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.