Long-Term Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries to the spine adjacent to the top four vertebrae, known as the cervical vertebrae, numbering C1 to C4, are the most serious, resulting in quadriplegia and the need for around-the-clock care. Lower cervical injuries to the spine in the area of the C5 to C8 vertebrae can affect control of the arms and hands and might result in partial or total paralysis, and leave little to no control of bowels or bladder. The higher the level of spinal cord injured, the greater the loss of control; i.e., a C5 SCI is more devastating than a C8, generally speaking.
The midback vertebrae are known as thoracic vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries in the T1 to T12 levels are less common because they are protected by the rib cage. However, thoracic injuries can cause paralysis or weakness in the legs (paraplegia) with loss of physical sensation, or bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction. Arms and hands are not usually affected.
The lower part of the spine contains the lumbar vertebrae, L1 to L5. Lumbar SCIs can result in paralysis or weakness of the legs, but arms and hands are not usually affected. Bowel and bladder movements can be affected, along with loss of sensation and sexual dysfunction.
The sacral vertebrae are located between the lumbar vertebrae and the tailbone and are known as S1 to S5. Injuries to the sacral area can cause paralysis or weakness in the hips and legs. They can also affect the bladder and bowels.
Proving Negligence in a Lawsuit
If you suffer an SCI in an auto accident, as a result of a fall in someone’s business or home, because of someone’s violence against you, or perhaps due to a medical/surgical mishap — you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages will cover your medical, rehabilitative, and long-term care expenses, along with loss of wages and future earning power. Noneconomic damages can cover your pain and suffering and loss of consortium with your companion.
If you’re the typical male SCI victim who gets injured in his 40s, you can face many years being cared for in the future if your injuries were serious, or even if the injuries limited your life choices and bodily functions. Just compensation could represent millions of dollars for economic and noneconomic losses.
According to the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation 2014 figures, first-year care for an SCI ranges from $347,484 to $1,064,716. Recurring annual costs, depending on the severity of the injury, then range from $42,206 to $184,891. These costs are likely even higher in today’s economy.
However, the key is to prove the other party’s negligence resulted in your injury. If you suffer an SCI in an auto accident, you must show in court that the other driver, through negligence or recklessness, caused your injury. If you fall in someone’s place of business or residence, you need to show they were negligent in not keeping the premises reasonably safe or not warning you of a slippery, wet, or broken surface that could cause you to fall.
The success of a personal injury lawsuit rests on showing that the other party:
- Had a duty of care toward you,
- Breached that duty of care due to negligence, and
- That breach caused your injuries
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If an accident or a malicious attack has left you or a loved one paralyzed with a spinal cord injury, the sheer range and number of issues can leave you feeling overwhelmed. You’re probably wondering who will pay all the medical bills. How will your life change? How will you manage the loss of income? What does the future hold for you and your family?
At Glober Law Firm, we know you need to get your life back on track, and our team is here to help you get the answers, the support, and the compensation you need to accomplish that. Remember:
- I used to work for an insurance company so I know how the other side operates.
- You pay only when your case is resolved in your favor.
- If you are recuperating and cannot drive to meet me, I’ll come to you.
- I’ll also work around your schedule or the schedule of your caretakers and where necessary, conduct meetings in the evenings or on weekends.
- The first consultation is entirely 100 percent free.