St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating injuries our firm sees in our car accident clients. Talk to a Lawyer for Free 24/7 at (314) 361-4242!
These types of injuries have a wide range of symptoms from minor pain that goes away with treatment to total paralysis from a broken back. Even with minor spinal cord injuries, the pain that is associated with it can reappear months or years after the accident. If you were the victim of a St. Louis car accident and are now attempting to readjust to life with a spinal cord injury, contact a St. Louis car accident lawyer at our law firm as soon as possible!
High-speed car crashes are one of the leading causes of spinal injuries thanks to the very high level of force that is created. If your injury was caused by the reckless disregard of another driver, do not hesitate to file a claim for damages.
When your spine absorbs the impact of a car crash, the discs will often displace or fracture. When blood cells rupture, nearby organs become damaged. The spinal cavity swells in defense, cutting off blood and vital oxygen to the area. The affected nerves and neurons are severed, causing a break in the connection between your brain and all of the body parts below the point of injury. If the swelling is not reduced in time, this condition will leave you paralyzed from the point of injury downwards.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
In the U.S., it is estimated that about 12,000 cases of spinal cord injuries are reported every year – which amounts to around 30 injuries a day. These injuries can be caused by slips and falls, birth-related injuries, sports-related accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), about one-third of all spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents, making auto accidents the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
Complete spinal cord injury causes complete loss of function of the body from below the area of injury on the spine. These types of injuries can result in:
- Paraplegia – Paraplegia refers to complete loss of motor and sensory function in the lower extremities of the body.
- Quadriplegia – Quadriplegia refers to complete loss of motor and sensory function in the torso and the four limbs.
Recovery from complete spinal cord injuries is rare and often results in permanent disability. Extensive rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery, and physical therapy can help an injured person regain a certain level of independence with the assistance of a wheelchair.
Partial Spinal Cord Injuries
Partial or incomplete spinal cord injuries are more common. Such injuries are characterized by limited motor or sensory functioning of the body from below the injured area of the spine. At times, certain functions that are hampered during an injury can be regained after the injury heals. At times, the extent of injury cannot be determined until symptoms begin affecting the regular functioning of a person’s body. Partial spinal cord injuries include:
- Anterior cord syndrome – spinal cord injuries to the front of the spine causing loss of temperature sensation, inability to feel pain, and loss of sensory functions of areas below the spot of injury.
- Posterior cord syndrome – spinal cord injuries to the back of the spine causing loss of temperature sensation and coordination and the inability to feel pain.
- Central cord syndrome – injuries to the center of the spine causing loss of functionality in the arms.
- Brown–Sequard syndrome (BSS) – injury caused on either side of the spine causing loss of motor function and retention of sensory function of one side and retention of motor function and loss of sensory function on the other side of the body.
- Cauda equina lesion – partial or complete impairment of sensation caused due to injury to the nerve end grouping in between the first and second lumbar region.
How To File a Successful Spinal Cord Injury Claim
Spinal cord claims may fall under the ‘personal injury’ category, but these types of claims are often completely different from the rest.
This has to do with the injury itself. As we’ve discussed, spinal cord damage often has a more serious impact on people, not to mention the fact that full recovery in these cases is highly unlikely. As a result, there are a lot of different things you need to consider if you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury.
The Severity of the Injury Influences the Settlement
Victims that have suffered a spinal cord injury often get a much higher settlement than an average personal injury claim. The reason is that these injuries can completely change a person’s life and affect them in all aspects, from losing their job and financial stability, experiencing high levels of suffering, and perhaps even the need for permanent care.
When you negotiate a settlement for a spinal injury claim, you must take into account:
- The costs of medical treatments, both past, present, and future
- Cost of therapy or rehabilitation
- Costs of nursing care if needed
- Costs of any special equipment you may need, such as a wheelchair, and even home changes to make the injured person’s home accessible to their new condition
- Lost wages if the person cannot return to work
- Pain and suffering, which are usually reflected by the changes in the victim’s quality of life
These are all complex factors, some of which don’t really come with a price tag. For instance, the cost of a wheelchair can be easily added to the settlement, as well as medical bills, but some matters, especially those that have to deal with pain and suffering are abstract. As a result, you will need to negotiate with the insurance company to make sure the settlement accounts for these losses as well.
How to File a Successful Claim
To file a claim, you first need to identify the at-fault party, such as the driver that crashed into you and lead to the injury. Then, you can file a claim with their insurance company and start the claims process.
At this time, you will essentially have to make your case. To get a good settlement, you will need:
- Proof that the at-fault party really is at fault (video surveillance, witness testimonies, etc.)
- Proof of all the costs this accident has caused, as well as projected future costs
- Expert testimonies, especially when it comes to establishing projected costs, and pain and suffering
Since a good part of the settlement will be established through negotiations, it’s important to go into this process prepared. You should get in touch with an experienced attorney. An experienced lawyer can successfully negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Contact a St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Whether your spinal cord injury results in complete paralysis or some limited movement, our firm can help you recover your damages. In spinal cord injury cases, the cost of future medical care and occupational therapy will be a big portion of the settlement. This is due to the constant medical care or therapy you may need to try and resume a life similar to the one you had before the accident.
If your spinal cord injury was the result of another driver’s negligent behavior, contact our experienced legal team. Not only will our skilled car accident lawyers help you recover your past medical expenses, but we can also work to get you compensation for ongoing medical expenses as well.