Spine Injuries Lawyers in Columbia Recover Compensation for Injured Victims
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe injuries that come out of car crashes and other accidents. Damage to the spinal cord is often irreversible and can have devastating effects, including loss of sensation, loss of motor control, and paralysis. These types of injuries can also have a significant effect on your mental state, emotional health, ability to continue on in your career, and your relationships.
But if these injuries were caused through an accident that was someone else’s fault — whether that’s a truck accident or a surgical error — you may have legal options to help you recover compensation. While money won’t fix your injuries or make everything better, it can help relieve some of the burden of the medical debt you’re likely facing and give you some breathing room financially as you adjust to your new normal.
Spinal cord injury victims often end up with extensive medical bills and long-term changes to their quality of life, but if this is a situation you find yourself in, you do have options. Talk to a spinal cord injury lawyer at our firm today to discuss our services and what we can do to help.
What Kinds of Spinal Cord Injuries Are There?
Spinal cord injuries all involve injuries to the spine, but where the injury occurs and the severity of the injury itself can make a big difference when it comes to the symptoms and long-term consequences the victim experiences. Below you can find more information on some of the different types of spinal cord injuries and how they present.
The first distinction to be made is between complete and partial spinal injuries. A complete spinal injury means that all parts of the body that are located below the spinal injury no longer work. A partial spinal injury is when some function is retained in at least one of the body parts below the area of injury.
The majority of spinal cord injuries are partial, and there are three main types: central cord syndrome, anterior cord syndrome, and Brown-Sequard syndrome. Central cord syndrome is the most common out of these three, and it results in decreased usage of the hands and upper limbs and sometimes also decreased functionality in the lower limbs. Anterior cord syndrome is named that because it impacts the bottom section of the spinal cord. Common symptoms of this injury include not being able to feel temperature changes or pain below the injury and also having some paralysis below the injury. Brown-Sequard syndrome is a much less common spinal injury that leads to paralysis or weakness on one side of the body and a loss of sensation on the other.
There are also multiple types of complete spinal cord injuries, including paraplegia and tetraplegia. Paraplegia is when there is a complete loss of ability to move and any sensation in body parts below the area of injury. Tetraplegia is characterized by complete paralysis and can affect both upper and lower limbs in conjunction.
It’s very important if there is a suspected spinal cord injury that it is treated properly, including initially stabilizing the spine to avoid further injury. If you have questions about how the severity of your injury could impact your case and how much compensation you may be able to recover, talk to a spinal cord injury attorney.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Happen?
Spinal cord injuries can happen as a result of many types of accidents. A spinal cord injury usually happens where there is a direct blow to the spinal cord or back or there is a severe twist of the spine during the course of the accident that puts too much pressure on the spinal cord and the surrounding vertebrae. For example, you could have a spinal cord injury because of the vertebrae being broken and then cutting the spinal cord when you’re moved. This means that it’s also possible for spinal cord injuries to happen as a result of proper precautions not being taken after motor vehicle accidents.
However, spinal cord injuries can also result from other situations such as medical malpractice. The surgeon could nick the spinal cord when performing back surgery, for example. Any time you incur a spinal injury, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor if they can tell exactly what happened to the spine and how the injury might have been caused given the background information of the situation.
How Are Spinal Cord Injuries Treated and What’s the Prognosis?
Spinal cord injuries have to be treated correctly to avoid further damage to the spine. Protocol dictates that anyone who is suspected of having a spinal cord injury have their neck and back stabilized until they can be evaluated by a health professional to ensure that more movement doesn’t increase the injury or sever the spinal cord.
Once spinal cord damage has been assessed by a doctor, they will develop the treatment plan. Spinal injuries often require surgeries, sometimes more than one, to attempt to repair the damage. In some cases, the spine must be fused together, which is a process that requires lengthy recovery time and physical therapy. Those who have suffered spinal cord injuries often have to wear spinal collars or braces for a specific length of time as well.
When it comes to the prognosis for spinal cord injuries, a lot depends on the severity and type of injury. For mild injuries, all that may be needed is to wear a brace for several weeks to keep the area stabilized while you heal. However, with severe spinal cord injuries — particularly complete spinal cord injuries — recovering function and sensation of the limbs may be impossible.
How Much Can You Get in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
It’s impossible to know exactly how much you may be able to get if you file a personal injury lawsuit after sustaining spinal cord damage in an accident. In general, the amount of compensation that you ask for in a lawsuit is made up of three components: lost wages from time off work, medical bills and expenses incurred as a direct result of the injury, and a monetary award for pain and suffering. What is reasonable to ask for on these three points depends on the severity of the injury, what costs it involved, and how your quality of life has changed.
When you work with a spinal cord injury attorney, they can talk with you about the details of the accident, your injury, and what your life looks like before and after the accident to help you determine a number for compensation. However, it’s important to be aware that this is just a starting point. If you decide to settle out of court, this number is likely to go down a bit, and a jury may also decide not to award the entire amount you are asking for even if you win your case.
What Do Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Do?
Spinal cord injury lawyers are personal injury attorneys who have experience with spinal cord injury cases and are able to represent injured victims in court. One of their main roles is to educate their clients on their legal options, including the benefits and drawbacks of each one, and provide counsel on which option may be the right choice for this particular case. They have extensive experience with settling cases out of court as well as taking them to trial, so they can offer an informed opinion on what your chances are if you want to go to trial and what a reasonable settlement offer may be.
If you do decide to try to settle out of court, your attorney will represent you throughout the negotiations and be your voice. When there is a point to be contested, your attorney will talk privately with you to determine what you want to do or offer and then take that back to the legal team for the other side. This continues back and forth until a settlement is reached or you decide that reaching a settlement is impossible and you want to proceed with moving to trial. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions and stress at this point in the process, and an attorney can help present a more objective viewpoint and ensure that you are being practical in your approach.
If settlement negotiations don’t work out or either party isn’t open to settling, the case will end up in court for a trial. This is where an attorney is especially helpful because the rules and procedures for the courtroom are very particular, and it’s easy to make mistakes and miss opportunities to better your case if you aren’t familiar with them. As part of your legal team, your attorney will question witnesses, present evidence on your behalf, cross examine witnesses for the defense, and make opening and closing statements to the jury. If you don’t win your case, they can also talk to you about your options for appeal.
Don’t wait to find out what your legal options are for seeking compensation through the civil courts. At Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC, our team of spinal cord injury lawyers has extensive experience with these types of cases, and we’re prepared to represent your interests. Call (803) 888-2200 today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation with a member of our team and find out more about our firm.