Free Consultation: (312) 924-7575

​How Will My Spinal Cord Injury Affect My Future?

How will my spinal cord injury affect my future? Some argue that no injury is quite as substantial as a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries can arise from many types of incidents, like car crashes or falls. Unlike many other personal injuries, spinal cord injuries are likely to last the rest of the victim’s life. They can cost millions of dollars and require highly skilled medical professionals and aids.

Those who have sustained a spinal cord injury must have a compassionate personal injury lawyer that appreciates the long-term effects of a spinal cord injury. Although it can be difficult to predict how much compensation these patients should get for economic and non-economic damages, their attorneys should fight for everything they deserve in their particular circumstances. This is their one shot at getting what they need for the rest of their life. Reach out to a spinal cord injury lawyer.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

​How Will My Spinal Cord Injury Affect My Future?The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that the annual U.S. incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) is 54 cases per one million individuals, or approximately 17,730 new SCI cases each year. These don’t include anyone who suffers fatal injuries at the location of the SCI-causing incident.

Reports also estimate that 291,000 Americans are currently living with an SCI. Thankfully, every state’s civil statutes allow those diagnosed with an SCI after an accident to pursue compensation for their damages.

The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves that allows various messages to travel between the brain and the rest of the body. These nerves provide a pathway for the brain to communicate with the body, for instance, by telling a specific body part to move.

They also let the body communicate to the brain— for instance, notifying the brain that something is hot to the touch. The brain and the rest of the body rely on the spinal cord to function properly to keep it safe and functional. When there is a breakdown along this essential communication highway, serious problems arise.

An SCI is an injury to the spinal cord that can impact motor, sensory and autonomic function with the potential to result in:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of sensation
  • Disruptions in temperature regulation and blood pressure instability

When an SCI occurs, the nerves above the injury level continue to function normally. However, at the level of injury, nerve messages can get blocked. Messages cannot transmit below the level of injury and vice versa.

Depending on what part of the spinal cord suffers an injury, the individual may suffer paralysis of the muscles, such as those used for breathing, loss of sensation below the location of the injury, and secondary conditions. For those living with SCI, a crucial part of their care is preventing complications and further disabilities. However, the expenses for this type of care over a lifetime are astronomical. Accident victims and their families shouldn’t have to pay for this or worry about how they will afford their necessary care. With the assistance of a seasoned attorney, they won’t have to.

What Determines the Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Injury?

The long-term effects of a spinal cord injury vary from one victim to another. Your personal injury lawyer can consult with financial and medical experts to help determine the amount of compensation you might need.

Factors they will consider include:

  • The location and degree of your spinal cord injury
  • The chances of recovery or improved condition with therapies
  • Your occupation
  • Your age
  • Your other injuries and health issues

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries and Their Long-Term Effects

SCI injuries are one of the most severe, catastrophic, and debilitating injuries someone can suffer. Their long-term effects are far-reaching and extremely costly. Consider these figures for the medical and day-to-day care and assistance, which don’t include lost income.

High Tetraplegia

High tetraplegia is an injury to the C1 to C4 vertebrae that typically requires assistance with simple, day-to-day living activities. This is the worst type of SCI. Injured individuals might use powered wheelchairs with special controls to move around independently. These types of injuries cost approximately $178,000 after more than $1 million for the first year.

Low Tetraplegia

Low tetraplegia affects the C5 to C8 vertebrae, sometimes allowing partial movement to the shoulder, elbow, or hands. These individuals might breathe independently but often need help with bowel and bladder care. Some can still walk with assistance. Yearly expenses for a lifetime of care begin at around $740,000 in the first year, topping out at about $109,000 each year after that.


When there is trauma to the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae, the individual usually can still voluntarily move both their upper extremities. Although they have severely restricted movement below the waist, some individuals can walk short distances with assistive devices. Expenses are typically about $500,000 for the first year and $66,000 annually.

In addition to the financial costs, there are other long-term health effects that individuals with spinal cord injuries need to consider long-term. For example, they may suffer from bladder infections, kidney stones, or osteoporosis. Sexual dysfunction and infertility are common.

Doctors also warn about other side effects in spinal cord injury patients, such as muscle spasticity and syringomyelia, bedsores, bowel problems, numbness, and weakness in the extremities. They may also suffer from autonomic dysreflexia, a life-threatening condition that usually affects those with injuries to the neck or upper back.

The Costs of SCI

The financial impact of an SCI is incredibly burdensome. Spinal cord injuries alone come with a price tag of approximately $40.5 billion each year in the U.S. However, the individual costs arising from an SCI will depend on its type and extent.

Those living with an SCI can face a lifetime of expenses related to medical and general daily living care as well as equipment and alterations to their living spaces. This doesn’t include the emotional and mental burdens these individuals also must face. Without an experienced spinal cord injury attorney on their side, those suffering injuries may never receive adequate compensation.

