Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is a serious and life-altering experience that can impact the lives of victims either short-term or long-term. Because of the integral relationship between the spinal cord and the body, spinal cord injuries can create a host of health problems. The spinal cord begins at the base of the skull and extends to the lower back. It is a composite of nerves (neurons) that transmit electrical messages to and from the brain and to and from different parts of the body, sometimes with brain involvement. When these electrical signals are inhibited, they will result in the loss of motor skills and nerve function. Other potential health issues from spinal cord injuries include paralysis of the lower body or all four limbs. A spinal cord injury claim can arise in a number of ways such as from car accidents, medical malpractice accidents, slip and falls or acts of violence. In response to the detrimental nature of spinal cord injuries, the compensation for such injuries varies and will depend on the state in which you live in. This article discusses the main types of compensation available to those pursuing a spinal cord injury claim.
Types of Compensation for Spinal Cord Injury Claim
Courts may order monetary awards called “damages” that compensate victims for the spinal cord injury that they suffered at the hands of another. This compensation serves the purpose of placing the victim in their pre-injury condition by paying for any losses that victim incurred as a result of the injury. The main types of damages ordered by courts are payment for medical expense, pain and suffering, the cost of assistive devices, modifications to make the victims’ homes accessible and loss of income.
Reimbursement of Medical Expenses: These are damages given to reimburse the victim for the treatment they already received and compensation for the estimated costs that will be incurred in the future.
Pain and Suffering: You may be entitled to pain and suffering damages that are meant to compensate victims that are suffering from discomfort due to their spinal cord injury.
Assistive Devices: The court may order damages for the use of assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches and canes that will assist the victim in carrying on in their daily lives.
Modifications for Accessibility: These damages are given to pay for the modifications needed to make the victim’s home more accessible after the injury.
Injuries to the spinal cord can be either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no sensation or controlled movement below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury means that there is still some function that exists below the point of the injury. Paraplegia is an injury to the spinal cord that occurs in the mid-back or lower back region. Quadriplegia is an injury that occurs in the neck area to the spinal cord. If you have suffered such an injury contact personal injury attorney Brien Roche.
Spinal Cord Injuries May Necessitate a Wide Range of Experts
Spinal cord injuries, because of their devastation, may require involvement of life care planners to testify before a jury as to the full scope of care needed. In addition, there may be a need for a vocational rehabilitation counselor to testify as to what the future work life is of the victim. There may be a need for an economist to project what the future economic losses are and of course there is a need for medical testimony to establish the scope of the injury, whether it be physical or mental.
Babies born with spina bifida typically have surgery after birth wherein the spinal cord that protrudes through the spinal column is inserted back into the column and sealed.
The results of a federally funded study that were released on February 9, 2011 indicate that 42% of those babies who receive this surgery in the womb were able to walk compared with about 21% of those who had the surgery after birth.
There are reported risks associated with the procedure including ruptured membranes resulting in premature delivery, resulting breathing problems and the subsequent necessity for Caesarean section as to any subsequent births.
Spina bifida is the most common birth defect in the central nervous system. Approximately 1,500 babies are born each year with the most severe form of this condition which results in part of the spinal column not closing around the spinal cord. Babies that are born with this condition that is not corrected have lifelong disabilities including paralysis, bladder and bowel problems and excessive fluid buildup in the brain.
The study reports that on balance babies that are experiencing this condition who have the surgery while in the womb did better than those who had the surgery after birth.
Chiari malformations consist of brain tissue from the cerebellum of the brain protruding into the spinal canal. These are typically congenital deformities. The protruding brain tissue can block the flow of spinal fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It thereby disrupts signals that should be transmitted to other parts of the body and can cause significant neurological problems. As these malformations progress, they can result in the development of cavities in the spinal cord that fill with fluid. At that point, surgery becomes a necessity. The surgery involves cutting through the skull to accomplish what is called a decompression which involves removing a small section of bone at the back of the skull and at the top of the vertebrae. If the symptoms have progressed to the point where surgery is necessary and surgery is not performed, then the resulting condition can be hydrocephalus which consists of a buildup of fluid inside the skull which compresses the brain causing severe neurological problems.
Seeking Legal Help For Spinal Cord Injury Claim
If you have a spinal cord injury claim obtain a good attorney who specializes in personal injury lawsuits. This is the first step to obtaining the damages that you may be entitled to because of your injury.