Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe types of injuries a victim can suffer. These catastrophic injuries affect many parts of a victim’s life, including their ability to work, daily activities, and mental health. An experienced personal injury attorney understands that rarely do spinal injuries affect only the victim; friends and family suffer too.
Spinal cord injuries can have any number of causes, including things like car accidents and falls. Injuries can range widely in severity depending on the part of the spine that was injured and the extent of the damage.
Read on to learn more about types of spinal cord injuries, what compensation you may be entitled to recover, and how a qualified personal injury attorney can help you.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord comprises four distinct regions identified as cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Each of these types of spinal cord injuries disrupts and negatively affects the function of certain body parts.
Cervical Spinal Cord
The vertebrae in your neck comprise the cervical spine. Certain types of cervical spine injuries cause severe damage due to their proximity to the brain.
Injuries to this part of the spine can result for any number of reasons. Sudden impact from car accidents, falls, penetrating or blunt trauma, criminal violence, or sports-related accidents is what causes most cervical spine injuries. Any pressure or impact on this area can cause a loss of feeling below the shoulders or neck. These injuries often cause permanent or partial loss of sensory functions and can also be fatal in some situations. Swelling must decrease before the injured victim can move forward with the recovery process.
Thoracic Spinal Cord
Injuries in the thoracic spinal cord area affect the upper and middle sections of the spinal cord. These sections consist of twelve vertebrae identified from T1 to T12. Injuries to the T1 and T5 nerves impact muscles in the mid-back, abdomen, and chest. These nerves help a person breathe and control the rib cage, diaphragm, lungs, and other muscles. Injuries to the T6 and T12 nerves affect the back and abdominal muscles and assist with a person’s balance and posture. Harm to the thoracic region often results in paraplegia that may not hinder movement in a victim’s arms and hands but can paralyze the rest of the torso and body.
Lumbar Spinal Cord
The area of the lumbar spine is the second lowest section of the spinal cord. The vertebrae representing this area are identified as L1 to L5. This area of the spinal cord carries the most weight of the body and therefore has the most prominent vertebrae. Many types of lumbar spine injuries result in loss of function around the hips and legs. When it comes to lumbar spine injuries, causes commonly include motor vehicle accidents and falls. Other causes include medical malpractice, industrial accidents, and spinal cord diseases.
Sacral Spinal Cord
The sacral spine is the lowest section of the spinal cord and consists of five bones. These five bones are combined to form triangle-shaped nerves identified as S1 to S5. Each of these five nerves affects a different body part in the hips, thighs, buttocks, groin, and perineal areas. Sacral spinal injuries are rare. However, in situations where the sacral spine does suffer harm, severe sacral spinal injuries usually result in the loss of function in the hips, legs, or bowels and bladder.
What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bus accidents;
- Violent and criminal acts;
- Medical malpractice;
- Sport-related accidents;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Distracted driving;
- Defective products;
- Slip and falls, including slipping on hazardous surfaces;
- Premises accidents,
- Unsafe roads, and
- Pedestrian and cyclist accidents.
A qualified personal injury attorney gets to work investigating the cause of your spinal cord injuries to hold the right person responsible for your losses.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Spinal Cord Injury?
Injured victims in Washington can recover compensatory damages from the liable party through economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include tangible losses that directly result from your injuries. These damages include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Your attorney calculates these damages through evidence like invoices, pay stubs, bills, and other documentation.
Noneconomic damages include subjective losses after an accident, usually resulting in psychological and emotional harm. Examples of these damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent disability, and
Despite their intangible nature, these damages substantially disrupt a victim’s daily life. However, they can be harder to prove, so it may be challenging to recover without the help of a qualified personal injury attorney.
For over forty years, the attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner have provided clients with world-class legal support. When we meet with potential clients, we make sure that each injured victim understands all the benefits and risks involved with our proposed course of action in their case. We give you the tools to make an informed decision for yourself. You may feel overwhelmed by mounting medical expenses, an inability to work, and a future of expensive physical therapy and rehabilitation. Our attorneys know healing from an injury or accident is frightening and challenging. We treat you the same way we would want to be treated if we were in your shoes.
Because we work on a contingency fee structure, there are no upfront costs to add to your financial burden. We work hard to get you the best possible settlement or judgment in your case and are paid from those funds. Reach out to Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner if you are struggling with the aftermath of an accident and need support and advice. We know your options and how to move forward to get you and your family the relief you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you!