Paying for SCI

The good news is that if their SCI arose from an incident where another party was at fault, they might recover compensation to help pay for these expenses.

However, they must generally prove that:

  • Another person or party owed them a duty of care—for instance, a driver must stop at a red light
  • The other person or party breached that duty of care in some way
  • The other person or party’s breach of duty directly caused their SCI
  • They suffered compensable damages because of their injuries

Proving these points can often be challenging, as can determining how much money an SCI victim deserves in damages. It’s best for those who sustain SCI to meet with a spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible after their accident. An attorney can protect their rights, determine what they deserve for their SCI, and pursue an injury claim against the correct person or party. Failing to hire a seasoned spinal cord injury lawyer can mean not having money to pay for essential care after an SCI.

What Is Your Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth?

Although spinal cord injuries are not common, they can and do happen in severe accidents. Depending on many factors, including how severe the injury is, a personal injury claim for a spinal cord injury can be of extremely high value.

However, the only way to ensure you receive fair compensation that will cover all of your expenses both now and in the future and your physical and emotional pain and suffering is to hire a well-versed spinal cord injury attorney. You need an attorney who understands how these injuries can impact an injured party and their loved ones.

The Severity of Your Injury

The severity of your spinal cord will be a significant factor in what your spinal cord injury case is worth. Lower spinal cord injuries are usually less devastating and impactful than higher ones. Individuals with a lower spinal cord injury typically still have the use of their arms and tend to live longer than those with higher injuries.

They may require less care and can even work in some capacity. In contrast, someone who develops quadriplegia after a spinal cord injury will need more medical care and daily assistance and probably won’t continue to earn a living wage.

Damages Resulting from a Spinal Cord Injury

The value of your claim relies heavily on the types and extent of the damages you sustain. Damages are the losses, expenses, and inconveniences arising from your injury.

Spinal cord injury claims generally include these types of economic and non-economic damages:

  • Medical expenses: Initial and ongoing expenses are substantial for SCI victims. They may face long-term hospitalizations, admission to a long-term care center, surgeries, therapies, and rehabilitation, and require expensive medical equipment, including braces, chairs, or beds.
  • Loss of earning capacity: Your attorney will work with a vocational expert, an actuarial accountant, or other financial, medical, or career experts to help determine your expected lifetime earnings had you not sustained your injury. Even if you can return to work, it may be at a lesser wage and fewer hours.
  • Lifecare costs: Spinal cord injuries often require varying degrees of care, such as a housekeeper, full-time attendant, or nurse. A life care planner can assess these needs and explain them to a jury if needed.
  • Pain and suffering: Also known as loss of enjoyment of life or non-economic damages, these are the damages that don’t have a calculable cost as opposed to other damages like medical bills. Pain and suffering also encompasses loss of consortium, scarring and disfigurement, mental anguish, and humiliation. While pain and suffering may be difficult to observe, it’s no less compensable than economic damages that SCI victims should recover.

Some individuals with spinal cord nerve damage develop neurogenic pain—pain or an intense burning or stinging sensation that may never let up due to extreme physical sensitivity or hypersensitivity in some parts of the body. This pain can occur spontaneously or due to various triggers. It can even impact parts of the body that have lost all other feelings of normal sensation.

Treating chronic pain often includes:

  • Prescription medications
  • Acupuncture
  • Spinal or brain electrical stimulation
  • Surgery

Unfortunately, none of these treatments are entirely successful in relieving neurogenic pain. SCI victims deserve compensation under pain and suffering for the chronic pain they may have to endure because of their injuries.

Who Caused Your Spinal Cord Injury?

Depending on the cause of your spinal cord injury, multiple parties can be responsible for your injury and, therefore, liable for covering your damages. Hiring a skilled lawyer is imperative to hold the appropriate party or parties liable for your injuries. If you don’t hold the correct party responsible, you won’t receive compensation for your damages at all.

Potentially liable parties for an SCI include:

  • Other motorists
  • Employers of other motorists, such as a commercial trucking or delivery company
  • Vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturers
  • Municipalities that are responsible for road conditions and traffic lights, and signs
  • Property or business owners

Your spinal cord injury attorney can ensure that you file claims against the right people and identify all potentially liable parties to maximize your recovery.

Your Injury Attorney Understands Your SCI

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer, Gary Annes

SCIs are far-reaching and complex. Such an injury can impact every facet of your life. You likely won’t understand all the medical jargon or the ins and outs. How a spinal cord injury will affect your future depends on the type and severity of your injury and the compensation you receive for it.

However, an experienced SCI attorney is well-versed in these injuries and what kind of lifestyle and the financial impact they can have on you and your family for a long time to come or even the rest of your life.

