Few injuries are as devastating as a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury can completely change your life, hurting you physically, financially, and emotionally.
When someone else’s negligence causes your injury, call The Robert Pahlke Law Group. Our Nebraska personal injury lawyers have worked with people who have suffered spinal cord injuries and helped them get the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one were injured, get in touch with our office to request a free consultation to see if we can file a personal injury claim and help you take back your life and restore your independence.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spine is your backbone. It runs from the base of your skull to the middle of your hips. The spinal column houses the spinal cord, from which nerves branch off and send messages to and from the brain to other parts of the body. The cord is a critical part of the central nervous system, and as such, injury to the spinal cord can lead to significant disability.
A spinal cord injury is the result of a blow to the spine or a penetrating wound to the spinal column. It is important to note that in most cases, a spinal cord injury is not the result of a severed spine. When doctors classify spinal cord injuries, there are two main distinctions.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
An incomplete spinal cord injury is exactly as it sounds—incomplete. When someone sustains an incomplete spinal cord injury, the brain-to-body messaging system is not completely blocked. An incomplete spinal cord injury usually results in partial paralysis. The level of paralysis will exist from the point of injury down. However, the patient may retain some function on either side of the body.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
Unlike an incomplete spinal cord injury, a person who has a complete spinal cord injury will not retain any movement or feeling below the point of injury. According to the AANS, approximately 50 percent of all spinal cord injuries are complete. Once the injury happens, the paralysis is usually permanent.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury are not always immediately apparent. In fact, in many instances, symptoms do not appear until days after the injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is because the swelling can continue to spread over the days after a trauma, resulting in additional pressure on the spinal cord. This is why the Mayo Clinic recommends anyone who experiences a major trauma to seek out medical treatment right away. If caught early, permanent damage can often be prevented. If you exhibit any symptoms or suspect a spinal cord injury, seek emergency medical care.
Common symptoms include:
- Extreme pain in the neck or back
- Loss of movement
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Difficulty breathing or walking
- Bulging or bumps on the spine
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
A spinal cord injury is the result of a major trauma. As humans, the potential for harm happens every day. Knowing the primary causes of spinal cord injuries can help prevent injury. The top causes include:
Motor vehicle accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. The Mayo Clinic reports that nearly half of all new injuries are the result of a motor vehicle accident. These injuries most often happen as the result of a serious truck or car accident. To prevent spinal cord injuries in a car accident, always wear your seat belt and practice safe driving habits.
Falls account for approximately one-third of all spinal cord injuries. However, they are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries for adults 65 and over. Common causes of falls include:
- Workplace injuries
- Weakened bones
To prevent falls, always follow safety precautions. Do not let small children climb high furniture or trees. If you sustain a fall, it is always a good idea to visit the doctor to have medical imaging done.
We don’t usually consider sports traumatic events, but high impact sports can cause significant damage to the body. The best way to avoid injury is to wear necessary protective gear and follow the direction of trained professionals. If a spinal cord injury happens at a school or club-sponsored event, the administration or coach may bear legal responsibility.
Illness or Disease
A small number of spinal cord injuries happen as a result of disease or illness. Illnesses that can lead to spinal cord injuries include:
- Spinal stenosis
Acts of Violence
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries may result from physical acts of violence. Most commonly, these injuries happen in a stabbing or gunshot wound. A spinal cord injury can also occur as a result of domestic violence when the victim is pushed or hit. In addition to criminal charges, you may have a basis for a personal injury claim when you sustain a spinal cord injury because of an act of violence.
What to Do After a Spinal Cord Injury
After a spinal cord injury, the number one priority is your health. A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. If you suspect a spinal cord injury, call 911 for emergency transportation to an emergency room. If your injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may have the right to seek financial compensation. The law generally gives victims four years to pursue damages against the party with legal liability for the injury. At The Robert Pahlke Law Group, our attorneys work with injured parties to help them pursue legal action.
Contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys Now
Recovering from a spinal cord injury isn’t easy, but you’re not alone—according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, nearly 17,000 new spinal cord injuries happen every year. Still, it helps to have someone on your side whom you can trust. At The Robert Pahlke Law Group, our goal is to help our clients obtain the financial resources they need to get the care and treatment they deserve. We achieve this by fighting for a fair and just financial outcome for our clients, whether in or out of court.
Your injuries matter, but they should never define you. Don’t let them. To learn more about your rights and talk to one of our legal professionals, call The Robert Pahlke Law Group at (308) 633-4444 or contact us online to request a free consultation.