Spinal cord injury research is optimistic and ongoing around the world. Today, some victims can utilize improved treatment and rehabilitation technique to lead highly productive and independent lives.
In some cases, however, the spinal cord injury is so severe that advanced science is not yet effective and life-long care is required.
Before you file a personal injury suit in Florida, here are some common questions about spinal cord injuries to review:
According to the Mayo Clinic, a spinal cord injury is damage sustained to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves running down the length of the spinal canal.
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries don’t discriminate—nearly anyone can become a victim. There are, however, some risk factors that put individuals at greater risk or disadvantage.
Men, for example, account for 80 percent of all spinal cord injury victims; and victims are statistically between the ages of 16 and 35; however, people over 65-years-old are most at risk for falls and related spinal cord injuries.
Participating in risky behaviors like reckless driving or neglecting to wear proper safety gear while playing sports can also put individuals at a higher risk of injury.
People with degenerative bone or joint disorders like arthritis or osteoporosis have an increased risk of spinal cord injury.
Signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury may include, but are not limited to:
Spinal cord injuries can be illusive. In some cases, the signs and symptoms will be apparent immediately following a car crash or accident. However, this isn’t always the case.
Spinal cord injuries can be observed days or weeks after an incident. However, the period immediately following an incident is the most critical, and therefore, anyone suspected of having such an injury should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Depending on where and how severe the injury is, a spinal cord injury can affect the control, mobility, and sensation of limbs—this is often called paralysis. There are two classifications for spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.
Car crashes are the leading causes of spinal cord injury in the U.S. and account for 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year. In medical circles, it is considered prudent to assume a car crash victim who experienced extreme trauma to his or her head is likely to have a spinal cord injury until proven otherwise.
While a popular cause of injury, car crashes aren’t the only way people sustain a spinal cord injury. For example, any bleeding, swelling, inflammation, or fluid collection in or around the spinal cord can cause injury. Arthritis, cancer, and bone degeneration are all potential causes of spinal cord injury. Additionally, a gunshot, stab, or fall could also damage the spinal cord.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one in four spinal cord injuries involve alcohol.
A spinal cord injury can have adverse effects on a variety of functions throughout the body:
Estimates from the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation say the average cost for people with high tetraplegia, also called quadriplegia (i.e., loss of function in all four limbs and torso), is roughly $1 million for the first year. For incomplete injuries ranging in severity, the average is about $350,000.
Medical costs for a spinal cord injury can include, but are not limited to:
Other hidden expenses such as travel costs to and from the hospital, parking fees, food while traveling, or therapy for depression also contribute to medical expenses.
As a victim recovers he or she will also lose wages resulting from time away from work. In some cases, the potential to earn an income may be limited or lost altogether if the injury is severe.
The total cost of spinal cord surgery is difficult to value since it often involves an enormous change in lifestyle for both the victim and his or her family.
The short answer is, yes; but you will need to contact an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer to ensure the case has merit and potential in court.
More specifically, someone else (aside from, or in addition to the victim) must be shown to be responsible for the injury, or negligent. This isn’t always clear in car crash cases or on-the-job accidents.
This is why it’s important to seek counsel from an experienced attorney who knows the law and can weed through the facts of the case.
At Heintz & Becker Law Firm, we provide compassionate, legal relief for Florida victims who’ve suffered a spinal cord injury.
Call 941-748-2916 today; or, tell us what happened online to get started now.