Suppose you suffer a spinal cord injury because of the reckless behavior of another person. In that case, a spinal cord injury lawyer can help. They will work diligently to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering. They aren’t afraid to stand up to insurance companies to fight for your rights. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

Herniated Disc: Causes, Symptoms, and Complications

Discs in the human spinal cord play a very important role. They support an individual’s upper body, help them absorb shock, and move their bodies in different directions. Although these discs are extremely tough, they may suffer serious damage in a forceful car accident.

Spinal discs have several layers, the outermost of which is tough and rubbery. However, if the disc’s outer layer sustains damage in an accident, it may bulge out. As a result, an accident victim may suffer significant leg and back pain.

Herniated discs often happen in serious car accidents where the collision force knocks the accident victim’s body around the interior of their vehicle. These injuries are equally common when accident victims suffer serious back injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, such as at a restaurant or grocery store.

Herniated disc injuries can cause ongoing medical complications, sometimes requiring accident victims to undergo surgery and other expensive medical treatment. Accident victims may also suffer extreme pain from a herniated disc that can last for the rest of their lives. Even sitting down or driving a vehicle for a long time may hurt if the accident victim suffers a severe enough disc injury.

If you suffered a disc injury in a motor vehicle crash, slip and fall, or some other accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you have legal options available to you.

First, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit seeking damages. If you are eligible, your lawyer can file the necessary claim or lawsuit to pursue monetary damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Your spinal cord injury lawyer will do everything they can to help you maximize your monetary damages and recover the compensation you deserve for your disc injuries.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

When a person suffers a herniated disc in an accident, they typically experience damage to one of the rubbery discs sitting between two or more vertebrae going up and down their spine. This condition typically develops when one of the discs that sit between bones making up the spinal column becomes ruptured or torn.

The annulus is the thickest disc layer and encases a softer substance called the nucleus pulposus. Whenever the annulus portion of the disc suffers a tear, the soft portion may stick out through the outer wall, becoming a ruptured—or slipped—disc.

This condition differs from a disc bulge that affects only the annulus, or the outermost disc layer.

There is no disputing that a herniated disc may cause an accident victim to experience significant pain. These conditions are painful because when the disc protrudes, it tends to affect nearby nerves, which are extremely sensitive. This nerve pressure may cause an accident victim to experience swelling and other serious problems.

Moreover, since nerves send communications throughout a person’s body, a herniated disc may cause an accident victim to experience all sorts of pain. In addition to back pain, the accident victim may suffer extreme pain in their legs and arms.

Herniated Disc - Abels and Annes Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys


How Do Herniated Discs Happen?

A herniated disc may result from any type of spinal trauma. This is especially true when an accident causes a person’s spinal column to twist and turn in an unnatural direction. When this occurs, one or more discs located at various levels on the spinal column may rupture. Although herniated discs can result from relatively minor accidents, these injuries also occur when accident victims suffer injuries in major accidents.

Some common accidents that lead to herniated disc injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, such as car crashes, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents, where one vehicle strikes another, causing serious property damage and injuries to the vehicle occupants
  • Slip and fall accidents, where a property owner fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition at all times, causing a visitor to fall on the ground—often landing on their neck or back
  • Sports injuries, especially for individuals who play contact sports, like basketball or football, fall to the ground.

Potential Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated discs often have extremely painful symptoms that can last the rest of the accident victim’s life. The symptoms that an accident victim may experience typically depend upon how their back and spinal cord move and twist during the accident.

In general, herniated disc injuries come with symptoms much like those associated with bulging discs, fractured vertebrae, sprains, strains, and whiplash. Some of the most common symptoms associated with herniated discs include numbness, tingling, and extreme pain. In some instances, healthcare providers mistake these symptoms for less serious injuries. However, the herniated disc may become apparent when the accident victim undergoes a CT scan or MRI.

In most instances, accident victims sustain herniated discs in the lower portion of their spine. However, they can occur in any area of the spinal cord.

When a person suffers a herniated disc in their lower back, they tend to experience pain in their buttocks that radiates down to their legs. When they suffer a herniated disc in the upper portion of their back, including the neck, they may experience pain in their shoulders and arms.

No matter where the herniated disc is, accident victims typically experience the most pain when they are active. However, they may suffer pain in their upper or lower back if they must sit still for a long period, such as when driving or riding in a vehicle on a long road trip.

Another common symptom associated with herniated discs is muscular weakness. For example, when an individual is moving, their arms or legs may suddenly give out and cease functioning. Finally, since herniated discs typically involve nerves that transmit pain to various areas of the body, an individual suffering from a herniated disc can experience pain in any bodily region due to their injury.

