Spinal Injury Requires an Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer
Spinal injury can occur from various types of accidents. Regardless of the cause of spinal injury, the impact to the victim and their family can be devastating. Depending on the type and severity of the spinal injury, the lifestyle change, as well the medical expenses associated with treatment and possibly long term care, can be significant.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident due to the negligence of another and were left with spinal injury, contacting a personal injury attorney is essential to ensuring you are compensated appropriately for your injuries and pain and suffering. The experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys at the Clark Law Firm, P.C., can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your case and advise you as to the best course of legal action.
What Is the Spinal Cord? | Causes of Spinal Injury
The backbone, or spinal cord / spinal column, includes a group of nerves that carry messages between the brain and rest of the body. The spinal cord encompasses and serves as protection to those nerves. Spinal cord injuries are usually caused by some type of trauma to the spinal cord itself, or to the area surrounding the spinal column – including damage to tissue / ligaments surrounding the spinal cord, and/or dislocated compressed or crushed vertebrae.
The root cause of spinal cord injury varies and are usually caused by trauma, including automobile accidents, falls, acts of violence or recreational sports activities; however may occur from any of the following:
- DWI / DUI Accidents
- Aviation Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Lawn Tractor Roll Over Accidents
- Railroad Accidents
- Construction Accidents, including ladder accidents, crane collapses and scaffolding collapses
- Elevator & Escalator Accidents
- Explosion Accidents
- Fall down Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Defective Products
Types of Spinal Injury
Since the spinal cord is responsible for such a broad range of bodily functions, depending upon the level of trauma and location of the spinal injury, the resulting effects can range anywhere from just temporary pain or discomfort to partial or temporary paralysis, lack of bladder, bowel or sexual function and complete or permanent paralysis.
Spinal injury can occur in one or more of the four sections of the spine. The four sections include the cervical area, which is the neck; the thoracic area, which is located behind the chest; the lumbar area, which is the lower back area and the sacral, which is the tailbone area. Injuries to the cervical and /or lumbar areas are frequently associated with auto accidents.
The variation of spinal injury and symptoms vary greatly including partial paralysis (lower half of the body) – known as paraplegia, or full paralysis (all four limbs) – known as quadriplegia. Spinal injury can be considered incomplete or complete. Those victims with incomplete paralysis are left with some movement and sensation – what and where this sensation is depends upon the location and severity of the injury. Victims with complete spinal injury are paralyzed below the site of the injury. Often complete spinal injury results in permanent paralysis.
The location of the injury will dictate more specifically what functionality is lost. Generally speaking, the higher the location of the injury is to the spine, the greater the body area it affects. For example, injury to the cervical area can cause paralysis to both the upper and lower parts of the body, as well as head and neck movement. The remaining sections of the spine, the thoracic, lumbar and/or sacral regions affect parts of the body at and below their respective areas. Injury to the thoracic area can impede functions of the chest and abdomen, while injury to the lumbar section of the spine impact the hips and legs, and injury to the sacral area can affect bowel, bladder and sexual function.
Other than complete or partial paralysis, depending upon the location of the injury, other symptoms may include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of or impeded bowel and/or bladder control
- Sensory changes
- Blood pressure challenges
- Abnormal sweating
- Inability to maintain normal body temperature
- Challenges with motor skills, including speech
Symptoms of spinal injury are not always identified by the victim immediately. Often times as swelling and inflammation and/or bleeding occurs during the weeks following an accident, additional damage may be caused to the spinal cord and surrounding area. For this reason, it is imperative that you receive medical attention immediately following the accident, even if the victim is only experiencing minor or no symptoms initially. Some symptoms to be conscious of and taken seriously are:
- Any pressure or pain in the head, neck, or back area
- Weakness to any part of the body
- Inability to move any part of the body
- Difficulty with balance
- Strange body position
- Numbness or tingling to any part of the body
- Breathing difficulty
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries and Related Medical Expenses
Initial treatment of spinal injury usually entails restraining the spine and movement in order to minimize inflammation and to prevent further damage. The treatment following will vary greatly depending upon the location and severity of the spinal injury; however, most spinal injury cases require significant physical therapy and rehabilitation, often continuing long term.
The frequency and number of Americans living with spinal cord injuries is staggering – approximately 250,000. Only approximately half of those injured have health insurance at the time of the accident that covers their medical expenses and long term treatment and care. The costs associated with treatment are significant, usually starting at six figures and growing to over $1 Million.
Contact New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys to Handle Your Spinal Injury Case
Spinal injuries are frequently life altering based both on the physical injuries sustained as well as financial hardship it imposes due to potential loss of work and ongoing medical costs. Most spinal injury cases are caused by negligence of an individual or company or by a defective product. In either situation, an experienced personal injury attorney is necessary in order to ensure the case is pursued effectively.
Spinal injury lawsuits usually entail complex legal and medical subject matter and therefore require a personal injury attorney that is experienced and familiar with spinal injury cases. Depending upon the circumstances, a spinal injury victim may be entitled to compensation for their lost income, medical care, and for their pain and suffering. In situations where the victim has perished due to a spinal cord injury, a wrongful death claim may be filed.
If you or a loved one have suffered from a spinal injury or a wrongful death has occurred, contact the Clark Law Firm, P.C. Our personal injury lawyers can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the case, can provide appropriate guidance, and will work hard to ensure that the negligent party or parties are held accountable and that you receive the appropriate compensation.