Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injury is a common event. In the United States, there are approximately 285,000 people living with spinal cord injuries and there are about 17,500 new spinal cord injuries every year. Spinal cord injuries can have a devastating impact on the lives of victims and their loved ones, possibly resulting in permanent disability or paralysis, which may require a lifetime of care. The two most common causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents and falls, many of which occur because of the negligent or reckless actions of others. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact our firm today. We have years of experience representing California accident victims and helping them hold the person or party found at fault in the accident liable for damages.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury involves damage to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Spinal cord injuries may occur in combination with, but are very different from, back injuries. The specific characteristics of a spinal cord injury can vary a great deal depending on the section of the spinal that is damaged. There are four main sections of the spinal cord – cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral – and each section is responsible for protecting a different group of nerves that control specific regions of the body.
- Cervical spinal cord injuries can result in a loss of function in the arms, hands, trunk and legs
- Thoracic spinal cord injuries can result in a loss of function in the trunk and legs
- Lumbar spinal cord injuries can result in a loss of function in the hips and legs
- Sacral spinal cord injuries can result in a loss of function in the hips and legs
Complete vs Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
The severity of the spinal cord injury plays a significant role in the resulting loss of function and/or sensation. For instance, there is a big difference between spinal cord injuries that are complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury causes permanent damage to the spinal cord, typically resulting in paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower body) or quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs). It is important to note that the spinal cord does not have to be completely severed for a loss of function to occur. An incomplete spinal cord injury is characterized by partial damage to the spinal cord and while individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury may suffer paralysis, they may also retain some feeling below the site of the injury.
Possible Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The most frequent causes of spinal cord injuries are trauma or disease. A traumatic spinal cord injury can occur in any situation where there is a sudden and severe blow or cut to the spine, such as in a car accident, fall or sports accident. The following are some possible causes of traumatic spinal cord injuries:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Defective products
Long-Term Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe injuries accident victims can sustain. They often result in a permanent loss of strength, mobility and sensation affecting the parts of the body located below the injury site. Depending on the location of the spinal cord injury, that may mean a loss of function in the legs and/or arms and other parts of the body, such as the bladder and bowel. Some victims of spinal cord injuries are unable to breathe on their own and require a ventilator. Due to the traumatic nature of this type of injury, medical complications following a spinal cord injury are both common and severe. They may include cardiovascular problems, urinary complications, sexual dysfunction, musculoskeletal complications, pressure ulcers, gastrointestinal complications and neurologic deterioration, among other long-term complications.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Legal Liability
Any time a spinal cord injury is caused by the negligence of another person or entity, the injured victim has the right to hold that person or entity liable for damages. For instance, if you suffer a spinal cord injury in a California car accident caused by a driver who was distracted by his cell phone, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault driver for your losses. If you are injured in a swimming pool accident that could have been avoided had the pool owner taken proper care to keep the pool free of hazards, you may have a premises liability claim against the pool or property owner. If you sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident and your injury was caused by a defective product, such as a faulty seatbelt, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the product manufacturer. The process of filing a personal injury claim and recovering compensation after an accident can be challenging, especially if you are injured. That is why we always recommend consulting an attorney to discuss your legal options.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Advancements in medicine and technology have made it so that many victims of spinal cord injuries are able to lead productive, independent lives with the help of surgery, rehabilitation and assistive devices. Still, the repercussions of a spinal cord injury can be severe and long-lasting, leaving many victims and their loved ones to struggle with costly hospital bills, lost wages, a loss of future earning capacity, loss of consortium and the need for long-term medical care, among other losses. Our California personal injury attorneys firmly believe that victims of spinal cord injuries caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person deserve to be fairly compensated for their past, current and future losses and we would be happy to assist you in pursuing the financial compensation you and your loved ones deserve. Contact our firm today to speak to one of our spinal cord injury attorneys about your claim.