If you believe you suffered a herniated disc or other serious neck and back injury in your accident, you should seek prompt medical treatment immediately. You can follow up with a primary care doctor or seek treatment at a hospital emergency room or local urgent care facility. Generally speaking, the sooner you seek this treatment after your accident, the better off you will be. This is because herniated disc injuries often worsen the longer they remain untreated.

At an emergency medical facility, the medical provider on duty can thoroughly examine you and order the necessary imaging studies to diagnose your medical condition. Moreover, the doctor can refer you to a specialist, such as a chiropractor, neurologist, or another provider, for ongoing medical treatment after your initial visit.

Common Limitations that Accident Victims Experience from Herniated Discs

Accident victims who suffer herniated discs may experience numerous limitations. In some cases, a herniated disc can cause a much more serious problem called cauda equina syndrome. This syndrome may develop when a person cannot control their bowel movements due to nerve damage from a herniated disc.

Herniated disc disease also comes with chronic pain and ongoing symptoms. These symptoms can prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed before your accident. Those activities may include playing sports, engaging in recreational activities, and spending time with your children and grandchildren. After suffering a herniated disc injury, small tasks like taking your grandchildren to the park or walking your dog can be a harrowing experience.

In addition to the lost quality of life, herniated disc injuries may affect your ability to earn an income. ‘[‘This is especially true if you have to take time off work to recover from your injuries—or to attend medical and physical therapy appointments. Moreover, if your job requires manual labor, you may need to switch positions or take a pay cut due to your accident-related back injuries.

Potential Treatments for Herniated Disc Injuries

If you suffered a herniated disc injury in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, there are several types of treatments that you can undergo for relief. These treatments can help control inflammation, make you feel stronger, and help you partake in activities you once enjoyed. First, you can take common over-the-counter drugs, like ibuprofen, to control inflammation from a herniated desk.

At other times, your doctor may prescribe pain medication to control your symptoms. However, these medications often cause patients to become dependent. In fact, this dependence can happen in as little as five days. Consequently, doctors have a duty to monitor their patients when they prescribe them pain medication on a regular, ongoing basis.

Herniated disc sufferers might also take muscle relaxers for pain relief. These drugs treat muscle spasms connected with herniated discs. However, the downside to these medications is that they may make the accident victim sleepy and prevent them from driving or operating heavy machinery while at their job.

Physical therapy can also significantly help a herniated disc injury. Some of the most common types of PT therapists use to treat this condition include deep tissue massages, cold therapy, and aqua therapy.

Sometimes, a medical provider can supply you with a TENS unit. These units use electrical stimulation to reduce muscular spasms. Using these devices often helps to reduce spasms and significantly relieve pain in the neck or back.

Accident victims who suffer herniated discs can also receive epidural steroid injections. People typically receive these injections in the lower part of their back. However, individuals may risk suffering other complications when they undergo these injections.

Finally, you can undergo a surgical procedure to correct your herniated disc injury as a last resort. Several types of surgeries may be available, including artificial disc surgery and spinal fusion surgery—both of which are invasive medical procedures that can lead to longer recovery times.

Your medical provider can help you make an informed decision about the best medical treatment to undergo to treat your accident-related herniated disc injury. Your personal injury lawyer can help you pay for those treatments and recover compensation for your pain and suffering by filing a lawsuit for you.

Deadline to File a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit for a Herniated Disc

Accident victims who suffer herniated disc injuries have a very limited time period in which to file their personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages. The time clock begins to run on the date of your accident and ends exactly two years later—to the day. If you file your personal injury claim after the deadline expires, in almost all circumstances, you will no longer be eligible to recover damages of any kind. Therefore, you should retain a knowledgeable car accident attorney to represent you as soon as possible after your accident.

Potential Damages You Can Recover Financially for a Herniated Disc Injury

Accident victims who suffer one or more herniated discs might be eligible to recover several types of damages, including compensation for their related medical expenses—and lost wages if they need to miss work time. Other potential damages that accident victims may recover include compensation for loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, mental distress, past and future pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.

Call a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Near You Today

Dave Abels Personal Injury LawyerIf you suffered a herniated disc injury in an accident that someone else caused, you might be eligible to recover various monetary damages. An experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer in your area can explain your legal rights and options to help you maximize the monetary damages you recover for your herniated disc injury.

You should focus on your physical recovery and keeping up with your medical treatment. Trying to navigate an injury insurance claim or lawsuit is not something you want to add to your plate. Instead, put your case in the hands of an experienced injury lawyer who handles cases like yours. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a no-cost consultation and case evaluation as soon as possible.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

Neck And Back Pain After A Car Accident

Experiencing back and neck pain after a car accident?

Car accidents place a tremendous amount of force on the neck and back. The resulting pain from auto accident spine injuries can be intense and long-lasting. It may even cause serious limitations in one’s life. To make matters worse, understanding the source of the neck and back pain isn’t always simple. Your spine is made up of a complex network of bones, nerves, and muscles. Oftentimes, more than one of these parts can sustain damage during a collision. Because of this, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery can be a long and expensive journey.

