If you or a family member has suffered from a spinal cord injury due to an accident caused by someone’s negligence, the catastrophic injury attorneys at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injuries Lawyers will work tirelessly for your rights. The spinal cord injury attorneys at our law firm are experienced in advocating for victims of spine injury accidents, and we understand that these cases involve complex legal issues that require special attention.
We pursue compensation for cases involving any type of accident resulting in a spinal injury, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, defective products, and other types of negligence. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a spinal cord injury is damage to the tight bundle of cells and nerves that sends and receives signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body. It extends from the lower part of the brain down through the spinal column to the neck and lower back. Damage to the nerves within your spine can lead to full or partial loss of motor control and sensation.
The effects of SCI vary depending on where along the spine the damage occurs and how severe it is. In some cases, those suffering from these kinds of spinal cord injuries may lose sensation in their limbs, experience paralysis, loss of bodily functions, or other physical disabilities that can have long-term impacts on their lives.
What Are the Major Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
According to the NINDS, the two major types of spinal cord injuries are:
The spinal cord is fully severed and function below the injury site is entirely lost. There is total loss of sensation and movement below the point at which the damage occurred with extremely diminished quality of life for the victim.
Some limited motor or sensory functions remain below the site of the trauma. Incomplete SCIs occur when the spinal cord is compressed or injured, but the brain’s ability to send signals below the site of the injury is not completely lost.
What Are the Symptoms of an SCI?
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury may vary depending on the severity and type of trauma experienced. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including loss of sensation or movement in the affected area, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness or paralysis, spasms, pain or discomfort. In some back injury cases, there may be limited mobility and the inability to stand up straight. Other symptoms include loss of bladder or bowel control and breathing difficulties.
Are All Back Injuries SCI’s?
No. Not all back injuries are spinal cord injuries. A back injury may involve trauma to the vertebrae, discs, muscles or ligaments but not necessarily the spinal cord itself. Back pain can be caused by a number of issues including strain or sprain from overexertion, a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and other medical conditions. In order to determine whether or not an injury is a spinal cord injury it is important to seek attention from medical professionals as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Who Is Most Likely to Suffer a Spinal Injury?
Anyone can suffer a spinal injury, but certain populations are at higher risk. These include men aged 16 to 30, athletes who participate in contact sports, and individuals who work in hazardous jobs such as construction or the military.
Men, 80.7%, are more likely to suffer from these types of spine injuries than women. People over 65 are also more prone to suffering an injury due to age-related degeneration of the spine.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?
The long-term effects of a spinal injury depend on the severity and type of trauma. A complete spinal cord injury may result in paralysis below the site of trauma, while an incomplete spinal cord injury could cause varying degrees of permanent disability. Other potential long-term effects can include chronic pain, loss of sexual function, respiratory problems, fatigue, depression and other emotional difficulties.
What are the Most Common Causes of Spinal Injuries?
The two most common causes of SCI in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health are:
- Motor vehicle accidents, especially a car accident or a motorcycle accident, are the leading causes of these types of traumas.
- Catastrophic falls from heights often result in fractures or disc damage due to the impact.
Other common causes include:
- Medical or surgical errors can lead to misdiagnosis or incorrect treatment resulting in further damage.
- Diving accidents can occur when the swimmer dives into shallow waters or strikes an object underwater resulting in spinal cord injury.
- Industrial accidents may involve heavy machinery.
- Diseases and conditions can damage to the spinal cord.
What Are the Costs Associated with Injuries of the Spinal Cord?
Spinal cord injuries result in substantial treatment costs. Treatments typically include:
- hospital stays,
- physical therapy,
- occupational therapy,
- wheelchairs and modifications to the home and vehicle to accommodate the patient’s needs.
Medical bills and expenses can include:
- doctor visits,
- medical tests and treatments,
- assistive devices such as wheelchairs and braces, and
- specialized housing and individual care.
In addition to medical costs there are also:
- lost wages due to inability to work,
- cost of home care assistance and other out-of-pocket expenses that may arise as a result of the injury.
These costs can add up quickly making it essential for victims of spinal cord injuries to seek legal representation so they receive maximum compensation for their losses.
What Is Spinal Shock?
Spinal shock is a type of spine injury that is a temporary condition caused by trauma to the spinal cord that results in an inability for the nervous system to send and receive signals normally. It can cause paralysis below the site of injury, loss of sensation, loss of reflexes, hypotension (low blood pressure), and difficulty with breathing and regulating body temperature.
Spinal shock typically resolves itself within several weeks but can have lasting effects including weakness or numbness in the affected areas.
Is there a Cure for a Spine Injury?
At this time, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries. However, research continues into treatments by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and others that can restore some function to those affected by spine injury. The most promising treatments are stem cell therapy and nerve regeneration. While these treatments are not yet available as standard care, they offer hope for the future.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury suffered in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence can have a devastating impact on an individual and their family. It is essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible so that the rights of the victim are protected and they receive fair compensation for their losses. When an insurance claims adjuster sees that an injured person does not have an attorney, the adjuster could make a lowball offer to see if the individual will accept it. An attorney will be able to:
- evaluate the case and conduct a thorough investigation to determine negligence,
- evaluate your situation and tell you what damages you could collect for your case
- negotiate with insurance companies,
- present arguments in court if necessary, and
- help ensure that victims are properly compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability claims, home modifications, and other costs associated with these types of injuries.
You Have a Deadline that Comes with Consequences
Illinois has short deadlines for filing personal injury or wrongful death spinal cord injury lawsuits. You generally have two years after the accident or wrongful death to take legal action for securing compensation from the responsible parties.
If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline, Illinois law will bar you from seeking compensation from the party responsible for your spinal cord damage. The insurance company knows this deadline, but they have no legal obligation to tell you about it.
What Damages Are Available for Spinal Cord Injury Accidents?
Victims of spinal cord injuries may be entitled to recover compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- medical expenses,
- lost wages due to inability to work,
- pain and suffering,
- disability claims,
- home modifications and other losses related to the accident.
What Is My Case Worth?
The amount of compensation that could be awarded depends on several factors including the severity of the injury, any permanent disabilities that may have resulted from it, and the impact on the victim’s life. An experienced attorney can help guide victims through the legal process of spinal cord injury lawsuits to address the financial impact of the accident, and to ensure that they receive maximum compensation for their losses.
How Do I Deal with the Insurance Company?
It is important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side and have their own interests in mind. It is essential to have representation when dealing with insurers so they do not take advantage of you. An experienced spinal cord injury attorney will know how to handle the adjusters, present your case in a favorable light, and protect your rights throughout the process.
What Does It Cost to Hire a Spinal Cord Lawyer?
At The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injuries Lawyers, we offer an free initial consultation with a spinal cord injury attorney to answer the question, “Was your Chicago spinal cord injury caused by negligence, and do you have a case?” We will assess your car accident, motorcycle accident, or other type of injury case and handle it on a contingency-fee basis, which means you do not have to pay any upfront legal fees. The personal injury lawyers in our law firm will work tirelessly for you to seek compensation that you need, even though we do not get paid until the end of your injury claim.
With a contingency fee arrangement, your personal injury lawyer at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injuries Lawyers will get paid a percentage of your settlement proceeds or jury award.