Spine Injury Lawyers - Spinal Cord Injury Compensation Claim Settlements
A spinal cord injury can have devastating effects on both the victim and the victim’s family who may find it necessary, in cases of severe spine injury to become carers. Whilst money cannot ever make up for a serious spine injury it can ensure that life is a little easier for those caught up in the catastrophe. Our spinal cord injury lawyers will deal with your compensation claim on a contingency basis which means that your claim is risk free and you only pay a legal fee if and when the case is won and damages are awarded in your favor. If the spine injury claim fails then there is nothing at all to pay. If you would like to speak to a spinal cord injury lawyer with no charge and with no further obligation just contact our offices and a specialist will contact you as soon as possible. A spinal cord injury lawyer will discuss your potential compensation claim, will advise on negligence and liability against the third party and will give an estimate of the level of damages that you might expect to receive subject to final medical reports. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by speaking with one of our spine injury lawyers.
Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating injuries a person can sustain. Such injuries can be due to a blow to the body, such as in a motor vehicle accident, a fall from a great height, a diving injuries or a penetrating injury, such as that seen in stab wounds or gunshot wounds. Such injuries can damage ligaments and bones but, more importantly, it’s the spinal cord that becomes injured. The spinal cord is responsible for sending all the nerves from the brain down the spinal canal, sending out spinal nerves at various intervals.
The spinal cord can be crushed because of the injury; it can be transected or cut completely as a result of the trauma. The spinal cord can be compressed by a hematoma or blood clot pressing on it. Some lucky patients have just a hemi-transection or partial tear in the spinal cord so that a portion of the spinal cord is spared. The spinal cord can just be swollen because of blunt trauma; many of these times result in resolution of the injury and recovery of function.
A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency so you should call 911 anytime you suspect a person has suffered a spinal injury. Even if there is just a chance of a spine injury, make sure the injured person keeps their spine still until an emergency medical technician puts a cervical collar on and send the patient to the emergency room for x-rays. Moving about in thoracic and lumbar injuries is less serious but, to be on the safe side, do not move the patient if at all possible.
At the emergency room, x-rays will be taken, including a CT scan or MRI scan of the spinal cord, which will identify areas of swelling, transection or partial transection. This person should have protection around the affected area at all times until the patient is taken to the surgical suite. There, the doctors will stabilize the spine and remove any fragments of bone from the spinal canal and spinal cord. Hematomas are removed and the patient is placed in a semi-permanent device that keeps the spine straight and allows it to heal. If the spinal cord is crushed, swollen or has a hematoma, there is hope for recovery. If the spinal cord is transected, it cannot be stitched back together and there will be paralysis below the level of the transection.
Doctors have medical ways to help improve the function of the spinal cord, especially in cases of swelling of the cord. Methylprednisolone, if given within eight hours of injury, can reduce the swelling of the swollen areas of the spinal cord. Oxygen is given to provide as much oxygenation to the damaged tissue. In fact, spinal cord patients should receive 100 percent oxygen for the first few days of their injury.
Not all doctors do an adequate job of treating spinal cord injuries and this can result in a worsened outcome than would otherwise have happened. If you believe this is your situation, seek the advice of a malpractice lawyer who will review the chart and let you know if the treatment was optimal. You may be entitled to compensation for your worsened condition, loss of wages, disability care and pain or suffering.
A spinal cord hematoma can happen if a bullet came close to the spinal cord or if a knife or other sharp object came close to but did not injure the spinal cord itself. A hematoma is a blood clot, found often pushing on the cord due to the space effect of the hematoma. Pressure that is too great can result in a spinal cord infarction or “stroke” in the spinal cord. These can lead to paralysis similar to transection but more often, there are sporadic areas of function loss that are not as bad as if a transection occurred.
Another problem that can happen in a spinal cord injury is what’s called a central cord syndrome. In this syndrome, only the middle portion of the spinal cord suffers from damage and this results in a loss of fine motor control in the upper extremities and lesser problems in the lower extremities. Most people retain their bladder function if they develop central cord syndrome.
There are three levels in the spinal cord that can become injured. These include the cervical, the thoracic and the lumbar levels. The worst of these to have is a cervical injury. These are relatively common due to the fact that the neck is not well supported. There are seven cervical vertebrae which can be injured and all of these injuries lead to some aspect of quadriplegia, which is paralysis of the upper and lower extremities both. If you get damage above C2, you cannot breathe on your own and must live on a respirator for the rest of your life. If you suffer damage at C5, you lose everything below the extension of the wrist. If you lose C7, your fingers are affected. Even damage at T1 affects the upper extremity but only the part belonging to the little finger.
If you suffer damage to the thoracic area of the spine, the entirety of the lower extremity is involved and you develop what’s known as paraplegia. Your arms are unaffected. Fortunately, the thoracic spine is well protected and is injured most in penetrating wounds or serious falls.
In the lumbar region, there is less protection to the spine, it twists more, and it is more prone to injury. If L2 is affected, you lose your ability to flex at your hips. If L3 is damaged, you lose your ability to extend at the knee. If L4 is involved, you have problems functioning below the ankle. If L5 is affected, the only symptoms you will have is that of inability to extend your great toe. Rarely, S1 becomes involved in the injury and, in those cases; you lose the ability to extend at your ankle.
If you sustain a spinal injury and you suspect the cause of the injury was due to the negligence of someone else, see a personal injury lawyer. He or she will evaluate your case and decide whether or not there was negligence on the part of another person. If this is the case, the lawyer goes through your medical records and talks to your doctors about what your expected long term prognosis is. They determine the amount you should receive as compensation by looking at the degree of disability you have, what kind of pain and suffering you went through, what income you have already lost since the injury and what income you will expect to lose in the future because of your injury.