Few injuries are as life changing as a spinal cord injury. Victims can be permanently impacted in every aspect of their lives, suffering constant pain and severe disabilities.
A spinal cord injury involves trauma to the spine that fractures, compresses, or dislocates the spinal cord or vertebrae. Such injuries can cause inflammation and fluid buildup, which can result in additional damage.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal injuries have a myriad of potential causes, but many result from the following:
- Construction accidents--falls from high elevations and impacts with moving cranes or other construction equipment and vehicles
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Gunshot wounds
- Motorcycle accidents--not wearing a helmet increases the risk
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Sports injuries--notably from football, rugby and wrestling
- Diving into shallow water
- Medical errors--failure to diagnose or to treat a medical condition appropriately
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries to the spinal column have a broad range of symptoms and lasting effects. Some of the more common outcomes include:
- Loss of sexual function
- Paraplegia--Trauma to the nerve fibers that permanently affects the victim’s ability to use either their arms or legs
- Quadriplegia--Damage to the nerve fibers that permanently affects the victim’s ability to use any of their limbs
- Paralysis--This can be either complete, resulting in permanent impairment of certain nervous system functions, or incomplete, meaning that the victim retains some degree of function below the injury level and may make a complete recovery.
- Spinal fracture
- Herniated disc--The spinal disc that acts as a cushion between each vertebrae may rupture and pinch the spinal nerves.
- Loss of bladder or bowel function
An accident victim can bring a personal injury accident suit against a party or entity responsible for the accident with the services of an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer. Some responsible parties may include the following:
A motorist has a duty to use caution and to act reasonably in operating their motor vehicle. It is reasonably foreseeable that driving while intoxicated or driving negligently or recklessly could cause an accident resulting in serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries.
Property owners who fail to warn invited guests against hidden or unknown dangers can be liable for injuries.
Hotels or Pool Owners
Those who fail to adequately fence or safeguard their pools in violation of state standards may find themselves liable for spinal cord injuries from guests who use their facilities.
Physicians and hospitals
Physicians and hospitals may be liable for any medical errors that led to a spinal cord injury, or who fail to properly diagnose or treat a condition that led to paralysis or spinal injury. A physician may have missed an unstable cervical fracture from a car accident by neglecting to x-ray the victim or properly exam them.
Further, a physician could have ignored post-operative infections that can affect the heart and spread to the spinal canal, causing tingling and numbness in limbs.
Compensation for spinal cord injuries is often well deserved. However, the legal issues surrounding such cases are complex and require the attention of an experienced personal injury attorney. A victim can claim damages including but not limited to medical costs, future medical costs, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
In some cases, a victim can recover punitive damages against the responsible party if their conduct was wonton, willful and showed a total disregard for the rights and safety of the injured party.
Experienced attorneys can identify responsible parties and pursue all compensation claims with the requisite depth of knowledge and tenacity.
If you or someone you love has suffered from a spinal cord injury, we want to hear your story. Our experienced accident attorneys will review the facts and assist you with your case from beginning to end. We know how to investigate and aggressively pursue accident cases and we will fight for your rights.