Injuries to the spinal cord are quite common. In fact, nearly 5 million individuals in the US experience injuries like these each year. While these injuries vary in terms of their severity, they have permanent, life-altering consequences for approximately 400,000 of these victims. Both the cervical spine and lumbar spine can be affected by these types of injuries. Unfortunately, lifelong disabilities are common with spinal cord injuries since a full recovery isn’t always possible.
The brain sends signals to other parts of the body through the spinal cord. When an injury occurs, symptoms can occur in whatever part of the body is served by the injured portion of the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can range from relatively minor injuries like bruises to more severe problems like contusions or tears. In some cases, the spinal cord can even be completely severed.
Injuries that occur toward the top of the spinal cord usually have more severe repercussions than injuries that occur further down since more of the body is affected. In situations involving severe injuries, victims lose all muscular control and sense of feeling in the part of the body that is affected by the injury. With more minor injuries, however, victims are sometimes able to regain at least partial control of their muscles or some feeling in the area.
The majority of injuries to the spinal cord involve bruising. Complete severing of the spinal cord is a lot less common. An Albany spinal cord injury lawyer at Calvin Smith Law can help if you sustained injuries to your spine as a result of another party’s negligence. Call our personal injury firm today at (404) 383-7552 to schedule your free consultation.
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The Anatomy Of The Spinal Column
A series of bones known as vertebrae make up the spinal column. The vertebrae are classified by where they are located in the spine. The neck area is made up of seven vertebrae that are known as cervical vertebrae.
The chest area has twelve vertebrae known as thoracic vertebrae. Finally, five vertebrae known as lumbar vertebrae can be found in the lower part of the back. Special ligaments connect the vertebrae, keeping them properly aligned. Together, the bones and ligaments work in conjunction to create a spinal column that offers both protection and flexibility. Just below the sacrum, the tailbone is located. The tailbone itself is made up of anywhere from 4 to 5 segments of bone that are fused.
An Overview Of The Vertebrae
Vertebrae, which are the bones that make up the spine, each have two primary parts. The vertebral body is the portion of the vertebra that is found in front of the spinal cord. The neural arch, on the other hand, sits next to the spinal cord on both sides. The vertebrae are connected by special intervertebral discs.
The inside part of each disc is made up of nucleus pulposus, while the outside ring is made up of annulus fibrosis. The upper surface, which is also known as the superior surface, and the lower surface, which is referred to as the inferior surface, both have a thin covering of cartilage.
A Closer Look At The Neural Arch
On the backside of each vertebra, there is a section known as the neural arch. Pedicels connect the neural arch to the vertebral body, while facets, which are bilateral joints, allow the spine to move. These joints are located on the back section of the neural arch.
The upper facet articulates with the vertebra above it. There is also an inferior facet that can be found at the bottom of the neural arch. The laminae are seated at the midpoint. Projecting out from this point at the back of each vertebra is the spinous process. This is where the muscles and ligaments attach to the spine.
An Overview Of The Intravertebral Discs
Starting at the second vertebra in the neck, the vertebral bodies are separated by intravertebral discs. These discs continue down the spine to the sacrum, helping to hold the vertebrae together. Each intervertebral disc is made up of two primary parts. These include the annulus fibrosis and the nucleus pulposus.
The outer ring of each disc is known as the annulus fibrosis. The outer layer of the ring is made up of fibrous tissue, while the other layers are fibrocartilage. The annulus fibrosis, which is elastic, acts as an outer sheath for the nucleus pulposus. This is the center portion of the disc, which is approximately the same consistency as mucus or pulp.
What Types Of Spinal Injuries Occur The Most Often?
Herniated discs are some of the most common injuries to the spine. With a herniated disc, the nucleus pulposus extends out of the annulus fibrosis. This problem can occur at either the front or back of the disc. Herniated discs commonly put pressure on the spinal nerve roots, which can cause a lot of pain.
Herniated discs frequently occur as a result of trauma. Common examples of incidents that can lead to problems like these include car accidents or injuries at work. Anytime the spinal column is injured, a herniated disc can occur. If the herniation occurs at the back of the disk, it can put pressure on the nerve roots of the spine.
This type of pressure can be extremely painful. In situations where significant herniation has occurred, surgery may be required to correct the problem. Injuries to the spinal cord are commonly caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. When injuries like these occur, reaching out to a spinal injury lawyer is the best option.
The lawyers here at Calvin Smith Law have a lot of experience handling spinal cord injury cases. Our team is extremely knowledgeable about the anatomy of the spine and the long-term impact of injuries like these. We thoroughly investigate the accident or events that led to our clients’ injuries, giving them the best chance of success with their case.
