The spinal cord is a cylindrical structure that runs through the center of the spine, from the brainstem to the lower back. It’s a fragile structure that contains nerve bundles and cells that carry impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. The spinal cord is one of the main parts of the nervous system. A spinal cord injury is a life-altering event with significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences. It can result in partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and other medical issues. The impact of a spinal cord injury can be long-lasting, requiring extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. Negligence is one of the most common causes of spinal cord injury. If the injury was caused by another party’s negligent or intentional actions, it might be possible to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Types of spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injury is of two types. It can be complete or partial. A complete injury causes total immobility below the level of the injury. It affects both sides of the body. A complete injury may cause paralysis of all four limbs or the lower parts of the body. It is a total disaster, and victims usually have minimal chance of recovery. While an incomplete injury occurs, some function remains on one or both sides of the body. The body and brain can still communicate along certain pathways.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries
It is important to note that another party’s negligent or intentional actions cause many spinal cord injuries. If you or your loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s actions, it may be possible to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and pursue the compensation you deserve. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries.
- Falls: Falls from heights or on slippery surfaces can cause spinal cord injuries, especially in older adults.
- Sports injuries: Spinal cord injuries can occur during contact sports or other high-impact activities, such as diving.
- Violence: Gunshot wounds, knife wounds, and other violent acts can cause spinal cord injuries.
- Medical conditions: Medical conditions such as tumors, infections, and degenerative disc disease can cause spinal cord injuries.
- Work-related injuries: Spinal cord injuries can occur on the job, especially in professions such as construction, mining, and logging.
- Recreational activities: Activities such as diving into shallow water, snowboarding, or skiing can result in spinal cord injuries.
Common consequences of spinal cord injuries
- Medical Treatment and Rehabilitation: Spinal cord injury victims often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation to help manage their condition and improve their quality of life. This can include surgeries to stabilize the spine, medications to manage pain and other symptoms, physical therapy to build strength and improve mobility, occupational therapy to help with daily activities, and assistive devices like wheelchairs or prosthetics. Rehabilitation may occur in a hospital or rehabilitation center but can also be done on an outpatient basis or in the patient’s home. The cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation can be high, and a personal injury lawsuit can help compensate victims for these expenses.
- Financial Consequences: Spinal cord injuries can have a major financial impact on victims and their families. Medical expenses, including hospital stays, surgeries, and ongoing care, can quickly add up. Additionally, many spinal cord injury victims cannot work or have reduced earning capacity due to their injury, leading to lost wages and a diminished quality of life. A personal injury lawsuit can help compensate victims for these financial losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of ongoing care.
- Emotional and Psychological Impact: Spinal cord injuries can have a profound emotional and psychological impact on the victim and their family members. The physical limitations imposed by the injury can be difficult to adjust to, and many victims struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Family members may also experience emotional distress as they navigate the challenges of caring for a loved one with a spinal cord injury. Support groups and counseling can be helpful resources for those struggling with the emotional and psychological impact of a spinal cord injury.
- Adaptive Technology: Adaptive technology can be a valuable resource for spinal cord injury victims, helping them to improve their mobility and quality of life. Wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and other assistive devices can allow spinal cord injury victims to participate in activities they may have thought were no longer possible. Additionally, there are many other types of technology, such as voice-activated devices and home automation systems, that can make daily tasks easier for spinal cord injury victims.
- Accessible Housing and Transportation: Accessible housing and transportation can be difficult to find for spinal cord injury victims and may require significant modifications to existing structures or the purchase of a specially-equipped vehicle. In some cases, the cost of these modifications can be substantial. It’s important for spinal cord injury victims and their families to be aware of the options available to them and to advocate for their needs in order to ensure that they have access to appropriate housing and transportation.
- Support and Resources: There are many organizations and resources available to help spinal cord injury victims and their families. Support groups can provide a valuable source of emotional support and guidance, while advocacy organizations can help victims and their families navigate the legal and medical systems. There are also many online resources available, including forums and informational websites, that can provide valuable information and support to those affected by spinal cord injuries.