Philadelphia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
The Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is a collection of nerves that travels from the bottom of a person s brain down the back. Some of these nerves leave the spinal cord and go to arms, legs, chest and abdomen, allowing the brain to give commands to the muscles and cause movements of the arms and legs. Other nerves travel from the arms and legs back to the spinal cord, bringing back information from a person s body to the brain including the senses of touch, pain, temperature, and position.
The Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is very sensitive to injury, because it does not have the ability to repair itself if it is damaged. A spinal cord injury can happen when there is damage from trauma, loss of blood supply, or compression from tumor or infection. Spinal cord injuries can be either complete or incomplete. In a complete spinal cord injury there is complete loss of sensation and muscle function in the body below the level of injury. In an incomplete spinal cord injury there is some remaining function below the level of the injury.
- Quadriplegia . An injury to the upper portion of the spinal cord in the neck can cause quadriplegia. Quadriplegia is paralysis of both arms and both legs.
- Paraplegia . If the injury to the spinal cord occurs in the lower back it can cause paraplegia. Paraplegia is paralysis of both legs.
Because the spinal cord acts as the main information pathway between the brain and the rest of the body, a spinal cord injury can have significant physiological consequences. 85% of spinal cord injury patients who survived the first 24 hours remain alive 10 years later. However, serious SCI complications such as respiratory ailment and renal failure can cause death.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
There are approximately 15,000 new cases of spinal cord injury each year in the United States. The most common cause of spinal cord injury is trauma. Most spinal cord injuries happen during car crashes. followed by those resulting from stabbings and shootings. The rest are due to sports injuries, work accidents, falls from great heights, falls from a horse, or any number of things that crushes and compresses the vertebrae in the neck. Automobile accidents are often responsible for spinal cord damage in the middle back, which can cause paraplegia. Injuries that directly penetrate the spinal cord, such as gunshot or knife wounds, can either completely or partially sever the spinal cord and create life-long disabilities.
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What is the Function of the Spinal Cord?
The spinal cord is surprisingly thin (about the size of a quarter in diameter at its widest) and it runs along the spine for about twelve to eighteen inches in length at the most. This very vital cable-like cord is extremely important to the overall function of the body. It carries all of the vital nerves. These same nerves are responsible for transmitting signals and direction to the organs, muscles, and extremities including the hands and feet. In short, the spinal cord is tasked with the job of carrying information from the brain to the body. Our experienced spinal cord injury lawyers in Philadelphia handle spinal cord injuries at a low 29% contingency fee.
Understanding a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are almost always caused by a trauma with automobile accidents being the most common type. These injuries can range in severity from temporary bruising and compression to more serious injuries that result in life-long disability and suffering.
Some of the other common traumatic causes of injury to the spinal cord include:
- Lateral bending
- Axial Loading
- Work-related accidents
- Sports injuries
- Stabbing wound
- Gunshot wound
Other less frequent causes for spinal cord injuries include those resulting from the effects of a serious illness. These may include:
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Vertebral injury
- Spinal Cord Vascular Disease
What is the Prognosis for Someone with a Spinal Cord Injury?
The bad news is that far too often spinal cord injuries turn out to be at least partially incurable. Patients with injuries classified as incomplete do tend to have better chances of recovery, however, those with complete injuries very seldom recover much function at all. The first six months after the trauma are critical to the patient s recovery. Very few patients experience any degree of substantial recovery beyond the nine month mark.
Spinal Cord Injuries can cause life altering physical problems such as paralysis, quadriplegia, paraplegia, anterior cord syndrome and fractures. The financial strain can be overwhelming and devastating to the family of one living with a spinal cord injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the average yearly cost of care for the one who has been disabled due to an SCI can range anywhere from $230,000 to $780,000 in the first year alone. The estimated costs over a lifetime is a staggering $700,000 to over $4 million. Most (90%) of these patients are cared for at home by their loved ones or a hired healthcare worker after their hospital release.
Spinal Cord Injuries are devastating both to the person affected and their family. Dependent upon the severity of their injury, this individual may or may not be able to work and engage in gainful and meaningful employment often times through no fault of their own.
If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury, you need an experienced Philadelphia spinal cord injury lawyer. Our spinal cord injury attorneys will get you the maximum possible compensation available under PA law.
The Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord can cause weakness or complete loss of muscle function and loss of sensation in the body below the level of injury, loss of control of the bowels and bladder, and loss of normal sexual function. Spinal cord injuries to the upper neck can cause difficulty breathing and may require the use of a breathing machine, or ventilator. Because of the severity of most of spinal cord injuries and devastating physical consequences associated with them, the cost of spinal injury can be very high.
Often, an injured person requires hospitalization in acute care units, which, on average, lasts 15 days and costs approximately $140,000. The average stay in a rehabilitation unit is 44 days. During the first year following a spinal cord injury, an injured person accrues on average $198,000 in medical bills. Paraplegics spend approximately $152,000 on medical care in the first year following injury, and $428,000 during their lifetime. Quadriplegics spend twice as much on medical care – approximately $417,000 in the first year following the injury and almost $1.35 million during lifetime. The majority of people who sustain spinal cord injuries are not able to gain meaningful employment during their lifetime. The cost of foregone opportunities and loss of future employability is also factored into the calculation of the total cost of spinal cord injuries.
Why You Need A Lawyer
Because of the high cost of medical and rehabilitative treatment associated with SCI, the most pressing concern for injured patients and their families is the ability to pay for long-lasting medical treatment and rehabilitative care. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, your recovery process may be compounded by the financial struggle with insurance companies. This is where an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer comes in.
Whether you sustained your SCI as a result of a motor vehicle accident, fall, violent attack or sports, the Lassen Law Firm can help you get compensation. If the negligent or reckless conduct of another caused or contributed to the accident, the injured party may claim money damages for his/her injuries. Without an experienced spinal injury attorney on your side, the opponent party may force you to admit that your own negligence caused your injury.
At the Lassen Law Firm, our attorneys are legal experts in cases of spinal cord injuries, including paraplegia and quadriplegia. We have helped hundreds of injured clients get back on their feet by recovering high out-of-court settlements and jury awards. At the Lassen Law Firm, Philadelphia spinal cord injury lawyers, our goal is to serve your legal needs. We will fight for your just compensation and will leave no stone unturned until we get you the money damages to which you are entitled under the law.
We represent personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis and will get no fee unless we win your case. Let the Lassen Law Firm serve you.