Spinal injuries involve damage to the spinal cord or the vertebrae, disks, or ligaments of the spinal column. The spinal cord is a nerve bundle that transports signals between the brain and the rest of the body. When trauma damages the spinal cord, nerve impulses will no longer be able to communicate below the area where the injury occurred. Victims of spinal cord accidents may experience the loss of motor function, sensory function, and may experience partial or total paralysis. In the event of a spinal cord injury, medical professionals should attend to the victim immediately.
Spinal cord injuries are often separated into two categories: traumatic and non-traumatic.
Traumatic spinal cord injuries involve impact to the spinal cord that damages the vertebrae and may even sever the spinal cord.
Non-traumatic spinal cord injuries are the result of internal damage to the spinal cord through illness, disease, or degeneration of tissue.
There are a variety of causes of spinal cord accidents, and the impact on the victim’s life depends on the severity of the injury.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
Common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Impact from falls
- Sports injuries
- Acts of violence
Car accidents comprise the majority (38%) of spinal cord injuries, according to the The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Recent studies suggest that these injuries might be attributed to inadequate safety systems in our vehicles, low manufacturing standards, distracted or aggressive driving, or poorly designed roads.
The symptoms of a spinal cord injury might be mild or moderate, or they may be life-threatening. Some spinal cord injury symptoms may diminish and disappear over time, while others may be permanent.
Spinal Cord Injury Signs and Symptoms
Some notable signs and symptoms can alert you to a serious spinal cord injury. These symptoms include:
- Loss of coordination, weakness, or paralysis in any part of your body
- Tingling or numbness in your extremities,
- Pressure in your head, neck, or back
- Severe back pain
- Balance issues and difficulty walking
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of bowel control
- Odd or uncomfortable back or neck positioning
If you suspect that your loved one may have suffered trauma to his or her spine or spinal cord, it is critical to seek medical treatment immediately. Prompt evaluation by a doctor may help prevent long-term damage. It is important to understand that not all symptoms appear immediately.
What to Do If You Suspect a Spinal Cord Injury
If you have been involved in a severe accident and believe that someone has suffered a serious spinal cord injury, you should:
- Call 911 immediately. Do not leave the scene of the crash.
- Provide first aid to the victim, including stopping any bleeding and making sure the victim is comfortable.
- Keep the person still and do not try to move them. Moving a victim with a serious spinal cord injury may result in paralysis or additional complications.
- Make sure that the victim does not move their neck by placing towels or clothing around the person’s neck or holding their neck still until emergency services arrive.
Spinal cord injuries may be prevented by wearing your seatbelt and exercising caution when driving.
Unfortunately, adequate precautions on your part may not avoid a serious injury accident from occurring, especially if the other driver acts recklessly or negligently.
Car Accidents and Spinal Cord Injuries
If you or someone you love suffered a spinal cord injury in a Denver car accident caused by another driver, you should seek the guidance of a knowledgeable injury lawyer. In any accident, there are many factors that could have contributed to the crash. If the accident was caused by carelessness, recklessness, or other negligent actions on the part of someone else, you should not have to pay the medical bills. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you might be able to recover damages for your past and future medical treatments, loss of future earnings, and pain, suffering, and other punitive damages. The other motorist may be at fault for the accident if the driver:
- Failed to drive in a reasonable manner
- Failed to obey the speed limit and adjust speed for weather conditions, traffic, and construction
- Did not maintain his or her vehicle
- Was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or was distracted at the time of the collision
If the other driver failed to drive in a responsible manner, he or she may be held responsible for the accident. You may have suffered a serious and debilitating injury through no fault of your own, and you should not have to shoulder the financial burdens of treating injuries caused by another motorist.
The Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
Depending on the seriousness of your spinal cord injury, the estimated cost of the first year of care ranges from $350,000 to $1 million, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. While the first year is the most expensive (due to the initial treatment after the accident), subsequent years range from $4,000 to $182,000.
For a 25-year-old who sustains a spinal cord injury causing paraplegia, the lifetime costs of dealing with the injury are estimated at $2.3 million.
If you were hurt due to the reckless actions of another driver, that driver’s insurance should pay for your medical treatment and future care needs related to the injury. But the insurer will try to pay the lowest amount possible to settle the claim. You will need a determined spinal cord injury lawyer to hold the at-fault driver and his or her insurer accountable and demand a full settlement. That’s why it is so important to seek the help of a legal team that has a heritage of justice and decades of experience handling catastrophic injury claims.
Contact The Sawaya Law Firm
The Denver spinal cord accident lawyers of The Sawaya Law Firm have been fighting for the rights of injured people in Colorado since 1977. We understand the lasting impact that spinal cord injuries can have on your life, your ability to work and your future. We are committed to fighting for every penny of compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious spinal cord injury. Don’t let another person’s recklessness cost you everything you once enjoyed. Call the attorneys of The Sawaya Law Firm at (720) 709-2802 today.