If an injury to the spinal column has affected you or someone you care about, pick up the phone and give us a call today. Our knowledgeable lawyers can go to work for you to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. This includes any expenses related to your medical treatment as well as any wages that you lost. You may also be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering and for the loss of your ability to enjoy the same things that you did before the accident.
The attorneys here at Calvin Smith Law have helped clients in the Albany, Georgia area get successful outcomes in their spinal cord injury cases. This includes cases involving injuries like the loss of brain function, paralysis, or quadriplegia.
What Are Some Common Causes Of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries sometimes result in paralysis. Injuries like these occur when the spine experiences a severe, traumatic injury. In some cases, the vertebrae may be displaced, fractured, compressed, or entirely crushed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most well-respected healthcare institutions in the country, the majority of spinal injuries occur as a result of auto accidents. Approximately half of all spinal injuries are caused by accidents. Slip-and-fall injuries account for 24% of the injuries to the spinal cord, while violent encounters account for another 11%. The final 9% are the result of sports injuries or disease.
Construction workers are particularly prone to spinal injuries due to their dangerous working conditions. We have successfully represented clients in the past who sustained injuries like these at work. In essence, many situations can result in injuries to the spine.
These types of injuries can occur at work, when spending time outdoors, or even in your own home. Victims who were injured as a result of another party’s negligence can typically sue for compensation. Examples of common claims involving spinal injuries include work-related injuries, properties that were not adequately maintained, auto accidents, and products that malfunctioned or were defective.
We have worked with numerous spinal injury victims in the past and were successful in helping them get the compensation they were owed. Our goal is to help our clients get as much money as possible for their injuries, including recovering money that they lost because they were unable to work. Victims in cases like these may also be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering or damage to their property. Our lawyers will carefully evaluate your case to determine exactly what damages you can claim.
What Long-Term Impacts Are Associated With Injuries To The Spinal Cord?
Injuries to the spinal cord commonly result in paralysis. Depending on where the injury is located, the victim may be left quadriplegic, hemiplegic, or paraplegic. With severe injuries like these, 24/7 care is often required. This type of care is extremely expensive.
Along with the financial burden of dealing with injuries like these, victims may experience significant emotional suffering. The symptoms from injuries to the spinal cord may not appear right away. That is why we recommend against settling with the insurance company too soon after the accident. It is important to have your injuries evaluated by a medical professional before agreeing to a settlement.
These types of injuries sometimes take months or years to appear. Settling right away may ruin your chances of getting compensated if you experience pain or symptoms at a later date. The best way to avoid problems is by hiring a knowledgeable, experienced attorney. They can help you with every aspect of your case, ensuring that you don’t make any missteps that could wind up costing you.
How Common Are Injuries To The Spine?
Injuries to the spine occur a lot more frequently than you might think. They can be caused by everything from work-related accidents to auto accidents.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) has published a significant amount of data regarding spinal injuries in the US. According to their research, 300,000 people in America are dealing with injuries to their spine. On average, people with injuries like these are hospitalized for as long as 12 days.
Even after they get out of the hospital, however, their recovery is not over. Instead, they typically have to go through a rehabilitation period that can last for months. During this time, victims can experience a lot of pain and emotional suffering. Sadly, the aftermath of injuries like these can continue for years. In some cases, the injuries may even be permanent.
Spinal Cord Injuries And The Law
The majority of spinal cord injury cases involve negligent actions on the part of another party. Legally speaking, the injury occurred because of someone else’s negligence or disregard. Examples of situations that fall into this category include tumbling down a flight of stairs because the property owner failed to maintain the railing or getting injured in an auto accident that was caused by someone else. In situations like these, you may be eligible to sue for compensation.
To file a successful claim, you need to be able to show how the actions of the defendant led to your spinal cord injury. Injuries like these also commonly are the result of defective products. For instance, if your seatbelt or your airbags didn’t work the way they were designed to, you may be able to file for damages.
How Do Lawyers Defend Their Clients In Cases Involving Spinal Cord Injuries?
When a lawsuit is filed against someone in a spinal cord injury case, their lawyer may use some of the following defenses:
Contributory Or Comparative Negligence
The lawyer of the defendant may try to claim that the victim’s injuries were caused by their own actions. They try to present the events in a way that puts some or all of the blame on the victim rather than on their client. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 25% of spinal cord injury cases involve alcohol.
In a situation like this, the defendant’s lawyer could try to claim that the victim’s injuries were caused by them being intoxicated rather than by anything that their client did or didn’t do. A defense like this falls under the category of contributory negligence. In essence, the lawyer is arguing that the victim’s own carelessness led to their injuries. Courts often use this type of information when deciding how much blame to assign to both parties in the case.
Assumption Of Risk
Lawyers often use the assumption of risk defense in cases involving dangerous activities. Examples of scenarios that might fall into this category include skydiving, downhill skiing, or bungee jumping.
