A spinal cord injury, or SCI, happens when the cord suffers trauma and it disrupts the cord from sending signals from your brain to the rest of your body. These usually have major consequences, such as losing the function of one’s legs. When these injuries are caused by negligence, the responsible party should answer for their actions. A Jackson spinal cord injury lawyer from Pittman, Roberts & Welsh will help you get the justice you deserve.
How Do Spinal Injuries Occur?
Back injuries happen when there is significant force or disruption. MedlinePlus lists the following reasons that someone may suffer from one of these injuries:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. Especially dangerous at high-speeds, motor vehicle crashes from cars, trucks, and motorcycles, can cause severe trauma to the spine. According to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission (BSITF), 38 percent of spine injuries happen because of motor vehicle accidents.
- Workplace Accidents. These injuries can happen at the workplace, too. Those who work in construction may get injured if they fall from ladders or heights. Falls account for 30.5 percent of spine injuries.
- Electric Shock. Electrocution is also a dangerous occurrence that can hurt the spine.
When the spine experiences trauma, there’s a chance that the following injuries could happen:
- Broken vertebrae leave bone fragments that get into the spine.
- Metal fragments injure the spine. Motor vehicle accidents can cause foreign objects to hurt the spine.
- Bruising around the weakened bones or discs.
- Intense pulling or twisting in the head, neck, or back areas because of an accident.
Now that you know how these injuries happen, you should know about the types of injuries and their consequences.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There isn’t one kind of SCI. It all depends on the level of damage and where the injury occurs. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) breaks down the conditions of an SCI.
- Incomplete Injury. There is still some movement and sensation below the injury site.
- Complete Injury. The spinal cord can’t send signals below the site of the injury, which can cause paralysis.
The spine is categorized in several sections:
- Cervical Vertebrae. There are seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, called C1-C7.
- Thoracic Vertebrae. The 12 thoracic vertebrae, T1-T12, are in the upper back.
- Lumbar Vertebrae. The five lumbar vertebrae L1-L5 are in the lower back.
- Sacral Vertebrae. Located beneath the lumbar vertebrae, the five fused sacral vertebrae form the sacrum.
- Tailbone. The four vertebrae below the sacrum are the coccyx (tailbone).
Depending on where the injury is, the general kinds of SCI can be sorted in two broad categories.
- Tetraplegia. This injury affects the C1-T1 vertebrae. The person could lose sensation or mobility in their head or neck, upper body, pelvic organs, and legs.
- Paraplegia. This SCI affects the T2-S5. Typically, those with this injury lose feeling and mobility in the lower half of their body, but it can affect someone from the chest down.
SCIs require intense care from the moment the injury happens. Let’s look into the process of what one may expect after the injury.
What Happens After a Spinal Injury?
The NIH states that there are several types of treatment for spinal cords, and it doesn’t all happen in the emergency room. At the scene of the accident, emergency responders will try to limit the movement of the spine as much as possible. A neck brace and carrying board can help immobilize the spine.
When the person reaches the emergency room, medical care providers will constantly monitor the patient’s vitals, especially their ability to breathe. They will also continue to limit mobility so further damage doesn’t happen.
There are a few ways that a spinal injury is treated:
- Surgery. During a surgical procedure, spinal fluid, tissue, or fragments or bone or disc may be removed.
- Traction. This process will align the spine and give it stability.
- Medication. There is a steroid called Methylprednisolone (Medrol) that can reduce nerve cell damage if it’s administered to the person within the first eight hours of the injury.
But the care for an SCI doesn’t stop there. These methods can help, but it’s likely that someone will need multiple forms of care during their recovery. Some may not be able to fully recover. Medical care and equipment that patients may need includes:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Vocational Therapy
- Recreational Therapy
- Medical Devices: Wheelchairs, Braces, Walkers
- Techniques for Personal Hygiene
Affording this care can be difficult. You’ll need a lawyer who will get you fair compensation for your injuries. While it may seem like a complex fight, your settlement will give you financial security so you get the care you need.
Get in Touch With Reliable Lawyers From Pittman, Roberts & Welsh
Filing a claim is the next step to resolving this matter, but it’s important to have proper representation. Unfortunately, insurance companies will take any avenue that will help them pay you less. This could mean offering a settlement that’s less than you should be owed. You deserve to know that professionals are looking out for your best interests. Pittman, Roberts & Welsh will fight for you, so you don’t have to question the future.
We understand how debilitating an SCI can be, but you can have peace of mind knowing that we’ll do everything to win you a settlement that will help with your care. Contact us today for a free consultation.