You may need life-long physical therapy and medical care if you suffer a spinal cord injury in an auto accident or after slipping and falling. Damage to the spine can severely limit your mobility and cause you to be unable to live and work as you did before the accident.
Spinal cord injuries rarely get better over time. Seeking compensation from a negligent party who caused your accident can help you pay for the required medical care you’ll need well into the future. Read on to learn more about spinal cord injuries and how working with a spinal cord injury lawyer from Catalano Law can help you maximize your compensation.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord relays vital messages between the brain and the nervous system. A spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is damaged, resulting in a loss of feeling and movement in parts of the body below the injury site.
Spinal cord injuries are categorized according to their level and severity. A “complete” spinal cord injury indicates total loss of feeling and movement below the injury site. An “incomplete” spinal cord injury allows for partial sensation and motor ability.
The most common spinal cord injuries are paraplegia and quadriplegia/tetraplegia. Paraplegia affects the lower half of the body, resulting from damage to the thoracic area (T1-T12) i.e. the middle part of your spine, the lumbar region (L1-L5) i.e. the lower back, or the sacral area (S1-S5) i.e. above the tailbone.
Quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia) is damage that affects all four limbs—the condition results from damage to cervical vertebrae between C1 and C7: those in the neck.
Quadriplegia is more severe than paraplegia because it involves paralysis of both the arms and legs. Higher spinal cord injuries typically indicate more severe side effects.
Spinal cord injuries can result from car accidents, falls, gunshots, or diseases such as cancer or arthritis. Car accidents account for 38.6% of spinal cord injuries, while falls account for 32.2%.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Options
Treating a spinal cord injury starts at the accident scene and continues for years after hospitalization. Depending on the victim’s age and injury severity, the cost of living with spinal cord damage can range from $1,217,226 to $5,162,152 for the victim’s lifetime.
Medications can help manage pain, prevent complications, and improve quality of life to a degree. Pain medications, such as opioids, can relieve pain caused by nerve damage. Antispasmodics can help ease muscle spasms, while in some cases, nerve-pain medications, such as gabapentinoids, may also be recommended.
Spinal cord surgical procedures are complex, risky, and only effective in some instances. For example, surgery may be an option for patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries who still have partial function below the point of injury. Surgical options include spinal decompression and vertebrae fusion.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapists work with people with spinal cord injuries to assess their needs and develop a treatment plan. Treatment often includes exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and activities to improve range of motion and coordination. Therapists may also use electrical stimulation and other modalities to help reduce pain and spasticity.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Progress Over Time?
In some cases, patients may experience a partial recovery of function, while others may never recover function below their injury.
Several factors influence the chances of recovery, including the severity and location of the injury, the age and general health of the patient, and the quality of rehabilitation care. However, even in cases where improvement is unlikely, significant strides have been made in recent years regarding improvement in pain management and quality of life.
Why is it Important to Hire a Lawyer to Calculate Compensation After a Spinal Cord Injury?
Calculating compensation for a spinal cord injury hinges on many factors, including medical expenses, lost wages, and most importantly, your pain and suffering. An experienced lawyer can evaluate all of these factors and determine the fair value of your claim.
Personal injury attorneys with a track record in spinal cord injury claims can estimate the lifetime expenses you will incur due to your condition. They can assess input from doctors, look at pay stubs and hire economic experts to determine lost earnings since your injury and into the future, and compare your case to similar lawsuits.
If your injury has resulted in paralysis or other permanent disability, your lawyer will work to obtain the maximum possible compensation to ensure that you can maintain your quality of life. Falling short in estimating your required compensation can threaten your future well-being as you will be unable to ask for additional funds later.
Hire an Attorney Who Understands Living with Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury can cost the victim hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over their lifetime. For the sufferer, properly estimating and effectively recovering compensation is essential for living a content, functional life.
If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury, contacting a Syracuse spinal cord injury lawyer from Catalano Law can ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys will fight to prove your claim and recover the maximum compensation.
Contact our law office for a free consultation where you can share the circumstances of your spinal injury and learn how much your case may be worth.