If a spinal cord injury occurs when participating in activities like these, the lawyer may try to claim that you knew the risks ahead of time and chose to participate anyway. Based on that, they will try to claim that you don’t deserve compensation for your injuries.
What Types Of Damages Can Be Claimed In Cases Involving Injuries To The Spinal Cord?
Common damages claimed in spinal cord injury cases include:
Costs Related To Medical Treatment
Most victims in cases like these include their medical expenses in their claims. This can include emergency room visits, appointments with their doctors, hospital stays, prescription medicine, and continuing rehabilitation. If future medical expenses are expected, the cost of those expenses can also be included in the claim.
The Loss Of Current Or Future Income
Injuries to the spinal cord are usually severe enough that they cause the victim to miss work. This can negatively impact their income. Sometimes, people are unable to return to work in the same capacity as before the accident. Victims can claim damages for any income that they lost while injured as well as any money that they may miss out on by their inability to work in the future.
Physical And Mental Pain
Victims can file for damages related to pain and suffering in cases involving injuries to the spinal cord. These types of injuries are not only physically painful but also can result in a great deal of emotional suffering.
In cases where the victim of a spinal cord injury dies, their family members can file a wrongful death suit. This allows them to seek compensation for the loss of financial support that they would have received if the victim had not died. They can also claim damages for the pain and suffering experienced by their loved one before their death.
Give us a call at Calvin Smith Law to talk to us about your case if you or someone close to you sustained spinal cord injuries. We will conduct a thorough case review for free. Through this review, we will help you determine which damages you qualify for based on the circumstances of your case.
Determining Fault In Cases Involving Injuries To The Spinal Cord
Auto accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. If the accident occurred because someone else was driving negligently, they are legally required to provide compensation for the damages and injuries that you sustained.
Slip-and-fall accidents in Albany, GA, also cause a large number of spinal cord injuries. With cases like these, the owner of the property may have failed to properly maintain it or may have left hazards unattended. In situations like these, they may be liable for your injuries.
When dealing with spinal cord injuries resulting from violent crimes, the person responsible can be charged in both a civil and criminal case. Our lawyers will carefully analyze the details of your case to determine who is at fault so that they can be held liable.
We will put our experience and expertise to work for you to help you get the money you are owed for your damages.
What Should I Do When A Spinal Cord Injury Happens?
In the past, we have handled a wide variety of cases related to spinal cord injuries. These include injuries caused by auto accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, and industrial accidents. We have represented construction workers, factory workers, and countless other victims who have suffered injuries like these.
As soon as an injury like this occurs, it is important to get medical help. With a spinal cord injury, you may be too incapacitated to pay attention to what is happening or to gather evidence. Fortunately, our investigators are well versed in accident recreation. They can use a variety of evidence to reconstruct your accident to determine exactly what happened and who was at fault.
Once your injuries have been treated, the next step is to reach out to a spinal cord injury lawyer in Albany, Georgia. Don’t delay. Instead, take action right away. The longer you wait to get legal help, the harder it will be to determine exactly what happened during the accident. One of the most important things to remember is that you should avoid settling with the insurance company until you have a lawyer by your side.
Victims commonly believe that they are being fairly compensated for their injuries. Sadly, they often fail to consider the costs they will incur in the future. Injuries like these can have life-altering impacts that lead to major expenses in the future. They also can cause long-term suffering.
Insurance companies usually offer victims for less than they are owed. Don’t fall into the trap of accepting a settlement offer like this. Instead, work with a lawyer to determine exactly what damages you can claim. This is the best way to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your injuries and your expenses.
What Happens When Injuries To The Spinal Cord Occur At Work?
If your spinal cord is injured at work, you most likely can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation insurance helps pay for the medical bills of employees who are injured on the job. In cases where someone else’s actions contributed to your injury, you may also be eligible to file a lawsuit against them in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
For instance, if you drive a commercial vehicle for work and a tractor-trailer ran into your vehicle, you have a legal right to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit against the other driver if their actions were negligent.
Why Should I Hire An Albany Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
With most types of injuries, a full recovery is possible. That isn’t always true with injuries involving the spinal cord, however. People who suffer injuries like these often are affected for their entire lives. They may require ongoing medical care for years after the accident.
Today, it is possible to live a rich and fulfilling life with a spinal cord injury. People who have sustained injuries like these have gone on to play sports or participate in marathons. They work in just about every field imaginable and have families of their own.
Ongoing research is currently being conducted in the field of regenerative therapy. One of the top reasons to hire us here at Calvin Smith Law is because we will work hard to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your injuries. The money that you receive will be enough to cover your ongoing expenses, allowing you to live the fullest, richest life possible.
Contact the Albany injury firm of Calvin Smith Law to learn more about our services. You can reach us at XXX–XXX–XXXX.