Experiencing a spinal cord injury is devastating for a victim and their family. The effects of this injury involve diminished quality of life, prolonged treatment, loss of wages, and emotional distress.
Have you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to negligence? Contact our law firm to speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. You may be able to recover the compensation you and your family deserve.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have helped thousands of personal injury clients. Contact our spinal cord accident law office for a free case evaluation with one of our spinal cord injury lawyers.
Our law firm has recovered over $250 million in settlements for our personal injury clients’ cases. Call our paralysis lawyers today at (888) 424-5757, and we will schedule you a free consultation with an experienced Chicago spinal cord injury attorney.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
The spinal column is filled with nerve tissue that runs from your neck down the center of the back. A spinal cord injury is damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal.
A traumatic blow to the spinal cord can result in damage to the fiber tracts, which carry signals to and from the brain.
Depending on the severity of the injury, a person may be able to make a full recovery. Many people experience a loss of strength, sensation, and muscle function.
A spine injury can also result in herniated discs, which occur when the soft center of the spinal disc pushes out of place. A herniated disc can put pressure on the spinal cord, causing severe pain and loss of limb movement.
A long-term medical care plan is usually necessary to regain mobility and treat chronic pain in patients with spinal cord injuries.
Statistics of Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the World Health Organization, about 250,000 to 500,000 people suffer from spinal cord injuries yearly. People who sustain this injury are 2 to 5 times more likely to die prematurely than others who have not suffered this injury.
Most of these injuries occur due to negligence in a car accident, a fall, or other situations.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Anyone sustaining a spinal cord injury should be examined to determine which of two main types it can be. The two categories are complete or incomplete (partial).
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
A complete spinal cord injury means a person will have total paralysis below the level of the damage. An individual with a complete injury will lose movement function and sensation in their body.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
An incomplete injury will usually occur from damage or compression of the spinal cord, which reduces the amount of communication between the brain and the nerves.
There is some function in one or both sides of the body under the injury site. Therefore, the brain and body can still communicate along limited pathways through the spinal nerves.
The severity of the spinal cord injury will affect how much movement there is.
Types of Incomplete Spinal Injuries
Different types of incomplete spinal cord injuries are characterized by the injury’s location and available degree of movement. The five different types of incomplete injuries are:
- Anterior cord syndrome– This injury is from damage to the front of the spinal cord. It affects the motor and sensory pathways.
- Central cord syndrome is damage to the center of the cord. Fine motor skills are affected, and paralysis of the arms and partial impairment of the legs may occur.
- Posterior cord syndrome– This injury can occur when the posterior columns at the back of the spinal cord are damaged. A person’s ability to feel vibration will be affected, and they may have a loss of balance.
- Brown-Sequard syndrome– This injury results from damage to one side of the spinal cord.
- Cauda equina syndrome– This injury occurs when the lumbar and sacral nerve roots sustain damage. Motor and sensory function of the legs and bladder may be affected.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Signs you have suffered an injury to your spinal cord can vary depending on the type of injury sustained and the location on the spine. The vertebrae that are highest in the neck area have cervical nerves.
Damage to this area will cause a person to experience the most severe side effects. The middle part of the spine is called the thoracic region, and the impact on this part is severe but not associated with a complete loss of function in the body.
The following lower levels of the spine contain the lumbar and sacral nerves. Damage to these areas can affect the ability to lift, bend, and twist.
Symptoms are not easily missed, and a victim should seek medical attention immediately. Some of the common spinal cord injury symptoms include:
- Loss of sensation in the arms and legs
- Weakness in the arms and legs
- Severe pain in the neck or back
- Lumps along the spine
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of movement
- Spasms and other involuntary movements
- Changes in sexual function
- Loss of bladder control
How Spinal Cord Injuries Occur
There are many ways that a person can sustain a spinal cord injury. Accidents and trauma due to negligence can result in catastrophic harm.
Damage to the spine can occur for multiple reasons. A spinal cord injury can result from accidents, sports injuries, falls, or other scenarios.
Some of the common causes of spinal cord injury cases are listed below.
If you underwent a procedure or treatment and came out of it with an injury, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The physician has a legal duty to provide a certain standard of care.
If your physician failed to follow property safety protocols or made an error during surgery, your injury may have resulted from this mistake.
If your spinal cord injury happened due to a physician’s negligence, you could hire a medical malpractice attorney to assist in the process of filing suit.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Most spinal cord injury victims have sustained a catastrophic injury in a car accident. Car accidents can be dangerous and likely result in neck or back pain for the people involved due to herniated discs and other spinal damage.
A significant collision or impact from airbags can cause spinal cord damage. Even a minor crash can result in this type of injury from whiplash.
If your spinal cord injury results from a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If a defective airbag or other defective products caused your spinal cord injury, you might also be able to file a product liability claim. The manufacturer can be held responsible in a lawsuit if you suffered a severe spinal cord injury or any other injury.
Slip and Falls
If an individual slips and falls at a store and sustains an injury, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible. If no sign of caution was visible and no warning was given for a substance on the floors, the business can be held liable.
A hard fall can be dangerous to anyone and cause severe injuries. This type of incident can have life-threatening consequences for the elderly.
