Spinal cord injuries are typically caused by a blow to the spine, fracturing or dislocating the vertebrae. These fractured vertebrae can tear into cord tissue or put pressure on the nerve parts that carry signals, making it impossible for the spinal cord to transmit messages below the level of the injury and resulting in paralysis. Although spinal cord injuries can occur under a variety of circumstances, two of the most common causes of this type of injury are falls and motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle injuries involving the spinal cord typically result from one of the following types of trauma: excessive spinal pressure, spinal bruising (contusion), or lacerations. Falls account for approximately 21% of spinal cord injuries, causing tearing, crushing or severing of the spinal cord.
Eighty-one percent of motor vehicle accidents are caused by driver negligence. Negligent drivers are often inexperienced, distracted, speeding, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Slips and falls can occur under any number of circumstances, as can other spinal cord injury-related accidents. Unfortunately, many spinal cord injury victims are offered low settlements by insurance companies, looking to pay out the lowest possible amount in damages. The only way to fight an unfair or denied insurance claim is to hire an accident lawyer to represent your case.
Spinal cord injuries resulting from an accident can cause significant nerve damage, paralysis, muscle dystrophy, nervous system disturbances, and loss of reflex function. A complete spinal cord injury affects a victim’s movement and function below the level of the injury. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the victim still retains some degree of functionality below the level of the injury. Because the spinal cord is responsible for the function of almost every voluntary muscle in the body, a spinal cord injury can have catastrophic complications. Some of the most common symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
Trauma to the spinal cord can cause a total loss of pain sensation in the body or create pain sensations in a part of the body that is actually uninjured. For instance, an injury to the upper part of the spinal cord can result in the transmission of pain signals to the neck or arms, even though these parts of the body are injury-free. Spinal cord injuries can also cause a feeling of numbness in the limbs, as well as disturb temperature sensitivity in the skin, confusing the body’s regulation of body temperature. Finally, since the majority of muscles in the body depend on the spinal cord in order to function, victims of spinal cord injuries typically experience bowel and bladder difficulties due to dysfunctional muscle groups. Other common symptoms of spinal cord injuries include sexual dysfunction, muscle spasms and infection.
While there is currently no treatment for dead spinal cord tissue, victims of incomplete spinal cord injuries do have the potential to make a full recovery. Individuals suffering from a complete injury of the spinal cord however, will likely experience lifelong physical impairment of certain nervous system functions. Victims of spinal cord injuries resulting from an accident should consider how an accident lawsuit can benefit them. Too often, insurance companies deny the claims of seriously injured individuals, forcing them to struggle with costly medical bills as well as extensive pain and suffering. Should their injury prevent them from returning to work or participating in normal, everyday activities, as is the case in most spinal cord injuries, victims will also suffer from loss of income and decreased quality of life. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the deceptive practices of insurance companies; often, insurance claims adjusters are trained to offer victims low settlements, reject claims, or drag out claims in hopes that victims will simply tire of waiting and give up.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a spinal cord injury caused by an accident, contact an accident attorney as soon as possible. Only an experienced accident lawyer has the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively fight for your case. As a spinal cord injury victim, you are not at fault; you should not be held responsible for the expenses involved in your long-term treatment and medical care. An accident attorney can successfully represent your case, working toward fair settlement or damages for your injuries.