Spinal cord injuries can be devastating, often leaving victims severely impaired and even paralyzed. In some cases, complications can lead to death or shorten a person’s life span. Every year, nearly 17,000 spinal cord injuries are reported in the U.S., with the majority of the injuries resulting from traffic accidents.
If you sustain a spinal cord injury (sci) in a car accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your case to ensure that you are awarded the full amount of compensation you deserve. The aftermath of a spinal cord injury can lead to medical bills piling up in addition to the pain and suffering you will experience both physically and emotionally. With the help of an attorney, you can get the compensation you need to cover all of your medical expenses and other damages to help you recover as comfortably as possible.
At Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery, our team will do everything we can to help you and your loved ones seek justice and get the compensation you need to recover and move on with your life. We will walk you through your case and the legal process to ensure all of the necessary steps are taken to win your case. Recovering from a spinal cord injury can be challenging, but our compassionate team of experts can do the hard work for you so you can focus on what matters most—your health and recovery.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
Injury to the spinal column occurs when damage is sustained along the delicate cord beneath the vertebra down your back or the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. Your spinal cord is what sends messages from your brain to the rest of your body, so when it is damaged, it can result in reduced functionality and paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries can occur for various reasons, including falls, sporting accidents, assault, disease, and more. But one of the most common causes of these injuries is car accidents. The violent and forceful impact that your body experiences in a car crash can easily injure your back and damage your spine. Motorcyclists are at especially high risk of sustaining spinal cord injuries as they have less protection when they get into an accident.
If you were injured in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact our PBAR legal team for a free case review to discuss your legal options for recovering money for your injuries and losses.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are typically classified in one of two ways: Complete and Incomplete.
- Complete: A spinal cord injury is classified as complete if the victim loses all feeling and motor control below the spinal cord injury.
- Incomplete: If the victim still has partial sensation or control below the injury, the spinal cord injury is classified as incomplete.
Beyond the initial classification, there are four levels or types of damages to the spinal cord:
- Cervical: Cervical spinal cord injuries affect the head and neck area above the shoulders. Injuries to this area of the spine are the most severe and are often fatal.
- Thoracic: Thoracic spinal cord injuries affect the upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal areas. This type of injury can result in some loss of feeling and control.
- Lumbar: Lumbar spinal cord injuries affect the hip and leg area. Often, victims of this type of injury require a wheelchair or leg braces to get around.
- Sacral: Sacral spinal cord injuries affect the hips, back of the legs, pelvis, and buttocks. Victims of this type of injury can usually still walk.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a spinal cord can vary depending on the extent of the injury and the area that was affected. However, general spinal cord symptoms can include:
- Loss of motor function
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- Loss of sexual function and fertility
- Stinging sensations
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme pain in the head, neck, or back
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of balance
Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries
If you suspect any sort of neck, back, or spinal injury, you should seek immediate medical attention. If a spinal cord injury is not stabilized, it can lead to further damage and complications. Avoid muscle movement if possible and call 911 or have someone else call for you.
Spinal cord injuries, even those that are properly treated, can still lead to complications depending on your overall health and condition before the accident occurred and how extensive the injury is. Some of the more severe spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis can negatively impact your quality of life by affecting bodily functions and your overall mental and physical health.
Some of the complications that can arise include:
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Pressure sores
- Circulatory issues
- Respiratory issues
- Low bone density
- Muscle atrophy
- Loss of sexual function
- Chronic pain
Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
To first diagnose a spinal cord injury, doctors will likely ask the patient a series of questions and order several tests, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Once the exact type of spinal cord injury is determined, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatments. Typically, spinal cord damage is irreversible, but surgeries, treatments, and rehabilitation can help. Emergency actions, like surgery, are often used to minimize and prevent further damage.
The various treatments for spinal cord injuries can include:
- Assistance devices (wheelchairs, braces, etc.)
- Electronic stimulation
- Electronic aids
Pursuing Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury
Because spinal cord damage is irreversible and will likely alter the way you live the rest of your life, you must work with an attorney to ensure you are awarded as much compensation as possible to help alleviate the burden of dealing with such a devastating injury. Of course, no amount of money can ever completely take away your pain and suffering—placing a monetary value on this type of suffering is impossible—but damages awarded in an injury claim can at least help make your life somewhat easier and more comfortable.
Damages you can be awarded for a spinal cord injury include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Travel expenses (if you have to travel far for treatments)
- Various out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability and disfigurement
Proving Fault in Spinal Cord Injury Cases
Pursuing a personal injury claim or even filing a lawsuit requires proof of another party’s negligence. If you are going to go after another person or their insurance company for compensation, you will need to have enough to support your claim and prove fault. However, even after fault is proven, insurance companies can still use tactics to try to fight against and deny your claim or reduce your settlement amount.
It is essential for this reason to work with an experienced attorney who can advocate for your rights and help you win your case. An attorney will work with you, guiding you through the process and help you gather as much information and evidence as possible to support your claim.
Evidence that can be used to establish fault can include:
- Photographic evidence or video surveillance from the motor vehicle accident scene
- Physical evidence from the vehicles and any property involved
- Copies of your medical records
- Doctors’ statements
- Medical bills
- Eyewitness statements
- Copies of the police accident report
Our Indianapolis Spinal Injury Lawyers Help Victims Like You!
When you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, you need a compassionate yet aggressive personal injury lawyer who cares about you and will fight for your rights. Let the Poynter & Bucheri Law Office protect you and your family and get you the compensation you need and deserve to recover and move on with your life as comfortably as possible. Contact our PBAR legal team by calling 1-800-265-9881 or 317-780-8000 to schedule a free consultation with an Indianapolis spinal cord injury lawyer.