Following a spinal cord injury, victims and their loved ones often face a lifetime of hardships, from limited mobility to long-term health complications. In this difficult situation, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Recent estimates indicate that the annual occurrence of spinal cord injuries in the United States is approximately 54 cases per one million people, or about 17,730 new spinal cord injury cases each year. Approximately 291,000 individuals in the U.S. live with spinal cord injuries.
People facing the challenges of a spinal cord injury need help obtaining the financial support they need to recover and move forward with their lives. At Emroch & Kilduff, we represent victims of spinal cord injuries and their families in recovering the compensation they deserve from anyone whose careless actions caused them harm. Call us today at (888) 358-1568 to learn about how we can help.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries usually result from trauma that fractures, pulls, compresses, or pushes the spinal cord in unnatural and damaging ways.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, car accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injury, accounting for 38.4 percent of all cases since 2010. Falls are the next-most-common cause, especially for elderly Virginians. Other common causes of spinal cord injury include gunshot wounds (11 percent of all spinal cord injuries) and sports injuries (8.7 percent of new spinal cord injury cases). When it comes to sports injuries, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to sustain trauma that damages your spinal cord. Even recreational activities like bike riding or bouncing on a trampoline can lead to serious damages to the spinal cord.
Elderly people can also sustain spinal cord injuries from relatively ordinary falls, such as slipping on a wet floor or tripping over loose carpeting.
Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
The repercussions of a spinal cord injury are often devastating and wide-ranging. Following such an injury, you may need to adapt your everyday life to your new condition, and you may need a lifetime of specialized medical care.
Some effects are immediate, whereas others emerge over months or years. These longer-term effects may include:
- Quadriplegia, or loss of feeling and function in all four limbs and the torso
- Paraplegia, loss of feeling and function in the torso and legs
- Full or partial paralysis
- Lack of bladder and bowel control
- Sexual dysfunction
- Syringomyelia, a condition in which a cyst forms on the spinal cord
Spinal cord injuries also commonly result in secondary health complications. These may include:
- Breathing problems
- Urinary tract infections
- Bed sores
- Blood clots and blocked arteries
- Insensitivity to pain
- Muscle spasms
- Weight fluctuation
In the aftermath of a spinal cord injury, victims often want to know their prognosis right away. Will they ever walk again? Will they regain feeling in certain parts of their body? Unfortunately, those are very difficult questions to answer. Spinal cord injuries have widely varying recovery horizons. What “maximum” recovery looks like for a patient might evolve over time, depending on how well the patient responds to therapy, advances in medicine, and the tiny particularities of the injury.
That uncertainty about prognosis means victims of spinal cord injury often need to plan for the worst and hope for the best, financially-speaking. In other words, they need to obtain financial compensation sufficient to ensure that even if their recovery is limited, they can still return to some degree of a “normal” life.
Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries
Because there is no cure for spinal cord injuries at this time, victims should seek compensation for those responsible to help cover the enormous expenses of medical care and other costs that accompany such injuries. Compensation won’t remove the physical damage of a spinal cord injury, but it can help an injured individual rebuild his or her life.
When someone’s careless or reckless conduct causes a spinal cord injury, the victim of the injury may have the legal right to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses. Compensation for your medical expenses will likely cover doctor bills, hospital bills, prescriptions, and rehabilitation costs. Furthermore, the cost of future care is considered because spinal cord injuries often require long-term treatment.
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress. You may receive damages for your physical pain as well as the potential feelings of anxiety and depression that come from a life-changing injury.
- In-home assistance and renovations. In the aftermath of your injury, you may require assistance performing everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, showering, dressing, and transporting yourself and your family. You may require a home remodel to accommodate your injuries.
- Loss of consortium. Damages for loss of consortium are intended to compensate an injured individual for subsequent strains on personal relationships.
- Lost wages. Spinal cord injuries often force injured individuals to miss a great deal of work. Thus, your damages should compensate you for both lost wages and future lost wages. The injury may affect your ability to perform the same type of work in the future, necessitating a career change.
Contact an Experienced Petersburg Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Learning to live with a spinal cord injury may prove challenging. If you or a loved one has experienced the life-changing pain of a spinal cord injury, reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Emroch & Kilduff in Petersburg, we have the knowledge and resources to pursue the best possible outcome for your specific circumstances. Call the dedicated lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff at (804) 358-1568, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We are here to help.