Spinal Cord Injuries
Burlington Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Spinal cord injuries affect an estimated 250,000 people in the United States, and about 12,500 new injuries are reported every year. They are caused by impact or trauma to the spinal cord, which either bruises it, stretches it, or completely tears this vital column of nerves. Spinal injuries can also affect the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs surrounding the cord. In general, the higher the location of the injury on the spinal cord, the more disability the victim will suffer.
The main causes of spinal cord injury in the United States are motor vehicle crashes, falls, violent crime, sports or recreation, and disease. In many cases, spinal damage is inflicted on victims through no fault of their own. When this happens, the victim may pursue a personal injury claim to recover money from the at-fault party, whether that is a drunk driver, a careless trucking company, or a negligent nursing home.
If you or a family member has questions about filing a spinal cord injury claim in Massachusetts, please call our Burlington personal injury attorney at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. We offer a free consultation to review your legal options.
The Mayo Clinic names a few groups of people who are more likely to suffer spinal cord damage than others. They include: males, people between 16-30 years old, people over 65 years old, and people engaged in extreme sports or risky behaviors - driving is considered one of them.
Here are ways in which spinal injuries most often happen, and who might be to blame:
- Vehicle collisions: Whether you’re in a car, bicycling, or walking, colliding with a motor vehicle unexpectedly at the wrong speed or angle can easily damage your spine. Higher speeds tend to lead to worse injuries, and alcohol is said to be a factor in 1 out of every 4 spinal injuries. Needless to say, if you were hit by a drunk driver, he or she is liable for your medical costs.
- Falls: Falls are a bigger risk for older adults, but a fall from heights or fall onto a hard, angled surface can injure anyone. Employees, such as construction workers, are especially at risk of severe injury to the spinal cord in a workplace incident. Fall are also a danger in healthcare situations. Patients checked into a hospital are usually weak and disoriented. If left unattended, they can experience falls and traumatic injuries. Hospitals and nursing homes must be vigilant to prevent these falls. When they aren’t, they may be held liable in a lawsuit.
- Sports injuries: Being tackled by another player, diving into shallow water, or suffering a wipeout on an ATV, snowboard, or water ski can be enough to change your life permanently. Liability would rest on the party that either caused the injury directly, or allowed a dangerous condition that contributed to the injury. For example, if a pool owner didn’t post signs saying “No Diving” or depth measurements, or didn’t provide supervision to minors using the pool, that owner would most likely be liable in a personal injury claim.
- Dog bites: If the victim is small enough or the dog is large enough, spinal trauma is a serious danger in a bite incident. Children are the most likely to suffer spinal injury in any animal attack. As always, it is the dog owner’s responsibility to control the dog, and special care needs to be taken around children, who don’t know how dangerous animals can be. When a child is attacked, the dog’s owner or the person with control of the dog at the time is almost certainly liable.
Paralysis is perhaps the biggest danger of spinal trauma. Injuries come in two varieties: incomplete or complete. Incomplete injuries still allow the victim to feel some sensation and have some motor control beneath the location of the injury. Complete injuries remove all feeling and control beneath the location of the injury.
If the injury severs the spinal cord near the waist, you will most likely suffer paraplegia, a paralysis affecting the torso, pelvic organs, and legs. If the trauma "transected" the spinal cord near the neck, you will likely suffer quadriplegia, paralysis of your entire body below the neck.
Some other long-term effects of spinal damage may include:
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Loss of movement
- Altered sensations, such as inability to feel heat, cold, texture
- Inability to control bowel/bladder
- Inability to have sexual relations
- Chronic or intense pain caused by the damaged nerves
- Weight loss and muscle atrophy
- Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
- Depression or emotional distress
Spinal victims can lead rich and fulfilling lives, but the costs of ongoing medical treatments, therapies, in-home care, lifestyle changes, lost work, and more are very high. If another person or company caused your spinal injury, you shouldn’t be the one stuck paying for it.
At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our legal team has experience with the devastation caused by spinal cord injuries. We often work with trusted medical consultants in these difficult cases. We have helped many clients seek fair compensation from the liable party and get started on the road to recovery.
For a free consultation about your own situation, please call (781) 262-3338. Nobody knows these injuries better than a Boston spinal injury attorney, and we will examine your case and discern if compensation is available for you.
- Car Accident Injuries and the Danger of Avoiding Treatment
- Spinal Cord Injury - Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Spinal Cord Injuries - MedlinePlus
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation