As the Decatur area grows, so do the number of traffic and workplace accidents—some of which result in spinal cord injuries (SCI.) These serious injuries have profound physical, emotional, and financial consequences for survivors and their families.
If someone else’s negligence caused your SCI, the Decatur spinal cord injury lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are ready to evaluate your personal injury claim and fight for justice and compensation for you.
Contact our office today to speak with one of our Decatur spinal cord injury attorneys. The claim review is free, confidential, and comes with no strings attached.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Decatur
Spinal cord injuries can result from several different types of accidents, including the following examples:
- Motor vehicle accidents – The sudden force of a car accident, truck wreck, or motorcycle crash can lead to spinal cord damage. ATV accidents and crashes involving other off-road vehicles are another common cause.
- Slip-and-fall accidents – Spinal cord injuries can result from falls from heights and slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents caused by property hazards.
- Occupational injuries – Workplace injuries from falls, heavy machinery accidents, and other accidents can involve the spinal cord under certain circumstances.
- Medical malpractice – Medical and surgical errors can damage the spinal cord.
- Recreational injuries – Diving, football, basketball, and other sports carry a risk of spinal cord injury.
Types of Spinal Injuries in Decatur Accidents
Understanding the type of SCI you sustained will make you feel more in control during your recovery and in the legal process. A few of the most common types include:
- Bruising – A blunt impact causes swelling and bleeding but no breaks to the skin or vertebrae. Sometimes, a bruise can press on the spinal cord, causing other complications.
- Compression fractures – One or more vertebrae are crushed so that they’re shorter than they should be, with the spinal cord squeezed between the fragments.
- Dislocation – One or more vertebrae slide out of place, compressing the spinal cord.
- Herniated disc – A herniated or ruptured disc happens when the soft inner portion of a disc protrudes and puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing excruciating pain and mobility issues.
- Laceration – Deep cuts can reach the spinal cord. Even if the skin doesn’t break, fragments from a broken vertebra can still cause cuts or tears in the spinal cord.
- Transection – Transection is a complete spinal cord cut, resulting in paralysis and loss of sensation below the level of transection.
- Whiplash – Whiplash commonly happens in rear-end, sideswipe, or T-bone crashes, and patients sometimes don’t notice symptoms right away. It can lead to spinal cord compression or damage in severe cases.
Long-Term Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries
A healthy spinal cord is instrumental in the body’s mobility and function. SCIs can have long-term consequences, but with prompt treatment, patients can still have good outcomes and quality of life. Some possible complications after a spinal cord injury include:
- Chronic pain – Chronic pain is physically and emotionally taxing, especially if it gets in the way of hobbies or careers. Doctors should consider pain management when designing treatment plans.
- Emotional impact – Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and grief can follow a severe spinal cord injury. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Patients should get the psychological treatment they require.
- Financial impact – The cost of ongoing medical care, equipment, and medication adds up quickly, especially for the uninsured or underinsured. A severe spinal cord injury can also limit employment options.
- Physical disability – Spinal injury patients could lose sensation or mobility below the trauma site. They might need special equipment or a loved one’s help to perform everyday tasks. Occupational therapists can also help adapt tasks to make their routine more comfortable.
Types of Compensation Available for SCI Patients in Decatur
Spinal cord injury victims can pursue two categories of compensation in a personal injury case. The first type, economic damages, pays for the fixed expenses of your recovery, such as:
- Medical bills – This includes the cost of medications, surgeries, and other treatments and procedures.
- Rehab expenses – This includes long-term physical and occupational therapy, including counseling as necessary. Your lawyer will also consider the cost of assistive devices you may need to resume your routine.
- Lost wages – Your lawyer will use paystubs to estimate the wages you’ve already lost from the accident. They’ll also consider any lost future wages or earning potential.
- Caregiving expenses – Your lawyer will factor in any caregiving services for personal assistance you require.
The second type of compensation, non-economic damages, is for losses that don’t have an assigned monetary value:
- Pain and suffering – This includes the physical pain, emotional suffering, and lost enjoyment of life you’re experiencing.
- Loss of consortium – You can pursue compensation for lost spousal companionship after the accident.
Most successful SCI cases settle out of court, though insurance companies will frequently make lowball offers at first. Your lawyer can determine how much compensation might be available to you and pursue the best and fairest outcome.
Choosing the Right Decatur Spine Injury Lawyer
The legal team you choose could make a big difference in your personal injury case’s outcome. Before you hire any attorney, ensure they have:
- A good reputation – Choose a firm with a proven track record building spinal cord injury claims. They should have positive feedback from both past clients and peers in the legal field.
- A client-centered approach – Select a law firm that treats clients as individuals and cultivates strong attorney-client relationships.
- Compassion – Your lawyer should hear your perspectives and guide you through the process with dignity and empathy.
- Good communication skills – While you focus on recovering from the injury, your legal team should regularly update you on your case’s progress.
- Trial experience – Your lawyer should have solid litigation experience. Though most cases never go to trial, your attorney should prepare yours as if it will.
- Substantial resources – Your lawyer should have an established network of medical experts and investigators they can call on to strengthen your case.
- A contingency fee model – It’s prudent to choose a lawyer who charges fees only if you win your case.
Get Help from Our Experienced Decatur Personal Injury Lawyers
If you received a life-changing spinal cord injury through no fault of your own, let the Decatur SCI attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps. Our firm has served North Alabama since 1966, winning $125.5 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.