As a car accident victim, you deserve to be compensated for any damages you suffered. Not just for your medical bills, but also for the impact on your career and quality of life. Abels & Annes can help you to hold the driver who caused your neck and back injury accountable so that you can get the compensation you need to move forward. Contact us to learn about your rights and legal options after a car accident.

Overview of the Neck and Back Anatomy

Though the neck and back is a strong system that provides substantial support, its individual parts are actually delicate and can be particularly vulnerable to car accident injuries. Any part of the spine can sustain an injury, depending on the amount of force and the point of impact of a car accident. In order to better understand how a car accident can affect the spine, let’s briefly look at its different parts.

Abels Back and Neck Pain - Spine Diagram

Vertebrae: The vertebrae are 33 small bones that make up your spine. They encase and protect your spinal cord. They also provide the structural support you need to stand, walk, and otherwise move your body.

Vertebral Disc: The vertebral discs (also called intervertebral discs) are cartilaginous joints that separate each vertebra bone. They allow movement, prevent rubbing, and act as a ligament to hold the spine together. They also function as a shock absorber for the spine. The vertebral discs are commonly damaged during high impact events and therefore a major source of neck and back pain.

Facet Joints: Facet joints are the spaces between the wing-shaped part of the vertebrae. They give the spine flexibility and allow you to bend and twist your back. Facet joints are also responsible for protecting the nerves that go from the spinal cord to the arms, legs and other parts of the body.

Cervical Spine: The cervical spine comprises the first seven vertebrae of the neck, beginning at the base of the skull. The cervical spine’s main job is to provide support to your head. Injury to this part of the spine is typically the source of neck pain.

Thoracic Spine: The thoracic spine makes up the upper center of the back. It is between the cervical spine and the lumbar spine. The thoracic bones provide the structure you need to walk upright.

Lumbar Spine: The lumbar spine is made up of the bones we commonly refer to as the lower back. This is a common place for injuries and source of pain.

Sacrum and Coccyx: The sacrum is a bony structure that is located at the base of the lumbar vertebrae and is connected to the pelvis. The coccyx is the final part of the spine that extends past the sacrum (commonly called the tailbone). These two parts of the spine are injured less often. However, injury to the sacrum and coccyx are possible, which are typically extremely painful and require long recovery. Severe injuries may limit mobility.

Spinal Cord: The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that run through the spine and controls the body’s central nervous system. The spinal cord is responsible for carrying nerves from the spine to literally every part of the body. That’s why a neck or back injury can cause such severe pain and affect function and mobility across the body. These consequences of spinal cord injuries can seriously affect a person’s everyday life.

Common Types of Neck and Back Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Now that we have clarified the parts of the spine, let’s look at some of the common neck and back injuries from a car accident and the types of problems they can cause.


Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the head and neck. Whiplash can cause neck pain and stiffness, headaches, and muscle spasms. Whiplash may heal quickly. But some injury victims can experience chronic pain. In fact, up to 50% of patients report persistent symptoms a year after developing whiplash.

Lumbar Spine Injuries

Lumbar spine injuries refer to any damage to the lower back. They frequently occur during rear-end car accidents but can also happen during any other type of car accident. Damage to the lower back can result in pain, tingling, weakness, spasms, and pain in the legs. These symptoms can greatly limit your mobility and cause life-altering issues.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis develops when the spinal canal narrows due aging or injury. This leaves less space for the spinal cord and can place extreme pressure on the spinal cord. Spinal stenosis commonly affects the lower back and can result in extreme pain.

Herniated Disc

Herniated discs are a common type of injury caused by car accidents. The force of the collision can put serious pressure on the vertebral discs, which can cause them to become damaged. This damage often results in the disc protruding into surrounding nerves. This disc protrusion can cause pain in the back and other areas surrounding the spine. Herniated discs can also weaken the back muscles and cause weakness and numbness in a person’s extremities.

Thoracic Spine Injuries

Thoracic spine injuries affect the middle and upper back. These injuries can cause:

  • serious pain
  • a significant decrease range of motion
  • impairment of functions like swallowing, talking, and breathing
  • paralysis

Facet Joint Injuries

The joints connecting each of your vertebrae are known as facet joints. Damage to the facet joint, or nearby discs, can cause serious nerve pain, which can affect the spine and other parts of the body. Additionally, the surrounding muscles may react to inflamed and displaced facet joints by spasming, causing tingling, numbness, and shooting pain across the body. Damaged facet joints can also affect the support that your neck and back need. Because of this, damage to the facet joints can affect mobility, posture, and daily activities.


Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which begins at your lower back and moves through the hips and buttocks and down to each leg. Sciatica can be caused by aging or traumatic events like car accidents. This condition is actually not itself an injury. Instead, sciatica results from other injuries or damage like a herniated disk or spinal stenosis. Sciatica can cause inflammation, pain, and numbness in the affected extremity. Because the sciatic nerve is so large and important, injury or obstruction of the nerve can affect anything from bowel and bladder control to one’s ability to walk.

Delayed Back and Neck Pain After a Car Accident

After a car accident, symptoms of neck and back injuries may be nonexistent or seem insignificant. You may think pain and stiffness are just part of being in a collision and that they’ll resolve on their own. However, these symptoms can indicate serious damage. Others may not experience any neck or back pain until several hours or even days after the accident.

Unfortunately, both of these issues can cause serious complications if it turns out that you are seriously injured and need to file a personal injury claim.

Because of this, it’s critical to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Seeking medical attention right away can prevent your injuries from getting worse. You will also begin the healing process and officially document your injury through medical records.

If it turns out that you are not injured, then at least you know nothing serious will sneak up on you.

Getting Compensation for Neck and Back Injuries Caused by a Car Accident

If your car accident was caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for your neck or back injuries through a personal injury claim. Examples of negligent drivers include a distracted driver or someone running a red light.

The most effective way to ensure a personal injury claim involving something as serious as neck and back injuries from a car accident is to hire a proper attorney. Attorney consultations are typically free and will help you understand your rights and legal options.

One of the biggest costs after an injury are bills. Medical expenses will be a significant part of your claim. This includes: fees for doctors’ appointments, surgeries, rehabilitation, and medication.

However, you also need to take into account your lost wages from missing work and any anticipated future lost wages. Finally, you can also get compensation for your pain and suffering. While there is no specific dollar amount attached to your pain and suffering, the suffering, discomfort, and stress you’ve endured can be pursued as part of your claim.

Even though you may be in the right, the other party’s insurance company will do their best to limit your claim or even outright deny it. They may dismiss your injuries as minor. They may argue that your injuries were preexisting to the accident. Or they may deny that their policyholder caused your neck or back injury.

Contact the Experienced Car Accident Attorneys at Abels & Annes

The experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes are here to help. We will investigate your case, gather and present compelling evidence, and firmly negotiate with the insurance company. Our goal is to secure the highest possible compensation for you so you can move on with your life. We understand how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that your injury claim will secure you maximum compensation needed to cover your damages.

Call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Spinal Cord Injuries Often Lead to a Lifetime of Costs

Motor vehicle accidents – especially high-speed car, truck, and motorcycle accidents – are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is made up of numerous nerves and nerve endings that relay information from the brain and control motor movements throughout the body. When an accident victim’s spinal cord is seriously damaged, the injury all too often results in paralysis.

Paralysis means a loss of functionality in a particular muscle or muscle group. Paralysis can cause the accident victim to become totally incapacitated. It can also turn a previously self-sufficient person into someone who is completely dependent upon others.

If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury because of another driver’s negligence, a catastrophic personal injury lawyer may be able to help. The at-fault party’s insurance company will have an attorney who will defend the case and most likely try to prevent you from recovering just compensation for your injuries. The Chicago spinal cord injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have the necessary skills and experience to take on an at-fault party’s insurance company and fight for the rights of accident victims who suffer catastrophic injuries.

What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?

Spinal cord injuries often occur when an accident victim sustains serious damage to his or her neck or back. These injuries can occur in serious car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, boating, or slip-and-fall accidents, where the accident victim’s neck or back flexes or extends beyond its normal range of motion. This abnormal flexion or extension can seriously damage the accident victim’s spinal cord.

Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis because the nerves inside a person’s spinal column control muscle movement throughout the body. More specifically:

  • The cervical spinal nerves control the upper body’s functioning
  • The lower spinal nerves around the lumbar spine control the lower body’s functioning
  • When the accident victim’s nerves are severed or otherwise impaired in an accident, paralysis can occur. Paralysis may consist of one or more of the following:
  • Monoplegia, where one limb is paralyzed
  • Hemiplegia, where the arm and the leg on one side of the body are paralyzed
  • Paraplegia, where both legs are paralyzed
  • Tetraplegia, where both arms and both legs are paralyzed

Treating Spinal Cord Injuries

Treating spinal cord injuries can be both extensive and expensive. Even with the advancements in medical treatment and technology, paralysis due to a spinal cord injury is not currently curable. Consequently, long-term treatment for spinal cord injuries often involves helping the victim become as independent as possible.

