Any damage to the spinal cord can have a catastrophic effect on a victim's life. Our central nervous system is unique because the cells responsible for its functioning cannot regenerate when hurt and dying. That means both the brain and spinal cord have no way of healing after an injury.
A patient's best hope is to be able to re-wire surrounding cells to take on the function of those that were damaged. However, even for those who experience some level of recovery after damage to the spinal cord, returning to a pre-injury state is rarely possible. This means these patients may lose the ability to work, drive, or enjoy their favorite hobbies and pastimes.
If these things were taken from you because of someone else's negligence, our team is here to help you file for compensation. Peterson & Associates, P.C. has been fighting for injury victims for over 25 years, helping thousands of clients find justice after life-changing accidents. We want to know what we can do for you.
When to File a Spinal Cord Injury Claim
Any time you suffer an injury caused by someone else's negligent or reckless actions, you can recover damages from that person. Spinal cord injuries may be caused by:
- Car, truck, or other vehicle accidents
- Sports injuries
- Workplace accidents
- Malfunctioning products
Anyone who has suffered one of these injuries should strongly consider making a claim for compensation. Medical bills alone can climb into the hundreds of thousands for patients with spinal cord damage. This is not to mention the multiple other challenges and interruptions you will find yourself facing. Every one of these losses can be addressed in an injury claim.
Impacts and Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries
When the spinal cord is damaged, its ability to relay messages between the brain and the rest of the body is impaired. This results in either partial or complete paralysis.
- Partial paralysis means a patient has some control of their muscles. (This condition is also known as paresis.)
- Complete paralysis means a patient has no control or communication with any parts of the body beneath the damaged section of the spinal cord.
The severity of a patient's paralysis depends on the nature of the injury. If the spinal cord is severed or the trauma has affected its entire width, complete paralysis is inevitable. When the injury does not affect the width of the spinal cord, a patient may retain partial control of the muscles below the damage.
Types of Paralysis
Spinal cord injury may lead to a diagnosis of:
- Monoplegia, or paralysis of one limb only
- Hemiplegia, or paralysis of both limbs on one side of the body
- Diplegia, or paralysis of the same part(s) on both sides of the body
- Paraplegia, or paralysis of the legs and potentially part of the trunk
- Quadriplegia or tetraplegia, or paralysis of both arms and legs as well as parts of the trunk
Complications of a Spinal Cord Injury
Paralysis is characterized by a loss of muscle control, which means patients with this condition cannot move voluntarily. However, this is only one of the challenges this condition brings. Damage to the spinal cord also interrupts the functioning of subconscious or automatic reactions.
While we do not have to think about things like breathing rhythm or the way our esophagus muscles help us swallow food, the brain does direct these functions. Spinal cord injury can lead to difficulties with:
- Swallowing and speaking
- Blood flow, breathing, and heart rate
- Organ and glandular function
- Urine and bowel control
- Sexual function
Aside from the practical difficulties of staying healthy when the body cannot self-regulate, these issues can also make it difficult for a patient to feel confident leaving the house and interacting with others. They can lead to depression and other mental health challenges. In worst-case scenarios, patients may develop chronic pain, autonomic dysfunction, or life-threatening respiratory and heart problems.
Why Work With an Attorney on Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
The breadth of losses and challenges related to a spinal cord injury is massive, and those who were hurt in this way because of someone else's actions deserve assistance dealing with the consequences. However, receiving fair compensation for your injury is not always easy—even though the law is on your side.
Though an insurance company may be legally bound to pay for your losses if you were injured by one of its clients, you may not receive a fair settlement offer. Because insurance adjusters want to save their company money by decreasing the amount it owes claimants, they are incentivized to understate the losses linked to an injury. They probably won't tell you that calculating the damages associated with a spinal cord injury goes far beyond looking at your medical bills. You could be able to request compensation for losses including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical needs
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Mental health care
- Accommodations and assistive devices
- Renovation for home and vehicle accessibility
- Household services and daily aid
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Future expected pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Focus on Your Recovery While We Handle Your Claim
Filing an insurance claim can be a frustrating experience, even when you aren't dealing with a life-changing injury. Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters will try to give claimants the run-around, so they agree to settlements that are lower than what they deserve.
When you have a professional on your side, you can be confident your needs will be handled with the utmost care. Peterson & Associates, P.C. knows the methods insurance adjusters may use to attempt to underpay you—including trying to unfairly shift some of the blame for your injury—and we won't stand for it. If an insurance company refuses to make an acceptable settlement offer, our team is ready to take a case to court. We are dedicated to helping our clients maximize their compensation.
Our team has worked with thousands of injury victims, and that experience has given us a unique view of what you need during this time. That's why we always focus first and foremost on making sure you have the support you need. We get to know our clients and their stories so we can build personalized strategies to achieve the results they are looking for. That's the kind of service you just won't get if you don't work with a team that truly cares about helping others.
Spinal cord injuries may change your life forever, but recovering compensation can help you access quality treatment and provide a financial safety net for your future. If you are looking for legal representation or even just considering whether to bring a suit against the person or company that injured you, our team can answer your questions and help you determine your best next steps. Contact us today.