A spinal cord injury can have life-altering consequences. Because of the risk of permanent impairment and other complications, spinal cord damage is considered a catastrophic injury.
If you sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident or other incident, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, personal care, and future damages.
What Are Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?
It is estimated that 17,810 people will sustain a spinal cord injury each year. Trauma and unintentional accidents are common causes of these severe injuries.
According to research, the leading causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Violence and intentional torts
- Sports and recreational activities
- Medical and surgical malpractice
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
Other causes of spinal cord injuries include construction accidents, defective products, workplace accidents, and diseases. Any personal injury could result in damage to the spinal cord. The severity of the spinal cord injury depends on the location of the injury and the extent of the damage to the spinal cord.
What Types of Spinal Cord Injury Can Occur?
The spinal cord runs from the base of the brain to the lower back. The spinal column surrounds the spinal cord to protect the nerves and soft tissue that make up the spinal cord. Any injury to the spinal cord can disrupt the body’s ability to function.
Generally, there are four types of spinal cord injuries based on the location of the damage:
- Cervical spinal cord injuries occur when the damage is between the C1 and C7 vertebrae in the neck. Cervical spinal cord injuries can be the most devastating because the person could sustain complete paralysis from the neck down.
- Thoracic spinal cord injuries occur when the damage is between the T1 and T12 vertebrae in the upper to mid back. This area of the spinal cord can impact control of the chest muscles and many organ systems in the abdomen.
- Lumbar spinal cord injuries occur when the damage is between the L1 and L5 vertebrae in the lower back. The spinal cord in the lumbar region controls signals to the buttocks, lower organs in the abdomen, parts of the leg, and parts of external genital organs.
- Sacral spinal cord injuries occur when the damage is between the S1 and S5 vertebrae. These vertebrae make up the end of the spinal column. The spinal cord in the sacral region controls the signals to the thighs, lower legs, feet, most genital organs, and the anus.
It is crucial that a person seek immediate medical treatment after a back injury. Only a medical provider can correctly diagnose and treat spinal cord injuries. Prompt medical care could reduce the risk of secondary conditions and complications caused by spinal cord injuries.
What Are the Potential Complications and Long-Term Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries?
In addition to partial and complete paralysis, complications from spinal cord injuries can be life-threatening.
Potential complications from spinal cord injuries include:
- Breathing problems
- Circulatory problems
- Pressure sores
- Spasticity (abnormal increase in muscle tone)
- Decreased muscle tone
- Loss of bladder and bowel functions
- Pain and nerve damage
- Loss of sexual function
Spinal cord injuries can also cause severe depression and emotional disorders. Coping with the consequences and life-altering conditions caused by spinal cord injuries can be challenging.
What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?
Symptoms and signs of a spinal cord injury can include, but are not limited to:
- Pain or pressure in the neck, head, or back
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of or changes in sensation in the hands or feet
- Loss of movement
- Weakness and inability to move a part of the body
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in sexual function
- Unnatural positions of the head or back
- Problems walking
A doctor can perform several diagnostic tests to determine the type and severity of the spinal cord injury. CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays can show damage to the spinal column and spinal cord. The treatment for a spinal cord injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.
How Much Is a Louisiana Spinal Cord Injury Claim Worth?
The factors of your case affect how much a personal injury claim for a spinal cord injury is worth.
Factors that impact the value of damages include:
- The severity of the spinal cord injury and where the injury occurred on the spinal column
- The complications you experience because of the injury
- Whether you can return to normal daily activities and work
- The level of permanent impairment or disability you sustain
- The types of treatment used to treat your injury and the duration of your recovery
A Lafayette spinal cord injury lawyer will work closely with your physicians to determine the extent of your spinal cord injury. They may also consult medical specialists and other experts to gather evidence strengthening your demand for maximum compensation for damages.
What Damages Can I Receive in a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
The cost of treating a spinal cord injury can be substantial. However, the life-long costs of a spinal cord injury can also be significant. The higher the level of disability, the more it costs to care for a victim with a spinal cord injury.
The types of damages in a spinal cord injury claim can include:
- Past and future medical bills and expenses
- The cost of personal care and nursing care
- Loss of income, including decreases in earning capacity and future lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Cost of medical devices and equipment
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of independence
- Modifications to your home and vehicle
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
A Lafayette spinal cord injury attorney can help you recover compensation for your damages. However, your time to file a spinal cord injury claim is limited. Contact an attorney to avoid losing your right to pursue legal action against the party who caused your injury.
Contact a Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Spinal Cord Injuries and Legal Options
You deserve compensation for all damages related to a spinal cord injury. Call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with our Lafayette personal injury attorney. We will fight to maximize your recovery for damages after a negligent party causes you to sustain an injury.