The medical costs associated with treating spinal cord and paralysis injury victims can range anywhere from hundreds of thousands to a million dollars—for just the first year after the injury. Lifetime medical costs may reach the multi-million dollar range. Treatment costs include medical procedures (including follow-up surgeries), physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation costs, and long-term or lifetime care, such as at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Total treatment costs may vary depending on the severity and type of accident which led to the spinal cord injury, the place where the accident occurred, the average costs of medical care and treatment in that particular area, the accident victim’s age, the accident victim’s overall health, and whether the victim has any other medical conditions or injuries.

Recovering Monetary Compensation for a Serious Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury cases are complex – both from a medical perspective and from a legal perspective. In many cases, it is necessary for a doctor or other health care provider to testify as to the nature and extent of the spinal cord injury, the permanent impairment sustained, and the likely costs of future medical procedures and treatment related to the injury.

It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are often skeptical of spinal cord injuries and other catastrophic injuries. They will likely examine all of the accident victim’s prior medical records and bills for any other potential causes of injury, such as preexisting medical conditions, prior injuries or nerve damage, and any prior accidents referenced in the victim’s medical records.

In addition to potential costs associated with future medical procedures and lifetime care, a spinal cord injury victim may also recover compensation for lost income, lost earning capacity, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of spousal companionship, loss of the use of a body part, and loss of enjoyment of life. An accident victim may also recover “loss of enjoyment” damages if no longer able to take part in a favorite activity, such as sports or other pastimes.

Call a Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Case Evaluation and Legal Consultation

If you have sustained a permanent spinal cord injury in an automobile, truck, or other accident, you may be able to pursue monetary compensation in your case. The spinal cord injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can be your advocates both during settlement negotiations, as well as in the courtroom. Contact us today to find out how we can help you recover monetary damages in your personal injury case.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois spinal cord injury lawyer, please call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

The Lifelong Costs of a Complete Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious and life-altering injuries you can sustain. In fact, your life can be permanently and irrevocably altered in that very moment. Because spinal cord injuries are so severe, they are also often accompanied by overwhelmingly negative physical, emotional, and financial consequences. In fact, the damages that emanate from a serious spinal cord injury are difficult to overstate.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

Serious spinal cord injuries are typically categorized as either complete or incomplete injuries. A complete spinal cord injury means that all signaling from the brain to the body (at or below where the nerve damage occurs on the spinal cord) is cut off. Some level of paralysis is nearly guaranteed with such injuries.

Living with any degree of paralysis is obviously extremely difficult, and the effects typically include overwhelming reverberations for the sufferer’s emotional, financial, and physical well-being. Further, such injuries often incur secondary health issues that can be chronic. These secondary health concerns can include lung ailments such as pneumonia, respiratory issues, heart disease, and infections such as septicemia. To make things even more difficult, these secondary health issues aren’t always adequately covered by health insurance.

If you’ve suffered a complete spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you very likely are utterly overwhelmed and have no idea where to turn. A personal injury attorney with experience navigating spinal cord injury claims can help. Although no amount of money can bring back what you’ve lost, just compensation can help you move forward and begin to build a new future for yourself and your family. The legal team at the Law Firm of Abels & Annes is here to help.

The Lifelong Costs

Spinal cord injuries are permanent injuries, and as such, they incur significant medical expenses over the course of your life. While your age at the time of the injury and the severity of your injury play an obvious role in the related expenses, there are several categories of medical expenses to consider:

  • Spinal surgery or surgeries following the accident;
  • Trauma care, including the use of ventilators and other life-saving devices;
  • Rehabilitation, which can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychiatric and/or mental health counseling;
  • Long-term care, including home health care;
  • Medical equipment, including wheelchairs; and
  • Prescription medications, including medicines for pain and infections.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation estimates that – while the expenses vary considerably based on the severity of your injury and on your age at the time of injury – a complete spinal cord injury will cost you well over a million dollars for medical expenses alone.

Lost Wages and Earning Potential

Medical expenses are, of course, only the beginning when it comes to costs associated with spinal cord injuries. Many people who suffer complete spinal cord injuries remain permanently unemployed after they become injured. As such, lost wages and earning potential is one of the most detrimental costs associated with these injuries. The total amount of lost income is naturally dependent upon your age at the time of your accident and upon your earning bracket, but lost wages and earning potential play primary roles in the total expenses incurred by those who suffer complete spinal cord injuries.

