Spinal cord injuries have the potential to cause devastating effects on your ability to work, engage in daily activities, and care for yourself. When others are liable for your catastrophic injuries, you may be able to pursue a claim against them to recover for your injuries and damages. A Western PA catastrophic injury lawyer could be instrumental in filing a successful personal injury claim against those responsible for your injuries. With a strong legal representative, you may be in a superior position to obtain the compensation that you need.
Types of Harm to the Spinal Column
The spinal cord functions as the major information network between the brain and the body. The nerves along the spine send and receive information that controls movement, sensation, reflexes, and body functions. If damage to the spinal cord occurs, it is likely to be irreversible, which can fundamentally change the futures of those with spinal cord injuries.
Although the vertebrae protect the delicate spinal cord, they cannot withstand some levels of force, which causes damage to the spinal cord. Different segments of the spinal cord control various body parts and functions, so the effects of a spinal cord injury depend on where the injury is located on the spine. The different segments of the spine include:
- The cervical spine, located in the neck, controls the neck, arms, hands, and diaphragm
- The thoracic region of the spine controls abdominal and chest muscles
- The lumbar region controls leg, foot, and toe movement
- The sacral part of the spine controls bowel, bladder, and sexual functions
While bruising or lesions on the spinal cord can result in some incapacitation, individuals may still retain some sensation and movement. Lacerations or complete severing of the spinal cord, however, are likely to result in long-lasting or permanent paralysis. Due to the lifelong medical care that may be required, contacting a spinal cord injury lawyer in Western PA may be wise.
What are Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?
A common cause of damage to the spinal cord is auto accidents, which can cause the body to be jolted. If someone’s vehicle is rear-ended, the hit to the back of their car can harm their spinal column as they sit vertically inside the vehicle, causing the disks to be moved out of the line or closer together than they should be.
Spinal cord injuries also commonly occur from falling. A person who slips and lands on their side or back might sustain a spinal cord injury because a fall can damage the vertebrae and how they sit on top of each other.
Damages in Spinal Cord Injury Claims
Spinal cord injuries can result in paraplegia, which is paralysis in the legs, or in quadriplegia, which is paralysis in the arms, legs, and chest. Any level of paralysis may require round-the-clock care, and mobility may be a significant issue.
As a result of spinal cord injuries, individuals can require physical therapy and rehabilitation, surgery, medication, and other types of ongoing care. Injured persons may need assistive devices for mobility, such as wheelchairs and accessible vehicles. They also may require renovations to their homes to accommodate their mobility limitations.
Compensation from a personal injury action could cover many of these medical necessities. However, plaintiffs may also be able to obtain compensation for their emotional trauma, loss of income and earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among other damages. A personal injury attorney in Western PA may be in the best position to assess the viability of any personal injury claims and identify all potentially negligent parties.
Who is an Expert Witness in a Spinal Cord Case?
Evidence in a spinal cord damage case can include medical proof of the claimant’s injuries, but it must be admitted pursuant to the Rules of Evidence, which require an expert witness. The injured individual’s treating doctor will likely be called to testify about the injuries, the impact on the individual, and the future prognosis. Medical bills that were paid out of pocket or an economist’s calculation of future earnings that will be lost as a result of the spinal cord injury can also be included as evidence.
A Western PA Spinal Cord Injury Attorney May Be Able to Help
Spinal cord injuries can cause irreversible medical conditions that are likely to alter your life significantly. You may be unable to support yourself or your medical needs without the financial compensation that you may be eligible to receive through a personal injury action. Contact us to speak with a Western PA spinal cord injury lawyer for advice, you may be able to mount a claim for damages against those whose negligence caused your injuries.