Spinal Cord Injuries
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to another’s negligence, you know how overwhelming such injuries can be. In addition to the trauma of the injury itself, many uncertainties often surround a patient’s recovery and what their future will look like.
Spinal cord injury victims are often left with many questions: What will my physical capabilities or limitations be? Will I be able to work? Will I be able to have children or take care of the family I already have? Who will take care of me if I cannot do the necessary tasks myself?
If someone else bears responsibility for your spinal cord injury, the injustice of that situation is probably also on your mind. That is why attorney Willie D. Powells III became a lawyer, to help level unfairness by seeking justice.
Relieving the financial stress of a spinal cord injury while getting the care needed during recovery can help spinal injury victims move on to a more promising future. At Willie D. Powells III & Associates, PLLC, we think that’s what you deserve. Call us today at (713) 766-0644 for your free consultation.
The Function of the Spinal Cord
When you consider how we rely on the spinal cord for everyday activities, it’s easy to see why any spinal cord injury can have a negative impact on your quality of life.
The spinal cord is inside your spine, running all the way from your brain and down your back. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s a tube of nervous tissue and cells that allow your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. The spinal cord’s three main parts are the neck, chest, and lower back, or lumbar. These areas contain a total of 31 pairs of nerves. The bone, or spine, that protects it is also called the vertebral column.
The spinal cord does much more than enable us to walk. It controls all of our body movements and functions, even our breathing. If you’ve ever had a doctor tap your knee to gauge your involuntary patellar reflex, that movement is controlled by the spinal cord. Because of our spinal cord’s communication with our brain, we feel pain, which lets us know that something is wrong or dangerous.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Happen?
According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injuries can occur due to trauma to the spinal cord area. Blunt force trauma can cause spinal cord injuries. Cuts and punctures to the spinal cord can also cause severe damage.
Spinal cord injury victims can also develop secondary problems that wouldn’t have occurred without the original injury, such as infections. While rare, it’s also possible to develop infections or spinal cord nerve damage during medical procedures, such as receiving an epidural for childbirth or surgery.
While some diseases can also lead to spinal cord injuries, such as osteoporosis and cancer, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reports that auto and motorcycle accidents top the list for causes of spinal cord injuries. Other common accidents involve:
- Falling, particularly in older adults over age 65
- Violent trauma, such as from gunshots and knife wounds
- Athletics and recreational activities, such as playing football, involvement in equestrian sports, and diving in shallow water
If someone’s carelessness or negligence caused an accident that resulted in your spinal cord injury, you should contact an experienced spinal cord injury attorney to explore the options of your situation. You may be able to receive compensation to cover your injuries and other losses.
Severity of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are costly, not just in immediate medical treatment but also due to necessary ongoing care and living adaptations that are often essential. Those with spinal cord injuries are particularly vulnerable in the first year after the accident occurred. Injured parties who also have neurological problems can have additional increased complications during that first year as well.
Spinal cord injuries are categorized in two ways. The first category is delineated as “complete,” which indicates a complete loss of sensation and physical ability below the injured point. The second category is “incomplete,” meaning some communication between your brain and spinal cord still exists, no matter how faint.
The parts of your body affected depends on where the injury occurs. We often hear spine vertebrae described with letters and numbers, such as “C1.” The C stands for the area of the spine. In this case, it means the cervical or neck area and the respective affected nerves. The T stands for the thoracic or chest area. L stands or the lumbar or lower area. The categories for these injuries include:
- Cervical C1-C8 – Tetraplegia or quadriplegia, affecting both arms and legs, including the back of the head and neck, and also the diaphragm
- Thoracic T1-T12 and Lumbar L1-L5 – Paraplegia, with partial loss of function or weakness in the legs. May also cause issues with sexual, bowel, and bladder functions
- Sacral S1-S5 – Affects the brain’s communication to our hips and legs, primarily leading to bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction
Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries
According to The Miami Project, a program of The University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, the expenses for someone suffering from a C1-C4 injury can surpass a million dollars in the first year, with those costs increasing significantly depending on age. Even less serious spinal cord injuries can cost victims hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The impact doesn’t stop there. Consider your quality of life from the loss of bladder control or sexual function. Many spinal cord injury victims have to modify their homes or vehicles, incurring additional costs. It’s often impossible to return to their former jobs or to even work at all.
These are the types of effects that Attorney Willie D. Powells III considers when he seeks compensation for his spinal cord injury clients.
How Willie D. Powells III Could Help
Is it fair for a spinal cord accident victim to add financial worries to their already traumatic injury? Willie D. Powells III doesn’t think so. While financial compensation won’t reverse your injury, it can improve your quality of life and possibly increase your chances of a better recovery.
Receiving the compensation you need and deserve can remove some financial burdens so you can focus on your recovery and get the most out of life. Contact the Houston spinal cord injury legal team with Willie D. Powells III & Associates, PLLC, for your free consultation by calling (713) 766-0644 today.