Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling. Frequent causes of damage are trauma (car accidents, gunshot wounds, falls, etc.) or disease (polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s Ataxia, etc.).
The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of functioning to occur. In fact, for most people with SCI, the spinal cord is intact, but the damage to it results in loss of functioning. Almost 11,000 people in the U.S. sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury each year, resulting in temporary or permanent sensory deficit, motor deficit, or bowel or bladder dysfunction. In this country, more than 250,000 people live with paralysis caused by SCI.
The Boulder spinal cord injury lawyers at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. provide aggressive representation to victims of SCI in order to help them get the maximum compensation for their injuries.
Spinal cord injuries can have a negative effect on all areas of your life. Activities like working, looking after your children, or even going for a walk can become impossible.
The considerable reduction in quality of life caused by spinal cord injuries means a lot is at stake in the litigation. Insurance companies, corporations, and individuals have a strong incentive to fight to the bitter end against providing compensation. This dynamic makes hiring a skilled spinal cord injury lawyer essential.
You deserve compensation if you suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior. The highly experienced spinal cord injury attorneys at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. can fight for you. We will ensure special interests can not prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve.
Different Kinds of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is any damage to the spinal cord itself or damage to the tissue and bones surrounding it. The term covers a broad spectrum of ailments ranging from mild to severe. Generally, there are two categories of spinal cord injuries based on severity: complete and incomplete. There are also four areas of the spinal cord that can be impacted. The severity of a spinal cord injury is affected by which site is injured.
Categories of Spinal Cord Injuries
Incomplete and complete spinal cord injuries are distinguished by how severe your injury is. It is considered incomplete if you still have motor function below the point of your spinal cord injury. Complete spinal cord injuries are present if there is no motor function below the point of damage.
Central cord syndrome is the most common incomplete spinal cord injury and typically impairs movements in the arms and legs.
Anterior cord syndrome affects the front of the spinal cord. It often leads to a loss of feeling and motor function below the location of the injury.
Brown-Sequard syndrome is due to a lesion on the spinal cord. It usually presents as weakness on one side of the body combined with a loss of sensation on the other side.
Though incomplete spinal cord injuries are less severe than complete injuries, they can have a substantial effect on your everyday life.
Complete spinal cord injuries
Complete spinal cord injuries are less common and are defined by complete paralysis below the point of the injury. The three categories of complete spinal cord injury are tetraplegia, triplegia, and paraplegia.
Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is the most severe spinal cord injury. It causes the inability to move any part of the body below the neck.
Triplegia is characterized by the inability to move three limbs.
Paraplegia is an inability to move the lower extremities.
All complete spinal cord injuries affect almost every aspect of a victim’s life and make some everyday activities impossible to do on their own.
Areas of the Spine That Can Be Affected
The severity of a spinal cord injury can also be determined by the location where the spinal column is damaged. The four sections of the spinal cord are the sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical areas.
Injuries to the sacral spine can affect the lower extremities. Most people with sacral spine injuries can walk and take care of themselves with the aid of special equipment.
Injuries to the lumbar spine affect the lower extremities more severely. These injuries can require the use of a wheelchair or walking braces.
Injuries to the thoracic spine usually result in paraplegia and can cause pain or numbness in the upper extremities.
Injuries to the cervical spine are the most severe and can cause triplegia or tetraplegia.
Though spinal cord injuries range in severity, all injuries to the spinal cord require immediate medical attention.
Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury
Almost all spinal cord injuries result from severe trauma. Common causes include:
Slips and falls, such as slipping on a wet surface, tripping on loose cords, or falling on a broken staircase;
Intentional violent acts, such as shootings, stabbings, and violent assaults;
Medical malpractice, such as botched surgeries and other medical procedures;
Sports injuries, such as skiing, snowboarding, and many contact sports;
Work-related accidents, such as falls from heights, motor vehicle accidents, and heavy machinery accidents; and
Diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. However, slip and falls cause the most spine injuries among adults 65 and up.
Other people’s negligence is often a significant factor contributing to spinal cord injuries. If this is the case, an attorney for spinal cord injury can help.
Common Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
There are many symptoms that may indicate the presence of a spinal cord injury. Symptoms include:
Feeling off balance,
Numbness or tingling in hands or feet,
Loss of feeling in hands or feet,
Extreme back or neck pain,
Pressure in the neck or head,
Twisted neck or back, and
Difficulty controlling bladder or bowels.
Any one of these symptoms may indicate the presence of a spinal cord injury. You should consult a doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of the preceding symptoms.
Who Is Responsible for Your Spinal Cord Injury?
Generally, personal injury claims for spinal cord injuries fall into two categories. The first is a claim of negligence. A negligence claim arises when a party who owes you a duty of care breaches that duty, resulting in your injuries.
The second type of claim involves a dangerous or defective product. These claims are referred to as product liability cases.
In this analysis, the law examines the alleged defect within a product and whether that defect caused your spinal cord injury. Defective product liability law is a specialized legal practice that, again, requires an experienced attorney.
In both negligence and product liability cases, an accident victim’s own role in causing their injuries will affect their recovery.
Colorado law relies on the doctrine of “modified comparative negligence” to determine which injury victims can recover financially from an at-fault party.
Under a modified comparative fault analysis, you can still bring a claim provided you were less than 50% at fault. If your contribution was 50% or more, however, you cannot make a claim.
In addition, the percentage of your own fault will proportionally reduce any damage award. For example, if you were 20% at fault, you could collect only 80% of your damages from another at-fault party.
Finally, a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit may claim that you assumed the risk of the activity and therefore cannot make a personal injury claim against them.
For instance, if you were injured while skiing, the defendant may claim that you assumed the risk of injury because skiing is inherently dangerous or because you released the ski resort from liability. Being able to counter that defense is very important.
What Are the Damages for Spinal Cord Injuries?
The primary purpose of spinal cord injury law firms is to get you compensation for the economic and non-economic losses you suffered as a result of your injuries.
Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, and may involve the following:
Impaired bladder control,
Inability to regulate body temperature,
Loss of sexual function,
Higher risk of illness,
Large quantities of medications, and
Each one of these represents a monumental challenge to the victim. It can take a lifetime to learn how to overcome them or adapt.
Damages following a spinal cord injury may include things like:
Medical costs—past, current, and future;
Rehabilitation—past, current, and future;
Lost wages—missed time at work;
Lost earning capacity—the loss of future ability to work at pre-injury levels;
In-home care—nurses or home health aids;
Adaptive equipment—wheelchairs and modified vehicles;
Home modifications—ramps and stair climbing mechanisms;
Loss of consortium—detrimental effects on spousal relationship; and
Pain and suffering—including emotional distress.
Anyone who recently suffered a spinal cord injury should consult an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer to help them quantify their damages and forge a path toward recovery.
Contact a Boulder Spinal Injury Attorney
Spinal cord injuries can dramatically affect your life. These injuries can prevent you from working, enjoying recreational activities, and even living on your own. If someone else’s negligence caused your spinal cord injury, a spinal cord injury attorney at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. could help.
With over 100 years of combined experience handling accident cases, we know how to get you the compensation you deserve. Over the last 30 years, our skilled attorneys have earned over one hundred million dollars for our clients. At Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., we will focus on recovering your financial losses so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Contact us today.
In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Statute of Limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. now at 800-873-3202 or submit a simple Case Review Form. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a Contingent Fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law.