Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe personal injuries we can experience. These injuries can cause paralysis and loss of sensation below the site of the injury.
There are a variety of causes of spinal injuries, including bullet or stab wounds, traumatic injury (especially in a car accident), diving accidents, electric shocks, extreme twisting, sports injuries, and falls. A serious spinal injury can be a radically life-changing event in an individual’s life.
If you or a loved one has experienced a serious injury to your spinal cord as the result of another person’s negligence, contact the Tucson spinal cord injury lawyers at Khalidi Law Firm for a free consultation. Spinal injuries can result in serious loss of mobility and heavy medical expenses. Contact us online or give us a call to find out if you have a case.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many ways the spinal cord can be injured, but spinal cord injuries are broadly divided into two categories: complete and incomplete.
- Incomplete spinal cord injuries: These account for more than 60 percent of spinal cord injuries. With incomplete injuries, the spinal cord is only partially severed. Some function is retained below the site of the injury.
- Complete spinal cord injuries: As you’d expect, complete injuries are those that completely sever the spinal cord. These injuries eliminate all function below the site of the injury.
Please note that these are only the broadest categories of spinal cord injuries. These injuries are also differentiated by where the spine was injured (front, back, middle) and the patterns the paralysis takes (quadriplegia, paraplegia, etc.).
Level of Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are also categorized in terms of their level. The level of a spinal cord injury measures which of the vertebrae has been injured. The injury level specifies which portion of the cord (cervical, thoracic, or lumbosacral) has been injured, as well as which particular vertebra has suffered the injury.
In this naming and numbering system, the higher the number of the vertebra, the lower down the back it is located. The C1 (first cervical vertebra) is the first vertebra of the neck, for example. If you’ve suffered an injury, your doctor will give you more detailed information about which specific vertebrae are damaged. Be sure to ask questions, or have a patient advocate present to ask questions on your behalf. You’ll want to understand details of your injury to understand it, and to understand how you will live with your injury after your initial trauma heals.
Treatment for spinal cord injuries will vary significantly depending on the nature of the injury, but you can be sure it will involve at least a few of the following:
- Physical therapy to strengthen the area that’s been injured
- Surgery, whether to remove an object or body part that penetrated the spinal cord or to limit movement in the spinal column
- Steroid injections, to reduce inflammation
- Short-term use of a ventilator or feeding tube if the injury prevents easy breathing or eating
- Lifestyle changes (quitting smoking, switching to a healthier diet, etc.)
- Family and individual counseling.
There are also promising indications that stem cell treatments may be able to regenerate damaged tissues. These treatments are still in their developmental stage, but the future looks bright for regenerative treatments.
Financial Realities of Spinal Injuries
The financial costs of spinal cord injuries are more than most people can afford. A partially paralyzed person can expect to incur more than $100,000 in medical expenses during the first year. A fully paralyzed person may incur more than $400,000 in expenses during that first year.
Those are medical expenses alone. They do not include regular costs of living or lost wages due to being unable to work.
If you or someone you love has been paralyzed in an accident, legal action may be necessary for you to secure the funds necessary to pay these medical expenses. Financial compensation is meant to make up for such costs as hospitalization, medical care, at-home caregivers, rehabilitation, psychiatric care, lost wages, expenses not covered by insurance, travel expenses (for medical care), family support services, and funeral expenses.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you will need legal help to get the funds to help you move forward with your life after the injury. We understand what you’re going through in this time, and we will do all we can to make the process easier for you.
Questions? Talk to a Tucson Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Let us help you determine if a spinal injury you or a loved one suffered in an accident may qualify for compensation under a personal injury claim. The Khalidi Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience helping injured persons in the Tucson area get the closure they deserve. If you have suffered injury or lost a loved one as a result of a spinal injury, we can help. Contact our Tucson injury lawyers at The Khalidi Law Firm.