Long-Term Costs

Spinal cord injuries are so all-encompassing and overwhelming that it can be difficult to grasp the scope of their long-term effects and expenses. If you’ve suffered a complete spinal cord injury, you are no doubt focused on your immediate medical and health needs – in fact, you probably have yet to even consider your long-term and ongoing needs. There are several categories of such needs that commonly apply:

  • Mental health care – Spinal cord injuries often necessitate significant expenses related to mental health care. After all, your life was upended in the blink of an eye, and that’s an overwhelming emotional blow. Ongoing treatment for the psychological component of such injuries is typically both necessary and expensive.
  • Long-term health concerns – Those who suffer from complete spinal cord injuries often suffer from secondary health issues throughout their lives. Respiratory infections are especially common.
  • Modifications to your home – If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s very likely that you’ll need to make significant modifications to your home that will allow you to remain living there and to navigate throughout. Such modifications can include the redesign of your kitchen and bathrooms to accommodate your disabilities and the installation of elevators and/or ramps to allow you to get around.
  • Facilitative Transportation – A complete spinal cord injury can leave you unable to drive a typical vehicle or leave you unable to be transported in a typical vehicle. Many victims of such injuries require a wheelchair-accessible van (either to drive themselves or to be driven in).

These expenses outline the most basic costs associated with complete spinal cord injuries and should not be considered exhaustive. Every accident and resultant spinal cord injury is unique, but your personal injury attorney will work closely with you to assess your comprehensive and ongoing costs and expenses as they relate to your injury.

If someone else’s negligence has left you with a complete spinal cord injury, you need legal counsel. Although money can never restore you to your former health, your rights and your rightful compensation matter. Allow a personal injury attorney who focuses on spinal cord injuries to help navigate your claim toward the financial compensation to which you’re legally entitled.

If You’ve Suffered a Complete Spinal Cord Injury, Consult with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Today

Suffering an injury in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence is always difficult. Suffering a complete spinal cord injury under such circumstances is catastrophic. You don’t have to go through this difficult time alone; the dedicated legal team at the Law Firm of Abels & Annes has the compassion and commitment to aggressively advocate for your rights and for your rightful compensation. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call our office at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

Chicago Spinal Cord Injury FAQ – Part 2

Are There Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine,1 there are two main kinds of spinal cord injuries (SCIs): complete and incomplete. In an incomplete injury, the victim retains some function below the site of the injury. For example, a person with an incomplete injury, a victim may retain some feeling or movement in one side of the body than the other. In a complete spinal cord injury, victims have no sensation or movement below the site of the injury.

What is the Prognosis for a Spinal Cord Injury Victim?

The prognosis for spinal cord injuries depends largely on the severity of the injury. Generally speaking, the outlook is much better for victims who have sustained an incomplete SCI. On the other hand, currently, recovery from a complete spinal cord injury is unlikely, although recent advances in medicine using stem cells2 indicate that this soon may change.

How Much Will I Be Able to Recover for my Spinal Cord Injury?

There is no way to determine how much a spinal cord injury victim will recover without undertaking a thorough evaluation of his or her case. That being said because spinal cord injuries often result in profound and long-term problems, they tend to result in substantial compensation when they are the result of negligence. Some examples of the losses that are often compensable in a spinal cord injury case include the following:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Lost income
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of quality of life

It is important to keep in mind that spinal cord injury victims are often entitled to future damages in addition to damages they have already incurred. In these cases, it is often necessary to retain experts who can determine the amount of income a person would have made over the course of his or her career, extrapolate medical expenses, and place a value on the pain and suffering a victim will experience in the future.

Call Abels & Annes, P.C. Today to Speak to a Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

If you have sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident that you believe was caused by the negligence of another person, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago SCI lawyers, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.,P01180/

Chicago Spinal Cord Injury FAQ – Part 1

How Serious are Spinal Cord Injuries?

A spinal cord injury1 is among the most serious injuries a person can sustain. Because the spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, any damage to it can result in serious complications, including paralysis below the site of the injury. Even in less serious cases, victims can experience issues like muscle weakness, limited mobility, numbness or tingling, and severe pain.

What Kinds of Accidents Can Cause Spinal Cord Injuries?

While spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, even fairly common accidents are capable of causing them. Some of the more common types of accidents that have the potential to result in spinal cord injuries include the following:

  • Slip and falls
  • Car accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Boat accidents
  • Pool and hot tub accidents

Do Victims Need to Retain an Attorney?

Many spinal cord accident victims wonder whether the need to retain an attorney. In many cases, the at-fault party (or an insurance company) makes what seems like a reasonable settlement offer shortly after the accident, potentially making it appear to victims that legal counsel is unnecessary. Spinal cord injury victims often deal with the effects of their injury for the rest of their lives, and victims need to keep in mind that once they settle is almost impossible reopen a case to obtain additional compensation.

For this reason, it is critical for spinal cord injury victims to calculate and pursue future damages2 in their settlement negotiations. These future damages should include lost income, future medical expenses, and the pain and suffering that victims will continue to experience for the rest of their lives, all of which can be extremely difficult to calculate. As a result, it is strongly recommended for any spinal cord accident victim to retain an attorney familiar with representing people who have sustained catastrophic injuries.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation

Spinal cord injury victims can often recover significant compensation from the person or party responsible for their accident. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago PI lawyer, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.