Spinal Cord InjuryWe have successfully represented plaintiffs in civil matters for more than three decades.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function, mobility or feeling. The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for these losses to occur.
Spinal cord injuries are not infrequent and can occur for several reasons. Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for 44% of all spinal cord injuries, 24% are caused are by acts of violence, 22% are caused by falls and 8% are caused by sports-related accidents (diving accidents are responsible for 2/3 of all sports-related accidents).
Almost 11,000 people in the United States sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury each year, and more than 200,000 people live with paralysis caused by SCI.
There are five forms of Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
- Compression is caused by pressure on the spinal cord.
- Contusion is bruising of the spinal cord.
- Laceration occurs there is often permanent damage that can result in paralysis, loss of voluntary movement, loss of sensation, inability to control autonomic activity, pain and problems with bodily functions.
- Central Cord Syndrome
- Complete Severing
The resulting problems are determined by the area of the spine that was damaged:
- Damage to the cervical spinal region affects the neck, arms and hands.
- Damage to the thoracic spinal region affects the chest, torso and parts of the arms.
- Damage to the lumbar spinal region affects the hips and legs.
- Damage to the sacral spinal region affects the groin, parts of the legs and toes.
The result of spinal cord injuries can be temporary or permanent. Terms that are often used to describe permanent spinal injuries are:
- Paraparesis: A slight degree of paralysis affecting the lower extremities.
- Paraplegia: Complete paralysis of both lower extremities and usually the lower trunk. The upper extremities are not involved.
- Quadriparesis: Partial paralysis of all four limbs (arms, legs).
- Quadriplegia (or Tetraplegia: Complete paralysis of all four limbs).
Other SCI Terms:
- Paresis: Partial paralysis.
- Paralysis: Partial or complete loss of motor function
- Paresthesias: Abnormal sensation such as burning or tingling
Doctors will determine which areas of the spine are affected, discover how much damage has been caused and try to create an effective rehabilitation plan to help the patient. Some spinal injuries can be helped by rehabilitation, but there are still many non-medical problems that have resulted due to the injury. Victims of SCI and their families deserve to be compensated.
Do I have a case?
As you can see, there are many ways in which a person may suffer trauma to the spinal cord. The type of injury, the relationship of that injury to sustained trauma and a determination of negligence all play a vital role in establishing responsibility. The costs of your recovery and continued treatment can be staggering. The average out-of-pocket costs for severe SCI treatment in the first year alone can exceed $570,000 and average more than $100,000 for each subsequent year.
Victims are not only looking at medical bills, but also future, long-term rehabilitation, negative changes in their finances and the emotional distress the situation has caused for both the victim and their family.
What can I do?
In spinal cord injury cases it is essential that measures be taken to promptly preserve evidence, examine medical records and review the procedures in question to enable physicians or other medical experts to thoroughly evaluate the causes of injury.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury
If so, please contact Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty at 614-222-4444 / 877-706-6446. Our initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds on your behalf. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.