A spinal cord injury can dramatically alter your life and the lives of those who depend on you. It can completely upend your work and personal life and affect your sense of independence.
Recovering and dealing with the consequences of a spinal cord injury can also impose a significant financial burden on your family. When your spinal cord injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to bear responsibility for the financial consequences. You deserve to seek compensation for your injuries and damages from those responsible for your spinal cord injury.
Pursuing a legal claim for compensation for a spinal cord injury can often involve complex matters of law and fact. To ensure that you have the best chance of seeking maximum financial recovery in your case, you need an experienced Huntsville spinal cord injury attorney who will fight for your rights and interests. You want an attorney capable of holding those responsible for your injury accountable for the impact your injury has had on your life.
Your attorney’s goal will be to seek the financial compensation you need for your treatment, rehabilitation, and care, lost wages and earning potential, and pain and suffering and lost quality of life. Let an experienced personal injury lawyer handle the difficulties of pursuing a legal claim so that you can focus on your recovery and on getting back to life following your spinal cord injury.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, contact the Huntsville spinal cord injury lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation. You can discuss your claim in greater detail with one of our experienced attorneys and learn more about how our firm can help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries result when a person suffers a forceful impact to the head, neck, back, and/or torso, which can inflict injury upon the spinal cord or spinal column. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include accidents such as:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- ATV accidents
- Boating accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Animal attacks
- Defective products
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Falls from heights, including scaffolding or ladder accidents
- Impacts from falling objects
- Swimming pool accidents, including slip and falls and diving accidents
Spinal injuries can happen while playing high-impact sports like football, rugby, and hockey, or when participating in recreational activities like skateboarding, skiing, or mountain biking. Spinal cord injuries are also frequently caused by criminal activity such as assaults or armed robberies when a criminal perpetrator injuries a victim with a knife or gunshot wound.
Finally, spinal cord injuries can result from medical malpractice, when health care professionals commit errors that damage a patient’s spinal cord or spinal column.
Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Doctors classify spinal cord injuries based on the location of the injury and on the “completeness” of the injury. The spine has four regions:
- Cervical (the neck area)
- Thoracic (mid-back)
- Lumbar (lower back)
- Sacral (just above the posterior)
When spinal cord injuries are identified, they are usually referred to by the area of the spine where the injury is located. For example, a “T7/T8 spinal injury” refers to an injury located between the seventh and eighth thoracic vertebrae.
The higher on the spinal column a spinal injury is located, the more severe the injury is typically considered, as it increased the chances and severity of paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are also classified by “completeness.” With an “incomplete” injury, a person still retains some feeling and function in the areas of the body below the injury area. In a “complete” injury, the person has no feeling or function left below the injury level.
Spinal cord injuries frequently result in some form of paralysis for an injury victim. Paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries usually comes in one of two types:
- Paraplegia, or loss of feeling and function in the legs, potentially extending up into the pelvis and pelvic organs and lower torso
- Quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia), or loss of feeling and function in the arms, legs, pelvis, torso, and potentially as high as the shoulders
Depending on how high up the body paralysis goes, spinal cord injury victims may end up suffering the loss of motor function in addition to the loss of or difficulty with bladder and/or bowel control, sexual feeling and function, respiration (breathing), and blood pressure and heart rate.
Consequences of a Spinal Cord Injury
When someone suffers a spinal cord injury, the initial treatment is focused on stabilizing the individual and preventing further injury and damage to the spine and spinal cord. Once the injury has stabilized and the extent of the injury and paralysis can be determined, treatment often shifts to rehabilitation and long-term care.
A person who has suffered a spinal cord injury, particularly one that causes some level of paralysis, will likely face weeks or even months of physical and occupational therapy to try to regain sensation and motor function, to maintain muscle tone and function, and to learn adaptations and skills to help the individual regain and maintain independence.
Many people who suffer spinal cord injuries will require lifelong treatment and care, which can easily end up costing millions of dollars over the course of a person’s life. In particular, people who suffer from quadriplegia as a result of a spinal cord injury will likely need home health aides or round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives to help with basic needs such as bathing, getting dressed or eating, and to help maintain critical medical equipment like respirators.
Even a spinal cord injury victim who can regain some measure of independence will still likely need help with certain tasks and personal care, and many need to install accommodations in their homes such as wheelchair ramps or handlebars to allow them to remain independent.
Potential Compensation Available in Spinal Cord Injury Cases
When you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation from that party for the damages that you have incurred and will incur in the future due to your spinal cord injury.
Damages for which you can seek compensation in spinal cord injury cases may include:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation, such as surgeries and other medical procedures, physical and occupational therapy, doctor and specialist visits, prescription medication, mobility equipment, durable medical equipment, and other out-of-pocket costs related to your case (such as transportation to appointments and procedures)
- Long-term personal care costs, including home health care or renovations to your home to help accommodate disabilities caused by your spinal cord injury
- Lost wages and income for the time that you miss from work while undergoing treatment and rehabilitation
- Lost earning capacity, if your injury disables you from returning to work altogether
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Loss of consortium, or compensation provided to your spouse for the loss of your companionship and society
In rare cases where the party or parties who caused your spinal cord injury committed actions that might be considered particularly heinous or wanton, you may also be entitled to an award of punitive damages. Although punitive damages do not compensate you for any loss you have suffered, they do serve to punish the party or parties responsible for your injury for their actions and to deter others from committing similar conduct in the future.
Contact a Huntsville Spinal Injury Lawyer for Help
When you have a claim for compensation for a spinal cord injury, an experienced attorney can help you navigate your claim and guide you through the process of pursuing the compensation you deserve.
An attorney representing your rights and interests in your spinal cord injury claim can help by:
- Investigating your accident and injuries to obtain evidence needed for your legal claim
- Identifying at-fault parties and potential sources of compensation for your damages, including insurance policies belonging to the at-fault parties
- Collaborating with medical, vocational, and financial experts to establish how your injury occurred and who bears responsibility for your injury, as well as the extent of the compensable damages you have incurred
- Filing your claim for compensation and aggressively negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to secure a settlement that gives you fair and full compensation
- Preparing your case to be filed as a lawsuit in court, if necessary, and advocating your claim if and when it goes to trial
If you have been the victim of a spinal cord injury caused by someone else, contact a Huntsville spinal injury lawyer at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. today to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case. You’ll learn more about why having our dedicated, experienced legal team in your corner can help you seek the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries from those responsible for your spinal cord injury.