Type of Injury
The spinal cord plays a vital role in the body and even a mild spinal cord injury can have debilitating effects on a person’s life.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 39.3% of all traumatic spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents, making it the most common cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries in the United States. Falls are the second most common cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries, representing about 31.8% of all cases. Acts of violence, particularly gunshot injuries, are the third most common cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries, accounting for about 13.5% of all injuries.
Injuries resulting in spinal cord damage
Types of spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries can fall into one of two different categories: complete spinal cord injuries and incomplete spinal cord injuries. In a complete spinal cord injury, the injury results in a total loss of movement or sensation below the point of injury. With incomplete spinal cord injuries, there may still be some level of sensation or movement below the point of injury.
Cases of incomplete spinal cord injuries can be broken down further into other categories, depending on where exactly the injury occurred:
- Anterior Cord Syndrome: Damage to the front of the spinal cord
- Central Cord Syndrome: Damage to the center of the spinal cord
- Posterior Cord Syndrome: Damage to the back of the spinal cord
- Brown-Sequard Syndrome: One side of the spinal cord is damaged
- Cauda Equina Lesion: The nerves between the first and second lumbar region of the spine are injured
It’s important to note that losing sensation or motion because of a spinal cord injury doesn’t necessarily mean the spinal cord has been severed. Other types of damage to the spine, such as bruising or crushing, can also cause a loss of function.
A spinal cord injury can also result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. Paraplegia involves a complete inability to move the legs while injuries that cause quadriplegia are located higher on the spine, impacting the ability to move the arms and the legs. Quadriplegia and paraplegia can either be complete or incomplete.
Damages in a spinal cord injury claim
Traumatic spinal cord injuries involve a lot of medical expenses. Not only are there the initial costs of treatment, it’s also very common for people to be rehospitalized for a spinal cord injury. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, about 30% of people with spinal cord injuries are rehospitalized at least once during any given year following the injury. Hospital stays can also be quite lengthy. As of 2015, the average length of a stay in a hospital acute care unit for a spinal cord injury was 11 days. If a person needs to be rehospitalized for their injury, the average length of the hospital stay is 19 days.
When injuries are as traumatic as spinal cord injuries, it can be very difficult for people to return to work afterward. Data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center shows that, since 2015, 66% of spinal cord injury victims were employed at the time of the accident, but just 17.4% were employed one year post-injury.
If a spinal cord injury victim is able to eventually return to work, they may not be able to do the same type of work they had been doing before their accident. In this case, the costs of vocational training could be part of a spinal cord injury claim.
In-home medical care & household assistance
Once a person with a spinal cord injury returns home, they typically need in-home medical care and assistance around the house afterward. Even if a family member is able to help out, the nature of the injury might require treatments that can only be given by a trained professional. They may also need things to help them adapt to life with their injury, such as getting a wheelchair or making modifications to their home or vehicle.
If the person who is injured was acting as a caregiver for another family member or was a stay-at-home parent at the time of the accident, the costs of hiring other people to perform those types of services for them can also be covered in a claim.
Lost quality of life
Spinal cord injuries profoundly impact a person’s life and very often, people aren’t able to do all of the activities they used to enjoy doing before their accident. If this happens, a person can claim damages for diminished quality of life.
Contact a Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer
Dealing with the effects of a spinal cord injury is difficult enough. You need the help of an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer who can fight to protect your best interests. We’re not afraid to stand up to insurance companies who want you to settle for as little money as possible. The spinal cord injuries at The Wallace Firm are ready to fight for you and help you get all of the compensation you need. Contact us today for help with your claim.