Assault and Other Acts of Violence
Another common cause of this traumatic injury is different forms of assault. Gunshot wounds, knife wounds, and other forms of injury from violence can devastate the victim.
An auto accident that occurs when you are on the job or a fall that occurs while you are at work can also result in an injury to your spine. You are entitled to medical care and assistance through worker’s compensation if you receive this injury while at work.
If you are denied this coverage, you can speak with a law firm about filing a worker’s compensation claim. You may also be able to pursue a legal case against a third party who may have caused your injury through negligence.
A spinal cord injury lawyer can investigate the facts of the case and determine which parties are responsible.
Treatment for Injury to the Spine
If a spinal injury is suspected, the person should not be moved to decrease the amount of movement on the spine. Emergency medical services should be called to assist in moving and treating the individual.
Emergency personnel will use a cervical collar or a carrying board to keep the spine immobilized while in transport. In the emergency room, the doctor will focus on:
- Immobilizing your neck
- Maintaining your ability to breathe
- Avoiding any further complications
Emergency surgery may be necessary for a spinal cord injury to decrease pressure on the spine. A broken bone, fractured vertebrae, damaged tissue, or another injury could cause damage to the spine.
Depending on the severity of the injury, screws or plates may be used to stabilize the spine. Medications that help reduce swelling, improve blood flow, and reduce pain in the spinal cord will also be given and prescribed.
Testing That You May Undergo at the Emergency Room
An X-ray will likely be used when you initially seek treatment, and it can determine if there are any broken or fractured bones in the spine. A CT scan will show if there are any soft tissue injuries.
An MRI scan will show more detail and can reveal if there are any herniations, bulging discs, or a pinched nerve. Your doctor may also use an electromyogram (EMG) to check if there is any nerve injury.
Other Types of Treatment for Spinal Injuries
Most people who suffer spinal cord injuries will need to receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation to regain movement. These types of treatment are likely to assist in recovery but can last months or years.
Spinal injury victims will sometimes require treatment and care for the rest of their lives. Other common types of care or changes that spinal cord victims may need to include:
- Bed rest
- Lifestyle changes
- Spinal traction (a form of decompression therapy)
- Use of assistive devices such as a wheelchair or neck brace
Potential Defendants in a Chicago, IL Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
The cause of the accident will help determine who is responsible for your spinal cord injury damages. Multiple defendants can be considered for a spinal cord injury claim.
Hiring an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer to investigate the specific cause of your injury and other facts revolving around the case will be beneficial. Personal injury attorneys will be able to recover damages that include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and a decline in quality of life.
Defendants in a spinal cord injury lawsuit can include:
- Driver – If your injury resulted from a car accident, pursuing a claim against the driver and owner of the vehicle is possible.
- Surgeon – If a spinal cord injury occurs after a surgical procedure, you can file a lawsuit against the doctor.
- Medical facility – A hospital or nursing home can also be liable for medical negligence.
- Manufacturer – A defective product that fails to protect or causes an injury, such as an airbag, can mean that the manufacturer is liable.
When to File a Spinal Cord Injury Case
The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Illinois is two years. For wrongful death claims, the deadline is two years from the date of death.
It is crucial to hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after suffering an injury to your spinal cord. Your lawyer will need to:
- Investigate the negligence,
- Gather information,
- Speak to witnesses, and
- Request medical records and bills for your claim.
You will be able to focus on your treatment, while your attorney can give you peace of mind about where your case stands and work on getting the compensation you deserve.
Your lawyer will be able to explain the deadline and file suit on your case if necessary.
Spinal Cord Injury Compensation
A spinal cord injury will likely result in medical costs for long-term treatment and possible complications with such injuries. The extended amount of medical care, additional medical bills, lost wages, and assistive devices are some of the costs you can seek compensation for your damages.
There are also non-economic damages that a law firm can ask the insurance company to compensate. This compensation includes pain and suffering, anguish, trauma, and inconvenience.
If the defendant was found to be reckless in your legal case, you might also be awarded punitive damages. Did your injury occur due to a negligent party? You take legal action to seek compensation for the significant damage and loss you have experienced.
Your family may also be able to recover the loss of consortium damages. This loss includes the impact and loss that family members have endured due to the injury.
You have a legal case to seek damages if your injury was caused by a car accident, fall, medical malpractice, or other negligent act. Most personal injury lawyers provide a free case evaluation so that you can understand the options regarding your legal case.
Hire an Experienced Chicago Lawyer to Receive Fair Compensation for Your Personal Injury Case
For many, spinal cord damage can lead to a loss of body function and a decline in quality of life. Your case will likely need spinal cord injury litigation to recover from medical bills and future medical expenses.
You will need to focus on your health and the recovery process to optimize the outcome of your injuries. A spinal cord injury caused by negligence will require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can resolve a claim or lawsuit.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our injury lawyers have decades of experience handling many spinal cord injury claims. We will fight to recover financial compensation and all damages lost in your legal case.
Our Chicago, Illinois spinal cord injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to providing the best representation. Contact our office at (888) 424-5757 for a free case evaluation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship. Time is of the essence, where all claims must be filed before the statute of limitations expires concerning your case.
- United Spinal Association – Spinal Cord Injury Information
- WHO – Spinal Cord Statistics
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons – Spinal Injury Facts