD IS THE MAIN PATHWAY FOR INFORMATION CONNECTION THE BRAIN AND PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM AND CONTROLLING MANY OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BODY. AS A RESULT, DAMAGE TO THE SPINAL CORD CAN CAUSE LOSS OF SOME OF ALL ABILITY TO CONTROL MOVEMENT AND FEELING BELOW THE INJURY SITE.
The consequences are likely to be severe and may result in permanent disability or loss of movement (paralysis). People who suffer from spinal cord injury often need long-term medical care and rehabilitation, and they face costly medical bills, lost income, a reduced quality of life, and severe depression.
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries are not that uncommon. According to 2013 statistics from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are about 273,000 Americans living with a spinal cord injury, and injuries often keep patients in hospitals for over 110 days for critical care followed by rehabilitation. Approximately 65% of spinal cord injuries are caused by either a vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident.
If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation that may include medical/hospital and rehabilitative costs, lost wages/lost wage horizons, compensation for loss of life’s pleasures, pain and suffering, disfigurement, infliction of emotional distress. However, your case must be handled properly, or you may never receive the settlement you deserve.
Our lawyers at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters know the courts and the system and what needs to be done do to win a good settlement. Our skilled and experienced Pennsylvania spinal cord accident attorneys have represented individuals who have sustained spinal cord injuries of all types. Every case is unique, so we offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your individual situation. Contact us at our office or online today to set up your free consultation.
About the Spinal Cord
The spinal cord runs from the skull down to the tailbone and has three general areas:
- The cervical spine, the upper part of the spine in the neck area;
- The thoracic spine, the middle part of the back; and
- The lumbar spine, the lower part of the back.
There are 31 bones in the spine, called vertebrae, which provide a channel and protection for the spinal cord. Between the vertebrae are discs that act as shock absorbers to allow the spine to flex without damage to the bones. Nerves pass through the channel between the bones, and muscles and ligaments support the whole spinal assembly.
Damage to the Spinal Cord
The spine is complex, and an accident, blow or twist to the back which damages any part of it can cause pain, disability, paralysis or death.
Motor vehicle accidents, falls, violent attacks, birth injuries, and athletic or recreational injuries contribute to spinal cord injuries each year in the U.S., about 12,000 new cases annually.
Spinal cord injuries may be complete or incomplete:
- Complete SCI results in complete paraplegia or complete quadriplegia. Paraplegia involves loss of sensation and movement in the legs, bowel, bladder and sexual function, but arms and hands are not affected. Quadriplegia involves the loss of hand and arm movement as well and may result in the need for a ventilator to assist in breathing.
- Incomplete SCIs involve a loss of some but not all movement and/or feeling.
Symptoms of SCIs vary, depending on the severity and location of the spinal cord injury and whether pressure is put on the nerves. Generally, disability is worst when injury occurs to the upper area of the spine and may be fatal because of inability to breathe.
Common symptoms include:
- Changes in sexual function
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to feel hot or cold
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
- Loss of movement and sensation
- Pain or stinging, tingling or numbness sensation
- Pressure in head, neck or back
- Spasms or exaggerated reflexes.
The type and severity of the SCI determine the degree of impairment and potential for rehabilitation. The nerves of the spinal cord usually do not fuse back together and damage cannot be reversed, so spinal cord accidents often result in permanent disability or loss of movement that requires long-term medical care and rehabilitation.
Rehabilitative costs can be astronomical. In addition to doctor and hospital charges, a person who has suffered a spine injury is likely to require one or more of the following:
- Assistance with feeding, dressing, toileting, etc.
- Physical, occupational, speech, and/or respiratory therapy
- Durable equipment and assistive devices
- Psychological counseling.
Patients may require an acute, subacute or long-term rehabilitation program in a nursing home, an assisted living facility. Patients’ families will suffer from the present and future loss of income, and may require household assistance and counseling in order to bear the burden of care.
Contact us For Help
If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury caused by someone else’s negligence, such as a careless driver, a faulty product, or a negligent manufacturer, physician, property owner or employer, you should seek legal assistance to obtain compensation for these injuries.
Our skilled and experienced Pennsylvania spinal cord accident attorney at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters understands the enormous financial and emotional ramifications of a spinal cord injury and can help victims and their families receive compensation. Our attorneys have spent decades successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss and offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our competent staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.