A spinal cord injury can occur in an instant, yet its consequences can last a lifetime. The spinal cord is a vital component of our central nervous system, and when it is impacted, the rest of the body can be affected. After an accident or other traumatic event, it is vital to get a diagnosis of whether a spinal cord injury has occurred and of its potentially wider implications. This is important not only for protecting your health but also for determining the financial compensation that you may be entitled to recover.
These are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries:
- Motor vehicle accidents — Car crashes, motorcycle accidents and other motor vehicle incidents can result in severe trauma to the body, including the tissue and vertebrae that surround the spinal cord.
- Falls — Slipping or tripping can lead to a fall on a hard surface, and landing on one’s back can injure the spinal cord. Falling from heights can cause even more acute harm.
- Sports and recreation — High-impact sports like football, rugby, hockey and boxing expose participants to risk of spinal injuries. Diving, waterskiing and climbing also carry significant risks.
- Violence — Physical altercations, gunshot wounds and knife injuries can lead to severe, life-altering consequences for victims.
- Medical procedures — Complications from medical interventions like surgeries or epidural injections can sometimes hurt the spinal cord.
The spinal cord’s primary function is to relay messages between the brain and the body. When the spinal cord is damaged, it can disrupt these vital communication pathways, resulting in physical and neurological impairments such as the following:
- Paralysis — The extent of paralysis depends on the location and severity of the injury.
- Loss of sensation — Victims may experience numbness, tingling or loss of temperature and pain perception in the affected areas.
- Respiratory Issues — High cervical spinal cord injuries can impact the muscles involved in breathing.
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction — Spinal cord injuries can result in incontinence or the need for catheterization.
- Secondary complications — Victims are more susceptible to pressure sores, infections, deep vein thrombosis and other serious side effects.
- Emotional and psychological impact — Victims often suffer depression, anxiety and grief over lost abilities.
In a spinal cord injury lawsuit, a victim may recover economic damages — such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and wages lost due to inability to work — as well as noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. They may be entitled to compensation for the expected costs of long-term care, such as a home healthcare assistant. Victims also may win damages to cover needed alterations to their homes, such as wheelchair-access ramps, stairlifts, widened doorways and bathroom modifications.
Goldberg Sager & Associates represents victims of spinal cord injuries in New York City and the surrounding counties. Please contact us online or call us at 718-514-9516 to schedule a free initial consultation.