Serious or catastrophic injuries can completely upend someone’s life. For most people who end up the victim of an accident, they may only be looking at weeks or months of recovery. When trauma to the neck and back are involved, an active, hardworking parent could go from supporting their family to being wheelchair-bound and needing round-the-clock care. If you or someone you loved is in a situation like that, a spinal cord injury lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help.
What Type of Accidents Cause Spine Injuries?
The spinal cord can be damaged in any type of accident, but there are some that are more common than others, including the following:
- Car Accidents. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the largest proportion of spinal cord injuries are the result of car accidents. This is especially true in head-on collisions and T-bone accidents.
- Falls. Nearly 25 percent of back injuries are the result of slip and fall accidents. This is more common with the elderly population.
- Sports Injuries. While any athlete can get injured, spinal cord injuries happen more often in contact sports like football and ice hockey.
- Violence. Upwards of 13 percent of spine injuries are from violent encounters. Most incidents involve gunshot wounds and knife wounds.
- Diseases. Diseases that can result in damage to the spine include cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammation of the spinal cord.
When someone’s spine is damaged in one of the above accidents, they may have sustained damage to their brain and central nervous system or their spine’s nerve fibers. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spine. The tracts in the spinal cord send messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When those tracts are damaged, those signals won’t be sent clearly or at all. When it comes to nerve fiber damage, the damage can impact part or all of the corresponding muscles and nerves below the injury site.
In addition to those accidents, there are certain risk factors associated with spinal cord trauma. Those factors include being male, being between the age of 16 and 30, being older than 65, engaging in dangerous behavior, and having a bone or joint disorder.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Your ability to control your limbs is given by a functioning spinal cord. When that area of the body is damaged, you may suffer from varying degrees of paralysis or immobility. The severity of a spinal cord injury is usually separated into two categories: complete and incomplete. A complete injury is when all feeling and motor function are lost below the spinal cord injury. An incomplete injury means a person will have some movement control or sensory function below the affected area.
Common side effects of spinal cord injuries include loss of movement, altered sensation to heat, cold, or touch, loss of bowel or bladder control, spasms, changes in sexual function, pain caused by damage to the spinal cord’s nerve fibers, and difficulty breathing or clearing secretions from the lungs.
When paralysis is an effect of a spinal cord injury, that is also separated into two categories known as tetraplegia and paraplegia. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, means that a person’s arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected by their injury. With paraplegia, only the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected.
The Cost of Treating a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are among the most expensive to treat because of the ongoing care required. The cost varies from patient to patient, as everyone’s situation is different, but most individuals are left with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in medical debt, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.
For example, a patient with any level of incomplete motor function, can expect upwards of $370,000 in medical care their first year and $42,000 in medical care each subsequent year. For someone who has a high level of tetraplegia, they will be looking at more than $1 million in their first year and nearly $200,000 for each subsequent year.
Even with health insurance, patients can still be left with an overwhelming amount of medical debt. As a result, they could lose their belongings, home, and livelihood. When someone else caused their accident, however, an injury claim can be a way for that person to pay off their old medical bills and afford the care they need in the future.
Do You Have a Valid Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
Spinal cord injury claims are typically based on the concept of negligence. If, for example, you were in a car accident with a drunk driver, you can take action to prove they are legally responsible for your injuries. Your lawyer will help you build a claim with the proper evidence, so there is little room for contributory or comparative negligence defenses.
Claims are also filed when a defective product causes a spine injury. If a company designed, manufactured, or sold a device that caused your injury, you can look to hold them accountable. Depending on the product, however, they could claim you assumed the risk, and they should not be held liable.
Regardless of who is responsible for your accident, Thomas Law Offices can take the necessary steps to file a strong case on your behalf.
The Key to Filing a Successful Claim
While you can attempt to manage a personal injury claim on your own, you run the risk of jeopardizing your compensation. That is why it’s crucial to have an attorney by your side. Not only will they ensure you understand your rights and obligations as a plaintiff, but they will be able to handle the paperwork and phone calls with insurance companies to ensure nothing is said that would reduce the value of your case.
Thomas Law Offices is dedicated to helping spinal cord injury victims get what they need to move past their accident and establish a new normal. As your legal representative, your lawyer will investigate your accident, gather the evidence need to prove liability, and fairly value your claim to give you the best chance at success.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
A neck or back injury that results in spinal column damage can completely change the course of a person’s life. If you’ve been injured, a spinal cord injury lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help. We have extensive experience representing accident victims, and we’re prepared to take your case on next.
Spinal cord injury claims vary in complexity depending on the type of accident, which is why it’s important to have an attorney by your side. Whether you’re going to be dealing with an extended recovery or a life-altering condition, you deserve compensation to manage those related medical expenses as well as your diminished earning capacity.
If you’re ready to pursue a claim or are looking to learn more about your options, contact our law firm today. We’ll review what you’ve been through and advise you on how best to proceed.