What is a spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injury can be defined as damage to the spinal cord that results in loss of function. The severity and the location of the injury on the spinal cord will dictate the effects that the victim will experience. Trauma to the spinal cord can result in impairments in sensory control, motor function, or nerve function. The most severe spinal cord injuries can lead to quadriplegia or even death.
Research indicates that the majority of spinal cord injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents, followed by falls, acts of violence, and sports injuries. Although the average length of stay in a hospital following the event varies depending on the severity of the injury, the same research indicates that patients stay for an average of 11 days, with an additional 34 days in a rehabilitation facility.
The medical and rehabilitative care that victims of spinal cord injuries will require is expensive. Make sure you have an attorney on your team that has experience in representing clients in Louisiana who have suffered debilitating spinal cord injuries. Our New Orleans attorneys at Cueria Law Firm want to help you recover financially after your spinal cord injury so you can focus on your physical recovery.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
The symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on the location of the injury on the spinal cord as well as the severity of the damage. If you or someone you love may have suffered a spinal cord injury, look for some of these initial symptoms of a spinal cord injury:
- Muscle weakness
- Breathing problems
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
- Low blood pressure
- Chronic pain
In general, when an injured person reports the loss of function below the level of injury, spinal cord injury is suspected. Several other symptoms may be present that indicate that the injured person should seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms include:
- Pain in the neck, head, or back
- Tingling in the extremities (hands or toes)
- Loss of control over any part of the body
- Difficulty controlling bowel or bladder function
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
Other side effects of a spinal cord injury can include:
- Breathing difficulty—a ventilator may be needed when the spinal cord is damaged in certain areas of the body.
- Low Blood Pressure/Irregular Heartbeat—in the cervical region of the body, a spinal cord injury can result in blood pressure that is unstable or an irregular heartbeat.
- Blood Clots—an individual with a spinal cord injury has an increased risk of developing blood clots
- Spasms—when damage occurs to the spinal cord, the brain stops regulating reflexes to the body as information is not relayed properly. This can lead to spastic movement.
- Pressure Sores—constant pressure can cause the skin tissue of the body to break down. An individual with a spinal cord injury that is paralyzed cannot move on their own which can see pressure sores created if the individual is not moved or rotated properly
- Pain—neurogenic pain can be caused due to nerve damage from the spinal cord injury
- Problems with bladder/bowel control—in most cases, a spinal cord injury will affect the bowel and bladder function of the body. A catheter may be needed for bladder control and a bowel program created
- Sexual Function issues—men are more greatly affected by sexual function issues when paralyzed. Men can have difficulty achieving an erection or ejaculating. Women can still become pregnant and carry the child to term.
Should I seek legal help for my injury?
Many people are hesitant to take legal action, especially when dealing with a severe injury like a spinal cord injury. However, there are many valid and compelling reasons why you should seek legal action after your injury:
- Recovering Medical Expenses: Medical care is expensive. For those affected by a severe spinal cord injury, medical costs do not end after the initial treatment. It is estimated that the average annual expenses for the first year of care alone could range from just under $400,000 to over $1,000,000 depending on the severity of the injury. When you add in the costs for subsequent years, the medical expenses alone could put a family into insurmountable debt. Thanks to employment lawyer Oregon for giving these valuable insight on the topic.
Holding the Negligent Party Accountable for Their Actions: Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injury include motor vehicle accidents, falls, or violent attacks. If another party is responsible for the damage you sustained, there can be many feelings of anger and helplessness. When another entity acts negligently and causes undue harm to an innocent victim, it is your duty to yourself and your community to make sure they’re held accountable. Not only does this help you in your emotional recovery, but it will help ensure that the same thing does not happen to someone else in the future.
Protecting the People You Love: The love and support of your family will be one of the most critical aspects of your recovery. When you take legal action against those that caused your injury, you are taking the first step in protecting and supporting your loved ones. The money that you recover can help pay for future medical bills, so your family members do not have to worry. Funds can also be saved to build a nest egg that your family can utilize in the future if you are unable to work.