The spinal cord is such a crucial component of the health and well-being of any individual. It should come as no surprise that spinal cord injuries can be some of the most devastating and serious injuries a person can suffer. But how do spinal cord injuries occur and what should you do if you suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence?
There are many different ways a spinal cord injury can happen. These injuries can often be prevented but sometimes spinal cord injuries are a result of an accident that could never have been anticipated. When that accident was caused by another person’s actions, the victim may have the legal right to seek restitution for their pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Calandro Law can help spinal cord injury victims reclaim damages for their injury and ensure they are financially taken care of following an accident. Let’s learn some more about spinal cord injuries in Florida and when you may need the services of a personal injury lawyer.
What Is Are Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a term used to describe when the spinal cord or any nerves at the end of the spinal canal are damaged. These injuries can often carry detrimental, even life-altering, consequences. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are around 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injures each year.
The spinal cord consists of a network of nerve fibers that run up and down the center of the body. Your brain sends signals through the spinal cord to the rest of the body, controlling motor, sensory, and autonomic functions. Your all-important central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord.
Injury to the spinal cord can be extremely disruptive to the body’s ability to properly function. Damage to an area of the spinal cord may prevent the brain from being able to send and receive signals through the spinal cord to and from areas of the body below the location of the injury.
Spinal cord injuries can vary greatly in severity, location, type, and symptoms. The severity and location of your injury will play a major role in the symptoms and potential loss of function you experience.
Common Causes For Spinal Cord Injuries In Florida
Spinal cord injuries can happen for any number of reasons. Most frequently, injuries to the spinal cord are caused by some kind of forceful trauma. However, the range of causes for spinal cord damage can include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and falls
- Boating accidents
- Sports accidents
- Loss of oxygen
- Electrical shock
- Shootings, stabbings, or physical assault
Who Is At Risk Of Spinal Cord Injuries
The NSCISC reports that car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. This is due to the extreme forces that are enacted upon the spine during a crash. People involved in other motor vehicle accidents will also have an increased likelihood of suffering damage to their spine. Individuals living in areas with high levels of violent crimes will also have an increased risk for suffering a spinal injury as violent crimes, especially shootings, account for around 11% of spinal cord injuries.
Slip and fall accidents are also a major contributor to spinal cord injuries, especially among elderly adults. Athletes that compete in dangerous or full-contact sports (football, hockey, lacrosse, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, gymnastics) will also have a higher risk of injuring their spine. Additionally, diseases that affect the bones and joints (arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer) increase the chances of damage in the spinal cord developing.
Spinal Cord Injury Signs And Symptoms
Not all spinal cord injuries will share the same signs and symptoms. Damage to the spinal cord which leaves a person without any feeling or motor function below the injury site is known as a complete SCI. An incomplete SCI occurs when some feeling and ability to move are left below the injured portion of the spine.
Location of the injury, such as the neck or lower back, will also play a role in the symptoms a person may experience. As a general rule, the higher up the spine the injury is, the more of your body will be affected by the damage.
It should also be noted that people may not realize they have suffered a serious SCI following an accident. If you believe you or someone else has suffered a spinal injury after a traumatic accident, make sure the injured person does not move until they can be attended to by medical professionals.
Signs and symptoms of spinal cord injuries people often experience include:
- Severe pressure or pain in the back or neck
- Numbness and weakness
- Partial or total loss of the sense of cold, heat, or touch
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing the lungs
- Trouble with balance or walking
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Paralysis or loss of control and feeling in certain parts of the body
Diagnosing Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries should always be diagnosed by a medical professional. They may perform a physical examination while discussing symptoms that have been experienced with the patient. Modern diagnostic tests can also provide more accurate information as to the location and extent of a spinal cord injury.
A doctor may use an X-ray to image any possible fractures, tumors, or other issues in the vertebrae. Herniated or bulging discs along with blood clots in the spine can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Nerve damage within the spine can be revealed through myelography. A computerized tomography (CT) scan can also help doctors determine what is at the root of your spinal injury.
How To Prevent Spinal Cord Injuries
The good news is that there are many ways for you to help reduce your risk of suffering a spinal cord injury. As mentioned above, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Be sure to always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle. If you have kids, securely fasten them into an appropriate safety seat. You should also never operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This not only keeps you safe but also other people on the road.
Elderly people have an increased risk of suffering spine injuries, especially from slip and fall accidents. Older people should use non-slip rugs or mats on surfaces that may get wet or slippery, such as in the shower. It is also a good idea to install rails, banisters, and grab bars in places where they may need extra support. Be sure all rails, banisters, and grab bars are kept securely fastened.
For athletes and individuals who engage in full-contact sports or dangerous activities, wearing the proper safety equipment is crucial or reducing your risk of injury. Helmets should always be worn when engaging in risky activities, such as football, hockey, skiing, biking, and motorcycle riding.
How A Florida Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you have suffered a serious spinal cord injury, the long-term effects, such as total or partial paralysis, can completely alter your life and leave you with massive medical bills. You are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering when your injuries have been caused by another person’s negligence. The personal injury attorneys at Calandro Law can help you get the restitution you are owed.
Whether you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, or some other type of accident, our expert lawyers have years of experience handling all manner of personal injury cases. The attorneys at Calandro Law are prepared to take on insurance companies on your behalf and ensure you get a fair settlement for all of the financial, physical, emotional, and mental damages you may have suffered as a result of your accident.
Personal injury attorneys will launch a full investigation into your accident to gather all the necessary evidence to support your claim. Your attorney will work closely with your medical care providers to show documentation of your injuries and to accurately estimate the cost of your past, current, and future treatment needed for your accident injuries.
You are allowed to represent yourself in a personal injury claim in Florida. However, it should be noted that victims who hire professional legal representation are awarded higher settlements on average.
People who may be concerned about the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer should know that you will not owe anything unless your attorney wins your case. The legal fees for your personal injury claim will come out of the settlement amount awarded.
Speak With A Riverview Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Damage to the spinal cord can be terrifying and often life-changing. Make sure you and your family are financially taken care of in your time of need. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Calandro Law in Riverview. Our legal team considers our clients to be family and we will fight tenaciously to get our clients the compensation they are owed for the pain and suffering they have endured.
When you are ready to fight for your settlement, Calandro Law is ready to help. Give us a call today at (813) 563-6463 to schedule your free case evaluation.