There are very few injuries that are as debilitating as a spinal cord injury (SCI). Such an injury impacts your ability to lead a normal life and has a negative effect on the person both physically and emotionally in many cases. The pain of a spinal cord injury is often intense, and the cost of treatment can be astronomical. That is why it is crucial you retain caring counsel and support during this time. Turn to our Richmond spinal cord injury attorneys for counsel you can trust.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is usually caused by a traumatic occurrence or blow to the spine.
According to the National SCI Statistical Center, the most common causes of SCI are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Acts of violence, such as gunshot wounds
- Recreational sports activities
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Stab wounds
- Diving board accidents
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can vary widely in their intensity and level of damage. In essence, it is damage to the spinal cord that results in partial or total loss of motor control and sensation. After an SCI, your ability to control your arms and legs depends on two different elements: at what point along your spinal cord the injury was sustained and the seriousness or extent of the SCI. The neurological level of the injury refers to the lowest part of your spinal cord that is still "normal" after the injury. The "completeness" of the injury refers to the severity of the injury. Completeness can be classified in two categories:
- Complete - An SCI is considered "complete" if the injured person has lost almost all sensory feeling and ability to control movement (known as "motor function.")
- Incomplete - When an SCI injury leaves the injured person with some sensory or motor function below the area(s) affected by the injury, it is referred to as an "incomplete" SCI. There are, as one would imagine, different degrees of incomplete injuries.
In addition, paralysis from an SCI may be referred to as:
- Tetraplegia or quadriplegia - Your legs, trunk, arms, hands, and pelvic organs are all affected by the SCI.
- Paraplegia - Paralysis affects all or part of the torso, pelvic organs, and legs.
Emergency Signs & Symptoms
After an accident, you should watch for the following signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain or pressure in your neck, head or back
- Lack of coordination, weakness, or paralysis anywhere in your body
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your toes, feet, fingers or hands
- Loss of movement or feeling
- Loss of bowel or bladder control or function
- Trouble with walking and balance
- Difficulty breathing after the injury
- An oddly positioned or twisted back or neck
Even a seemingly minor accident can lead to a devastating spinal cord injury.
When to See a Doctor
In any situation where someone suffers significant trauma to their head, neck, back, or anywhere near the spinal cord, they should seek immediate medical care and be evaluated for a possible spinal injury.
In truth, it's always safer to assume that a victim has suffered a spinal injury until it can be proven otherwise because a severe spinal injury is not always readily apparent. If an SCI isn't recognized right away, a more catastrophic injury might occur. Paralysis or numbness might be present immediately after the injury, or they may come on gradually as swelling or bleeding begin to occur in or around the spinal cord. Furthermore, the amount of time between the victim's injury and getting medical treatment can be critical in determining the extent of complications and the amount of recovery possible.
Halperin Law Center has many years of experience litigating complex cases that involve partial or complete spinal cord injuries. We can be your partner and guide you through the process of ensuring you recover fair compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, contact our firm now to speak with our personal injury attorneys in Richmond. The Halperin Law Center offers free, no-obligation consultations.