Spinal cord injuries can debilitate people. If you suffered a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence, you know how traumatic that is. Your spinal cord is an integral part of your body’s messaging system, and because of the critical role it plays in your healthy functioning, any injury can lead to serious impairments.
Your Spinal Cord
Your spinal cord consists of a nerve network that traverses the middle of your back from your brain’s base to near your waist. These nerves make up a messaging system that sends crucial physical commands throughout your body and allows you to experience physical sensations and control your bodily movements.
Your spinal column consists of 33 vertebrae (small bones) that protect your spinal cord. Small cushions, or gel-filled discs, sit between and protect your vertebrae and keep them from rubbing together. Ligaments connect your vertebrae, and muscles and tendons surround and support your spinal column.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury that someone else’s negligence caused, you need skilled legal guidance. The personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas have the experience and knowledge to guide your claim toward its most favorable outcome.
A traumatic blow to the spinal cord or spinal column can lead to a partial or complete loss of sensation and function in the part of your body that the injured area controls (typically, areas below the injury). Significant loss of feeling is known as paralysis. The four primary categories of paralysis include:
- Paraplegia – paralysis below the waist, which can result in the loss of all or nearly all feeling in the legs and hips
- Quadriplegia – paralysis below the neck that usually affects all the organs and limbs at and below the injury site
- Hemiplegia – paralysis of the limbs on one side of the body
- Monoplegia – paralysis of a single area of the body, such as an arm or leg
Any form of paralysis is debilitating and can lead to significant physical, emotional, and financial devastation.
Incomplete and Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
The difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries is critical. A complete injury obstructs all signals from the brain to the body (at and below the injury site), and some paralysis is nearly inevitable. Incomplete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, allow some functioning to remain at and below the injury site. Those who suffer from these incomplete injuries can usually continue to regain functioning for about a year and a half (or even longer) after the accident.
Living with paralysis of any kind, however, is costly, and such injuries frequently cause complex secondary or chronic health conditions that health insurance companies don’t adequately cover.
Spinal cord injuries can also lead to vertebral disc disorders. A herniated disc occurs when you tear or rupture one of the gel-filled discs between your vertebrae, which causes the gel-like filling to leak out and put pressure on the nerves within your spinal cord. A bulging disc protrudes (rather than spills) into your spinal canal and pinches the nerves therein.
These serious spinal cord injuries can cause pain and incapacitation. If you were in an accident that injured your back, neck, or head, seek immediate medical attention.
Complications Associated with Spinal Cord Injuries
Additional health issues can complicate spinal cord injuries:
- Lung diseases and disorders
- Spasticity or tightening of muscles
- Urinary tract infections
- Pressure sores
- Depression and anxiety (which, in addition to physical impairments, can especially debilitate victims)
Signs of Serious Injuries
Take every spinal injury seriously, but look for signs that indicate major injuries:
- If you experience extreme pain
- If you lose bodily strength or coordination
- If you experience tingling or numbness in an area of your body
- If you lose bowel or bladder control
If you experience any of these symptoms after an accident, you need immediate medical attention.
Spinal Cord Injuries: The Costs
Every spinal cord injury—like every accident—is unique. If you suffered a spinal cord injury, however, you understand how traumatic that can be. Furthermore, the extensive expenses associated with these injuries may include:
- Medical treatments
- Assisted living during recovery (or long-term)
- Adaptive home modifications
- Adaptive vehicle modifications
- Ongoing physical therapy
- Counseling for emotional trauma
Spinal cord injuries can so overwhelm people that they can’t envision the comprehensive physical, emotional, and financial costs that they will face.
In fact, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) finds that during the first year after their injuries alone, spinal cord injury victims can incur expenses that range from about $350,000 to more than $1 million. Furthermore, during the course of their lifetimes, some sufferers will accrue nearly $5,000,000 in injury-related expenses. Spinal cord injury victims face daunting costs.
If You Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury, Contact a Skilled San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Spinal cord injuries are serious, and they can lead to lifelong health battles. If someone else’s negligence left you with a spinal cord injury, you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience defending these always-complicated claims. Because such injuries often lead to ongoing and costly treatments and care, you need to fight for your legal rights and your rightful compensation. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas have the skill, commitment, and compassion to help navigate your claim toward the beneficial resolution to which you’re entitled. Please contact or call us at (210) 225-0909 to schedule an appointment today.