Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Spinal cord injuries resulting from an accident can permanently change your life. You may have lifelong disabilities or impairments, from chronic pain to paralysis. You probably have significant medical expenses related to your injury, and you may be wondering who’s going to be responsible for paying your bills when your accident happened through no fault of your own. An Alabama spinal cord injury lawyer at Belt & Bruner, P.C. can help you answer these questions and more.
It’s important to know that you may have legal options for obtaining compensation for your accident-related spinal cord injuries. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for your:
- Medical costs
- Loss of income
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of relationship with your spouse
Spinal cord injuries are most likely to occur during middle age. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reports that the average age at the time of injury is 41 years old. Males are more likely to suffer a spinal cord injury. Also, more than half of individuals who suffer such an injury are single and employed at the time of the injury.
Each year about 12,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries can result from traumatic events, such as an accident, and non-traumatic, such as arthritis or cancer. However, certain causes are more common than others. These include:
- Car Accidents: According to the Mayo Clinic, about 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries every year are from vehicle accidents. Considering the amount of force exerted on drivers and passengers during a collision, it isn’t surprising that a person’s spine can suffer on impact.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcyclists have very little protection from the road and other cars and objects, thus they are at particular risk in collisions. Spinal cord injuries caused by motorcycle accidents can result in severe paralysis and multi-million-dollar medical costs.
- Truck Accidents: When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, spinal cord injuries are common. It’s important to get medical treatment after a severe accident. Recovery may take weeks, months, or even years.
- Slip and Fall: Falling accounts for about one-fourth of spinal cord injuries and disproportionately affects people over the age of 65. Falling is a major issue for elderly individuals because it often leads to injuries such as broken hips or spine injuries.
- Assault: The next most common cause of spinal cord injuries is violence, including physical assaults, knifings, and gunshot wounds. These are not accidents and could have been prevented. The person who caused your injuries can still be held accountable.
If you suffered a spinal cord or compression injury because of someone else’s actions, contact a spinal cord injury lawyer at Belt & Bruner, P.C. to learn about your rights. Our firm has handled numerous serious spinal cord injury cases and can explain your options and help you fight for the compensation that can aid your recovery from this type of devastating injury.
Long-term Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury can be severe and require significant medical treatment. The NSCISC in Alabama says the lifetime cost of health care and living expenses for someone with a spinal cord injury can total between $1,517,806 and $4,543,182 for someone injured when they are 25 years of age. These costs can be devastating.
Short-and long-term physical effects of a spinal cord injury depend heavily on the location and type of the injury, but generally, include:
- Chronic pain: A spinal cord injury often leads to a great deal of pain in the back and other affected areas of the body. The patient may have more than one fractured vertebrae and will likely require at least one surgery. Because of broken bones & nerve damage, patients can expect to deal with pain for a significant period of time.
- Nerve damage: The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and connects to other nerves that spread across the torso, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Patients with spinal cord injuries can feel odd, uncomfortable, and painful sensations throughout their body. In addition to pain from nerve damage, people are likely to lose sensation or feel decreased sensation in parts of their body below the injury.
- Bladder and bowel issues: Many people with severe spinal cord injuries lose some sort of bladder and bowel control. The person many become incontinent or retain urine in their bladder. The level of control lost depends on the severity and location of the injury. People who retain some control in upper arm and body movement can often use assistive devices on their own.
- Mobility difficulties: Even if people do not lose all function in their legs and hips with a severe spinal cord injury, they may still have difficulty walking unassisted. They may need to use a wheelchair or cane to move around. Nerve damage in their legs and feet can affect feeling, which can also making walking cumbersome.
- Paralysis: In severe cases, people with spinal cord injuries can become entirely paralyzed below their injury to the point where they need assistance breathing.
Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Damage
The amount of damage caused by a spinal cord injury is referred to as complete or incomplete. A complete injury means all sensation and function below the injury site is lost. Incomplete means some feeling and physical ability remains. How much sensation and movement a person might recover in the coming months and years depends on many factors.
How Location Affects Paralyzing Spinal Cord Injuries
Where the injury occurs in the spine is very relevant to the short- and long-term effects of the wound. The most severe spinal cord injuries are often those that occur at the top of the spine, in the C1-C4 vertebrae. Paralysis results from the point of injury and below, which means an injury in this region may lead to paralysis in the arms, hands, torso, legs, and feet, also known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Patients may not be able to breathe on their own or control their own bladder or bowels.
Injuries in the C5-C9 vertebrae range can be just as serious, though the physical results depend on the exact location of the injury. Patients with a paralyzing injury in one or more of these vertebrae may have more arm control than with a higher injury location. Depending on the amount of control in their arms and hands, they may be able to use a manual or motorized wheelchair. They will have little control over their bladder or bowels.
Paralyzing injuries in the middle, thoracic section of the spine can have a wide range of results. Depending on the exact location of the injury, individuals can lose feeling in the corresponding parts of their chest, abdomen, and back. However, they usually have normal upper arm feeling and movement, which allows them to use a wheelchair and drive a modified vehicle.
People can also injure their spine in the lumbar and sacral regions, which are the lower back and very bottom of the spine. Injuries here can result in paralysis in the hips and legs and loss of bladder and bowel control. However, someone with an injury only in the sacral region, S1-S5, may still be able to walk but can have mobility issues.
A Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you suffered a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s actions, you may have a personal injury claim against them. Whether your injury occurred because the other person caused a car accident, slip-and-fall, or some other type of accident, you deserve to financially recover.
Our team of spinal cord injury lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. can guide you through the legal process and do our best to prove the other person’s negligence. Our goal is to obtain the maximum available compensation for your case so that you can get the medical and other resources you need to improve your life after a serious spinal cord injury.
For more information on how we can help, call 205-933-1500 to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our serious injury attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case.