The personal injury lawyers of Jebaily Law Firm know how frightening and confusing it can be to suffer spinal cord injury or to witness a loved one’s life suddenly impacted by this condition.
If the injury resulted from the careless or reckless acts of another person, our attorneys can work hard to seek compensation that will help a spinal cord injury victim and his or her loved ones to face the challenges that lie ahead.
We present the following information to help victims and their families to understand more about spinal cord injury and their legal rights and options.
What Is the Spinal Cord?
The spinal cord, along with the brain, forms the central nervous system. It is a collection of nerves that runs down the middle of the back, from the base of the brain to slightly below the waist.
These nerves send messages to different parts of the body. These messages allow us to feel sensations and control our body’s movements.
The spinal column consists of 33 bones that protect the spinal cord. The bones are shaped like discs and stacked atop each other. These bones are called vertebrae.
What Is a South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injury is any type of damage to the spinal cord. The damage typically is caused by a traumatic blow to the spine. Sometimes – but not always – the spinal cord may be severed.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reports that the leading causes of spinal cord injury are motor vehicle accidents, which can include crashes involving cars, trucks, or motorcycles. Spinal cord injuries may also arise from a workplace accident, a recreation- or sports-related incident, or a fall at a nursing home or on another person’s property.
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
The NSCISC states that 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury occur each year. Currently, an estimated 273,000 people live with this condition. Spinal cord injury statistics show that most of these victims are young or middle-aged men.
What Are Different Types of South Carolina Spinal Cord Injuries?
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with spinal cord injury after an accident, you may have been told that it was a:
- Complete spinal cord injury – A total loss of sensory and motor function in the impacted part of the body, or
- Incomplete spinal cord injury – A loss of only some function in the affected area (you may have sensation, for instance, but you can’t use an impacted limb).
The severity of a spinal cord injury will depend on where the damage occurred along the spinal column. The parts of the body below that area will be affected. So, the higher the damage, the more severe the injury will be. Two forms of injury are:
- Quadriplegia – This is the loss of function in both arms and legs. Quadriplegia typically results from cervical spinal cord injury. High tetraplegia involves injury to the C1-C4 region. Low tetraplegia involves injury to the C5-C7 region.
- Paraplegia – This is the loss of use of one’s hips and legs, usually due to a thoracic (T1-T12), lumbar (L1-L5), sacrum (S1-S5) or coccyx spinal cord injury.
Can a Spinal Cord Injury Lead to Complications?
Unfortunately, spinal cord injury may be only the start of one’s medical problems. Victims may suffer a series of complications due to the injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, these complications include:
- Loss of bowel and bladder control – As a result of this complication, a victim faces an increased risk of urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Pressure sores – Tissue can be damaged, and infections can arise, when a victim is limited to a wheelchair or bedridden for extended periods
- Inability to breathe – A victim may be able to breathe only through the use of a ventilator a diaphragm pacemaker
- High blood pressure and blood clots – A spinal cord injury may lead to circulatory issues, including blood clots that form in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Spasticity – This is a tightening of the muscles that can occur due to the loss of muscle tone that comes from inactivity
- Anxiety and depression – The combination of pain, immobility, and loss of bodily functions can lead victims to suffer serious mental health issues
- Death – According to The Shepherd Center, respiratory system problems and ischemic heart disease, or a decrease in oxygen and blood flow, are the leading causes of death among spinal cord injury victims.
It’s important to note that family members suffer as well. They lose the services and companionship of a loved one. They may also be burdened with providing around-the-clock care. As the NSCISC notes, nearly nine in 10 spinal cord injury victims ultimately leave the hospital to live at home rather than a nursing home or group-living facility.
What Are the Costs of South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury?
Treating spinal cord injury and the complications that arise from it can be expensive. One must take into account the need for acute care and extended hospitalization, medication, rehabilitation, and the need for assistive devices such as a wheelchair, braces, or a walker.
According to the most recent NSCISC estimates, the average costs of spinal cord injury are:
Average Yearly Cost Of Treatment
|Condition||First Year||Each Subsequent Year|
|Incomplete Motor Function||$340,787||$41,393|
These estimates do not take into account the fact that a spinal cord injury victim may lose the ability to earn any income or may face a significantly diminished earning capacity for the rest of his or her life.
How Can a South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Help You?
If you or a loved one has suffered spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another person, the personal injury lawyers of Jebaily Law Firm can provide a wide range of services, including:
- Investigating your case – We can determine why your spinal cord injury occurred and who is responsible for it.
- Reviewing your legal options – We can research and advise you of the relief you can pursue, which may include filing a workers’ compensation claim, filing a personal injury lawsuit, or both.
- Consulting with experts – Our attorneys work with a network of highly qualified experts. They can help us to determine the cause of your injury and assist us in calculating the amount of compensation that should be sought on your behalf, including compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, diminished future income, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
- Dealing with insurance companies – While you focus on your recovery, we can speak with the insurance companies involved in your spinal cord injury case and seek a just amount of compensation through a timely settlement.
- Taking your case to trial – If an insurance company fails to make a fair settlement offer, we can seek recovery for you by taking a thorough and persuasive case to trial on your behalf.
- Making sure you get the medical treatment you need – As we seek workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury award on your behalf, we will do everything possible to ensure that you continue to receive the care and treatment that your spinal cord injury demands.
Each case is different. The number of damages that may be pursued and ultimately recovered in a spinal cord injury claim will depend on many factors. However, it helps to work with a law firm that has experience with catastrophic injury cases. Please see Our Results for examples of cases in which we have assisted clients who suffered life-changing harm in an accident.
Contact a South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
The personal injury lawyers of Jebaily Law Firm understand what is at stake for spinal cord injury victims. We will take an aggressive approach to your case and work hard to seek a timely, full, and fair resolution of your case for you and your family.
We have been helping truck, motorcycle, and car accident injury victims for Over 50 Years in Florence, Myrtle Beach, and throughout South Carolina. We are ready to help you, too. Please call us today or connect with us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Sources / More Information
- Basic Human Anatomy, The Vertebral Column, Dartmouth University
- Spinal Cord, Merck Manual
- Spinal Cord Injury Complications, Mayo Clinic
- Learn About Spinal Cord Injuries, The Shepherd Center
- Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance, National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center
- Spinal Cord Injury South Carolina Support Groups, S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs