Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is devastating for a victim, as well as the victim’s family members and loved ones. It is a life-changing injury that can affect a victim physically, emotionally and financially. At Drake Injury Lawyers, we understand how much of an impact a spinal cord injury has on a survivor. We know what it is like to have to adapt to permanent lifestyle changes and overcome significant challenges.
It is our goal to help victims who have suffered spinal cord injuries due to the careless acts of others. We work hard to obtain the justice and financial compensation that they deserve. Our Birmingham spinal cord injury attorneys have secured millions of dollars for past clients by holding wrongdoers accountable. Find out how we can help you with a catastrophic injury case during a free case consultation.
How a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Can Help
The right spinal cord injury attorney can help you get your life back on track with tailored legal services. Your spinal cord injury lawyer can explore all of your legal options for you, such as an insurance claim, workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit. Then, your lawyer can take the steps that are necessary for you to obtain maximum financial compensation. Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys can investigate your injury, collect evidence of fault and losses, hire medical experts to testify, go up against a powerful defendant, and perform other services to seek justice on your behalf.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury describes an injury or damage to any part of the spinal cord or spinal column, including vertebrae, disks, nerves and surrounding tissues. Since the spinal cord is the messaging system between the brain and the body, an injury can be physically debilitating for a victim. It can impact the spine’s ability to transfer messages, resulting in the inability to move or feel the body below the point of injury. Unfortunately, most spinal cord injuries are irreversible, meaning a victim will live with the symptoms of an SCI for life.
Symptoms and Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury, whether from traumatic injury or disease, is one of the most serious injuries that people can suffer and still survive. SCIs can cause:
- Paralysis, either partial or total, of the voluntary muscles below the injury site
- Loss of sensation, either partial or total, below the injury site
- Defects in the autonomic nervous system control of such involuntary actions as respiration and heartbeat
The most severe injuries bring the victim’s previous life to a complete halt, both shortening life expectancy and severely diminishing the quality of life.
PROFILE OF SCI AND SCI VICTIMS
Data for 2020 from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) at the University of Alabama, Birmingham indicate that the most common causes of SCI are:
- Motor vehicle crashes—32 percent
- Falls—23.1 percent
- Gunshot wound—15.2 percent
- Motorcycle accident—6.1 percent
- Diving—5.7 percent
- Medical or surgical complication—2.9 percent
- Hit by a falling or flying object—2.7 percent
- Bicycle accidents—1.7 percent
- Pedestrian accidents—1.5 percent
The NSCISC also reports that there are some 17,900 new cases of SCI each year (not counting victims who die at the accident scene), and an estimated 252,000 to 373,000 SCI victims living in the U.S. Victims tend to be young and some 80 percent are male.
LANGUAGE OF SPINAL CORD INJURY
There are many different types and levels of spinal cord injuries. Broadly speaking, tetraplegics (also called quadriplegics) have no function in any of their four limbs, while paraplegics have the use of their arms. In a “complete” SCI, no function remains below the level of the injury. “Incomplete” SCI means that there is some function below the injury (because some nerve fibers within the cord remain functional at the injury site).
LEVELS OF INJURY
The consequences of SCI vary greatly depending on which level of the spine was injured: the higher the level, the more functions affected. Unfortunately, the cervical section of the cord which passes through the neck is both the highest level and the most vulnerable to injury.
For the most part, a complete cord injury:
- Below C-7 level leaves victims at least self-sufficient in essential tasks of living
- Above C-6 leaves the victim dependent on others for the essentials of daily living
- At the C-6 and C-7 level may allow some independence to be achieved with great difficulty
A spinal cord injury at any level can result in life-altering symptoms that may or may not abate with physical therapy, rehabilitation, surgeries and other treatments.
COMPLICATIONS OF INJURY AND IMMOBILIZATION
Spinal cord injuries may have serious, even fatal, consequences for several other organs and body systems, including:
- Bowel and bladder
- Sexual function in both men and women
The immobilization that many SCI victims experience also causes problems ranging from pressure sores to spasticity and atrophy. Psychologically, depression is often a problem, as well.
Life expectancy remains lower for SCI victims. For a victim 20 years old at injury, life span is reduced by 7.3 years for those with the least severe injuries, and by 49 years for those who are ventilator dependent.
SCI naturally affects employability, with the precise effect depending on the severity of the injury and the personal characteristics of the victim. According to the NSCISC, 68.3 percent of SCI victims in a model system were employed at the time of injury, but only 18.2 percent were employed a year after injury.
SCI victims who experience significant functional loss, especially to mobility, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function, often suffer severe psychological problems and may well become suicidal.
In addition to grievous personal losses in spinal cord injury cases, dealing with SCI is expensive. The NSCISC estimates the lifetime cost associated just with the injury to be $3,771,791 for a person who suffers a C5 to C8 injury at the age of 25. Obtaining adequate and rapid compensation for the injury is imperative.
Who Is Liable for Your Spinal Cord Injury?
It can be critical to hold someone responsible for you or a loved one’s spinal cord injury. A successful insurance claim or injury lawsuit may be the only way to receive the financial compensation that you need to pay for your current and latent medical care, as well as your lost wages and other serious losses associated with the injury. While money will not solve everything or reverse your losses, it can provide greater financial peace of mind as you focus on the future.
Determining liability, or legal responsibility, for your spinal cord injury requires identifying who or what caused the injury. If you suffered a spine injury in a motor vehicle accident, for example, speak to a Birmingham car accident lawyer and they can handle setting up an investigation to determine the cause of the crash in order for you to file a claim. In general, a person or party who breaks a law or behaves carelessly in connection to an accident will be liable for victims’ related injuries and losses.
Holding someone liable for a spinal cord injury in Alabama typically requires clear and convincing evidence that the allegedly at-fault party (the defendant) did something that violated his or her obligation to exercise reasonable care, and that this caused the injury in question. Working with an experienced spinal cord injury attorney from Drake Injury Lawyers can make it easier to prove your case and recover the financial compensation that your family needs moving forward.
HELP FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY CASES
At Drake Injury Lawyers, we handle nothing but personal injury cases and have 25 years of experience to call upon. Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys understand the medical, legal and personal aspects of the case and offer personal attention to all our clients. If you need advice about an SCI in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, get it from a spinal cord injury attorney who has secured multiple million-dollar awards for our clients. Contact us online or call 205-970-0800 today for a free consultation.