The spinal cord is the collection of nerves that runs from the brain through the spine, carrying signals from the brain to the rest of the body. Those signals control a person’s muscles and enable the person to feel various sensations. Injuries to the spinal cord interfere with those signals. Spinal cord injuries are characterized as “complete” or “incomplete”: if the injured person loses all sensation and all ability to control the muscles below the point of the injury, the injury is “complete”; in the case of an “incomplete” injury, the victim retains some ability to feel sensations or control movement below the injured area. A paraplegic, for example, suffers impairment in sensory or motor function of their lower extremities.
In addition to the lost or limited ability to control voluntary movement or to experience sensations, spinal cord injuries may result in loss of bowel and bladder control, pain, and impairment of bodily functions such as breathing or blood circulation. Some injuries may lead to paralysis and muscle atrophy; others lead to involuntary tightening of muscles and involuntary movements caused by spasms.
According to the well-respected Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of spinal cord injury in the United States are
Symptoms that may arise from a spinal cord injury include severe pain in the neck or back, weakness in any limb, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and difficulties in walking or breathing.
If a spinal injury was caused by someone’s intentional conduct or negligence—such as the negligence of a driver involved in a car accident—or by the use of a defective product, the injured person may be able to receive compensation for the harm that he or she suffered—including compensation for future costs and for the injury’s long-term consequences. That financial compensation may be the only way to ensure that the injured person will be able to afford the necessary medical treatment, equipment, and rehabilitative care that will allow them to live as independently as possible.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, please call our offices today for a free consultation.
While insurance company representatives may have contacted your already, accepting a premature settlement may mean that you will not receive compensation for the full extent of the harm you have suffered. In order to maximize your recovery, you should discuss your case with the experienced personal injury attorney at Ziff & Cohn. We are professional negotiators and effective trial attorneys, and we represent clients on a contingency basis: you pay no legal fees unless you receive a monetary recovery.