Spinal Cord Injuries - An Overview

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Spinal Cord Injuries - An Overview

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is an injury to the spinal cord resulting in varying degrees of loss of function and paralysis, depending on which part of the spine was injured and the severity of the injury. The injury can occur from a traumatic event, such as a motor vehicle accident, or from illness or disease. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), more than 270,000 people in the United States currently live with a spinal cord injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, there are legal options available to you. A personal injury attorney from Culpepper Kurland in Tampa, FL, can speak with you about your rights and options for pursuing a case against those responsible for your spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injuries

Every year in the U.S., there are approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries. Of these, more than 80 percent are suffered by men. Common causes of spinal cord injuries are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Deliberate acts of violence (stabbings, shootings)
  • Falls
  • Sports-related accidents (diving, skiing, contact sports)

Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that the spinal cord is unable to receive and send messages to the brain past the level of injury on the spine. An incomplete injury means that the spine still is able to receive and send some messages from the brain past the level of injury.

Treatment of spinal cord injuries

At this time, the treatment options for spinal cord injuries are limited. If the injury resulted in a fracture to the vertebrae protecting the cord, surgery may be performed to correct the fracture and relieve the compression on the spine. After surgery, some function may be recovered. There is not a current surgical option that will recover all function lost due to SCI.

Rehabilitation is the main cornerstone of treatment designed to help the injured person retain as much function as possible. Rehab treatments may include working with a number of specialists, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, nutritionists, neurologists, psychologists and others. Rehab focuses on a range of issues, from preventing muscle atrophy to providing job training.

Pursuing a lawsuit

Spinal cord injuries are some of the worst types of injuries suffered today. Not only do the victims suffer paralysis, but there are also many other health consequences from a SCI, including bowel and bladder problems, breathing difficulty, blood pressure and heart dysfunction, spasms, loss of reproductive and sexual function and increased risk of blood clots, bed sores and pneumonia. People with SCI generally also have a shorter life expectancy.

If a spinal cord injury resulted because of another person's negligent acts, the injured person can take legal action against the responsible party to recover damages. Depending on how the injury occurred, there are different types of lawsuits that may be filed:

  • Personal injury lawsuit: if the spinal cord injury resulted from an individual's negligence, like a car accident
  • Medical malpractice: if the spinal cord injury resulted from a surgical mistake or misdiagnosis
  • Products liability: if the spinal cord injury resulted from a defective product, like a seatbelt
  • Premises liability: if the spinal cord injury occurred on another person or entity's property

A personal injury attorney experienced in spinal cord injury cases can determine which type of case is best to pursue according to the circumstances of your particular situation.

Damages in spinal cord injury cases

The types of compensation available in SCI cases vary depending on state law, but typically include:

  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Future anticipated medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering

Speak to a personal injury lawyer

A spinal cord injury impacts every aspect of a person's life. If you or someone you care about has been affected by a spinal cord injury, contactt Culpepper Kurland in Tampa, FL, today to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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