September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, a time to educate people on the devastating effects of spinal cord injuries and to support those who have been affected. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are 18,000 new spinal cord injuries in the United States each year. As seasoned Nevada injury lawyers, our team knows the devastating impact a spinal cord injury can have on individuals and their families.
In this blog, the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at ER Injury Attorneys review types of spinal cord injuries, offer some prevention tips, and explain how a lawyer can help you with the financial implications of a spinal cord injury.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down the back. The spinal cord sends and receives messages between the brain and the rest of the body, controlling vital body functions. An SCI can be caused by a variety of incidents, like a car accident, motorcycle accident, or slip and fall.
The severity of an SCI can range from mild to catastrophic. In a mild SCI, there may be only temporary symptoms. In a severe SCI, there may be complete paralysis or even death. These injuries can have many permanent and life-changing effects, including:
- Paralysis: this is the loss of movement in all or in parts of the body and can be either complete, meaning that the person is unable to move anything below the level of the injury, or incomplete, meaning that some movement is still possible.
- Chronic Pain: refers to pain that lasts for more than six months. It is a common problem after SCI, and it can be severe and debilitating.
- Loss of sensation: after an SCI, many often lose feeling in all or part of the body. It can be either complete or incomplete, and it can affect both touch and pain sensation.
- Impaired movement: decreased ability to move one or more parts of the body due to weakness, stiffness, or pain.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control: can require the use of a catheter or other assistive devices.
- Changes in sexual function: might include changes in sexual desire, sensation, performance, and decreased fertility.
- Difficulty breathing: caused by damage to the nerves that control the lungs. It can be life-threatening, and may require the use of a ventilator.
There is no cure for a spinal cord injury, but there are treatments such as surgery, physical therapy, and certain medications that may help improve overall function and quality of life.
Learning SCI Types During Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.
- Complete SCI: results in the total loss of sensation and movement below the level of the injury. This can happen when the spinal cord is severed or crushed.
- Incomplete SCI: there is some sensation or movement below the injury, but it will be limited.
The spinal cord has four regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. The severity of the injury depends on the region of the spine that is affected.
- Cervical spine injuries: the most severe and can cause paralysis of the arms, legs, and trunk.
- Thoracic spine injuries: affect the upper and middle back and can cause problems with breathing and movement of the arms and trunk.
- Lumbar spine injuries: affect the lower back and can cause problems with movement of the legs and lower body.
- Sacral spine injuries: the least common type of SCI that occurs in the sacrum and coccyx. Sacral injuries usually do not cause paralysis, but can lead to problems with the legs, hips, and groin.
Each SCI is different and everyone will likely have various symptoms. Even if you do not experience any of these symptoms, it is still important to see a doctor to be evaluated for a spinal cord injury. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to improve your chances of recovery.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month Safety Tips
Traumatic accidents can happen at any time and often through no fault of your own. Thankfully, there are several safety precautions you can take that can help lessen the likelihood or severity of spinal cord injuries, including:
- Wearing a seatbelt
- Avoiding distracted driving
- Following the speed limit
- Avoiding reckless driving
- Being aware of your surroundings and watching for potential hazards
- Using proper safety equipment when participating in activities that have a high risk of spinal cord injury
Seeking Legal Assistance After a Spinal Injury
After you or a loved one have suffered from a spinal cord injury, it is important to seek legal advice if the injury was caused by no fault of your own. A personal injury attorney can see that you receive compensation to cover the potentially astronomical costs of a spinal injury.
The lifetime costs of a spinal injury can range from $1.1 million to $4.7 million. In some instances, that cost can be even higher. Depending on the severity of the injury and the tools and resources needed afterwards, medical insurance might not cover all the costs involved.
A Nevada personal injury lawyer at ER Injury Attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options, and fight for the compensation you deserve.The amount of compensation you can receive will vary depending on your injury, the circumstances of the accident, and the laws in your state. However, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgery, and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Cost of home and vehicle modifications
- Personal care assistance
- Special equipment
Contact ER Injury Attorneys
ER Injury Attorneys hopes that you found this information useful and that you share it with your family as part of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. The effects of an SCI can be life-changing, not only for the victims but for their families. We understand the challenges that these injuries can pose, and we are dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. Our team is committed to helping those with spinal cord injuries caused by the negligent and reckless actions of another.
Our experienced and knowledgeable Nevada injury attorneys have successfully represented clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Boulder City, and Pahrump receive full and fair compensation. Contact us 24/7 by calling 702-878-7878, via LiveChat, or by filling out our contact form for your free case consultation.