Spinal cord injuries can be devastating. Every year, more than 10,000 spinal injury claims are reported in the United States. The Mesa personal injury lawyers at SGP Law have successfully handled many cases involving spinal injury claims for clients in Mesa and throughout Maricopa County. Below, you will find some of the most common questions asked about spinal cord injury claims.
What To Do If You Sustain A Spinal Cord Injury?
Getting the call that a loved one was injured in any form of accident is earth shattering, but it doesn’t stop there when there are serious injuries. Being present when your loved one’s medical examinations and diagnoses are conducted can induce panic attacks, as medical jargon is often confusing and it can be difficult to come to terms with life-changing realities. However, as you and your loved ones go through this difficult time, it is important to stay as calm as possible and learn all you can about their condition and how it impacts their quality of life, especially when it comes to spinal injuries from accidents.
For those who have loved ones with blows or impacts to the back vertebrae structure, it is common for the phrase “spinal cord injury,” or the acronym “SCI,” to be mentioned. Different levels of the vertebrae impact the mobility function a victim will lose following any accident.
When a victim is evaluated for neck and spine injuries, medical professionals follow a scale established by the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA). The five-level ASIA scale helps them determine severity of injuries based on spinal cord, as well as nerve sensory, damage. The worst-case scenario is noted as category A; whereas the best possible outcome is category E.
- Category A SCI signifies no nerve sensory or mobility in S4 or S5 sacral nerves, which control rectal bodily functions
- Category B SCI is assigned to patients with nerve sensation below injury point as well as rectal function
- Category C SCI is for those with muscles and nerve reactions near and below injury impact point, but they are often too weak to conduct anal sphincter contraction and other motor functions
- Category D SCI is similar to Category C SCI but notates that the key muscles for anal sphincter contractions are stronger, and there is nerve reaction below the initial injury
- Category E SCI defines patients with vertebrae injuries but no nerve or motor damage
Because categories A-C spinal cord injuries are devastating and greatly affect the victims and their immediate families, injury settlements are often sought to compensate for the loss of quality of life. Dependents and loved ones of spinal cord injury victims are urged to consult with injury attorneys while seeking justice and compensation to offset lack of financial income from the victim, as well as mounting medical bills for testing, therapy and any potential treatment procedures.
Spinal cord injuries can occur from a variety of accidents or health complications, but the most common sources include auto or motorcycle collisions, falls, gunshot injuries, knife wounds, and athletic activities (Mayo Clinic). While it does not have to be a direct hit to the spinal column itself, medical complications can occur to the nerve structure if there is damage to the ligaments or spinal disks supporting the column.
For the most serious cases, Category A for example, medical diagnostics consider victims to be quadriplegics. Depending on severity of nerve damage and motor function abilities, some quadriplegics are tetraplegics, which is a more independent form of quadriplegia, but there is a loss of quality of life nonetheless.
How Do People Sustain Spinal Cord Injuries?
Most spinal cord injuries are caused by an accident. Car and motor vehicle collisions, sports-related injuries, falls, gunshot and stab wounds, and other serious accidents can lead to long-term pain and suffering. One of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries is slipping and falling caused by uneven surfaces, oil spills, ice, debris, and other slippery substances. In recent years, an increasing number of motor vehicle accidents are resulting in life-altering spinal cord injuries. Anyone who receives this type of injury in an accident should contact our Mesa personal injury attorneys for help receiving compensation.
Spinal injuries can also be the result of a long-term illness. Cancer, spinal disc degeneration, arthritis, and other conditions can lead to what is referred to as a non-traumatic spinal cord injury. Whether the injury is traumatic or non-traumatic in nature, the symptoms are often the same.
What are the symptoms and prognosis of spinal cord injuries?
The spinal cord is an integral part of a person’s nervous system. Any damage to this vital organ can result in extremely painful symptoms. There are two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at SGP Law have compiled some valuable information about both categories of spinal cord trauma:
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
- Some loss of control and feeling below the injury site usually occurs with incomplete spinal cord injuries.
- Many individuals with minor spinal cord injuries make a full or almost-full recovery over time with treatment.
- Moderate spinal cord injuries often result in permanent loss of feeling and movement, and will usually take longer to heal.
- Treatments include medications for pain, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, rest, and surgeries to regain functionality.
- Recovery time for this type of injury varies on a case by case basis.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
- Complete spinal cord injuries encompass a variety of traumatic and non-traumatic cases where feeling is completely lost below the site of the injury.
- This type of injury typically results in a loss of motor function control.
- Diagnosis is made based upon symptoms presented, as well as MRIs and x-rays, to determine the scope of damage.
- Unfortunately, our personal injury attorneys have seen that the prognosis for a full recovery from complete spinal cord injuries is not optimistic. While some feeling and motor function may be regained in the affected area, this positive outcome rarely happens.
- There is no cure for spinal cord injuries. It is for this reason that prevention measures are so important. Physical therapy, surgeries and anti-inflammatory drugs can help once a patient has been diagnosed. However, it will take much longer for an individual to recover from a complete spinal cord injury than an incomplete one.
Will My Life Ever Be The Same Again?
When someone suffers from a traumatic or non-traumatic spinal cord injury, their lives are changed forever. They may not be able to walk for several months, several years or ever again. Always keep your personal safety in mind when participating in any sort of activity. Falling down stairs, roughhousing, and other seemingly mundane activities can change your life forever.
Taking Legal Action
If you wish to file a spinal injury claim against a negligent party, contact the Mesa personal injury and spinal cord injury attorneys at SGP Law today. We understand how heartbreaking, frustrating and life-changing this type of injury is. We will work tirelessly to hold the responsible party accountable for your pain, suffering and altered quality of life.
Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC, has more than 50 years of experience with car, truck and motorcycle accidents, which are the cause of the vast majority of spinal cord injuries. We strive to secure the settlement for your injury that you deserve, getting you adequate care and just compensation. Inquire about a free consultation from some of the most experienced liability and injury trial attorneys in Mesa.