Spinal cord injuries can happen to anyone at any time and are commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents. Depending on the type of spinal cord injury, you may be left facing lifelong disability and paralysis. Damage to your spinal cord can also cause damage to the nerves that transmit signals to and from your brain and other parts of your body. If your spinal cord injuries happened in an incident caused by someone else, you may have legal rights to recover damages. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave may help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Spinal Cord Injury Types, Levels, and Symptoms
Spinal cord injuries are divided into two main types: complete and incomplete injuries.
Complete spinal cord injuries permanently damage the spinal cord and cause a loss of sensation below the site of the injuries. Incomplete spinal cord injuries cause partial damage, and the victims might retain some sensation and function below the injury sites. People who suffer severe spinal cord injuries may suffer from paralysis below the injury site. Depending on the location of the spine where the injury occurs, a victim might suffer tetraplegia or paraplegia. Tetraplegia involves paralysis that affects the arms, legs, hands, feet, and trunk, while paraplegia involves paralysis of the lower extremities.
The levels of spinal cord injuries refer to where on the spinal column the damage occurs. These levels include the sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical regions. When a severe injury happens to an area in the thoracic or cervical region, the victim may suffer extensive paralysis and loss of function.
Some of the symptoms of spinal cord injuries include the following:
- Loss of movement
- Altered or lost sensation
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Trouble breathing
- Intense pain
- Oddly positioned back, neck, or head
If you or a loved one suffers any of these symptoms, you should go to the emergency department of your local hospital immediately.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries commonly occur in the following types of situations:
- Automobile and truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedalcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Recreational and sports injuries
When the actions of other people or entities cause accidents that result in spinal cord injuries, the victims may file claims to hold the responsible people liable to pay for their losses.
Compensation in Spinal Cord Injury Claims
In negligence claims involving spinal cord injuries, the available compensation will depend on several factors, including the severity and extent of your injuries, your likelihood of recovering, your out-of-pocket costs, and the available recovery sources. The compensatory damages that may be available include special and general damages. Special damages are monetary awards to compensate you for your economic losses. General damages are monetary awards to compensate you for your more intangible, non-economic losses. Some of the types of damages that might be available in a case involving spinal cord injuries include the following:
- Past and future medical costs
- Past and future rehabilitation expenses
- Past and future income losses
- Property losses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced ability to enjoy life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium for spouses
In cases in which the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent and outrageous, punitive damages may also be available. These are monetary amounts that are above any compensatory damages that are awarded and are meant to punish defendants whose actions are egregious.
Talk to the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
Spinal cord injuries can permanently change the course of your life. If you have suffered a severe spinal cord injury because of someone else’s actions, you may be entitled to recover damages. Contact the experienced injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today to learn more about your rights.