The spinal cord is a long tube-like structure that runs from the end of the brain stem to near the bottom of the spine. This fragile part of the body is made up of nerves that transmit messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Personal injury to any part of the spinal cord can cause permanent changes in sensation, strength, and other functions below the injury site.
Traumatic spinal cord injuries can result from a sudden blow to the spine that crushes, fractures, dislocates, or compresses one or more of the vertebrae. Almost half of all new spinal cord injuries each year are due to motor vehicle accidents. However, they can also be due to a stab wound or gunshot that cuts the spinal cord. In the days and weeks following the traumatic event, there may be additional swelling, bleeding, fluid build-up, and inflammation in and around the spinal cord.
Like other injuries, spinal cord damage varies in severity from person to person. However, many victims find that their lives change in profound ways. Still, with treatment and rehab some go on to live independently. Recovering from a spinal cord injury can take a long time and it can be very expensive. If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to get full compensation. You will need help from an Albany personal injury lawyer.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are typically classified as either complete or incomplete. If you have the ability to feel or control movement below the affected area, this is considered an incomplete injury. However, if you have lost all feeling and all ability to control movement below the damaged area, your injury will be deemed complete.
Paralysis resulting from a spinal cord injury may fall into the categories of either paraplegia or tetraplegia. Paraplegia is when paralysis affects all or a portion of the legs, trunk, and pelvic organs. Meanwhile, tetraplegia or quadriplegia is when your hands, arms, legs, trunk, and pelvic organs are all affected.
Any type of spinal cord injury can result in:
- Loss or alteration of sensation
- Loss of movement
- Exaggerated reflexes or spasms
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
- Pain or a stinging sensation
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
What to Look Out for Following an Accident
If you were involved in an accident, you need to pay attention to your health. It’s important that you see a doctor even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. You must seek emergency treatment if you notice:
- Numbness, tingling or loss of feeling in your fingers, hands, feet or toes
- Severe back pain or pressure in your back, neck or head
- Difficulty balancing and walking
- Weakness, lack of coordination or paralysis in any area of the body
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty breathing
- A strangely positioned or twisted back or neck
As soon as possible after seeing a doctor, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer in Albany so they can begin to look into your case. Spinal cord injuries are too serious to ignore.
If an ambulance is called to the scene of a serious accident, the paramedics will likely assume that you have a spinal cord injury until it is proven otherwise. Numbness and paralysis can come on immediately but sometimes, the victim doesn’t know about the injury until the spinal cord begins to bleed or swell. If your injury isn’t diagnosed in time, your condition could worsen. The shorter the time between injury and treatment, the more likely it is that complications can be kept to a minimum. Recovery time may also be shorter.
Contact Calvin Smith Law Today for Help with Your Case
Your losses are likely to be significant. Not only will medical care be expensive, but you probably won’t be able to earn an income for some time. The Albany personal injury attorneys at Calvin Smith Law can help you to get the compensation you deserve. If someone else caused your injuries, they should have to compensate you for medical expenses, lost income and lost earning capacity, disability, assistive devices, home modification, pain and suffering, and more.
These cases can be complex so you should contact us at the earliest opportunity or have your spouse or relative do so. The first consultation is free, and you’ll benefit from a no-obligation case review. If you choose to hire us, you only pay when we recover damages on your behalf. Call us today to discuss your case.