Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
Spinal cord damage can happen in several ways, but the most common cause is external trauma. Non-traumatic spinal cord injuries can also happen from blood loss, tumors, or stenosis. The risks of having one of these injuries increases as you age, and the average age to sustain a spinal cord injury is 43, this is a jump from the average age of 29 in the 1970s.
The spinal cord injury attorneys at our Hartford County, Connecticut catastrophic injury law firm knows that you may have several questions regarding paralysis and spinal cord injuries. We’ll outline all you need to know below.
Spinal Cord Injury Types
Your spinal cord relays messages to your body from your brain. When you or someone you love has a spinal cord injury, their body may lose essential functions if the nerves get cut off from the brain. Most spinal cord injuries come from trauma, and there are several ways you can cause this injury. Some of the most common causes of injuries to your spinal cord include falls, vehicle accidents, sports injuries, gunshot wounds, and surgical complications. You can divide most cases into two broad categories:
- Complete – A complete spinal cord injury will cause permanent damage to the affected area of your spinal cord. Tetraplegia and paraplegia are due to this type of injury.
- Incomplete – An incomplete spinal cord injury means you have partially damaged your spinal cord. The amount of feeling you have and your ability to move will depend on which area is damaged and how severe your injury is. The outcomes for this injury depend on your medical history and overall health.
Spinal Cord Injury Levels
Your spinal cord has four sections that will impact your injury levels: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Each of the four sections of your spine works to protect different nerve groups that control your body. The severity and types of these injuries will depend on what area you injure, and the four sections include the following:
- Cervical – Injuries to the cervical spinal cord impact the neck and the head region above your shoulders. This is the most severe spinal cord injury you can sustain.
- Thoracic – These spinal cord injuries will impact your upper chest area, mid-back, and abdominal muscles. Hand and arm functions are typically normal when you have an injury here.
- Lumbar – Lumbar spine injuries impact your legs and hips, and you may need braces to walk or a wheelchair with this injury.
- Sacral – Finally, sacral spinal cord injuries affect the back of your thighs, hips, pelvic organs, and buttocks. You can usually walk when you injure this area of your spine.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
Damage to the ligaments, vertebrae, or disks in your spinal column can cause an injury. As the name suggests, a traumatic spinal cord injury usually comes from a sudden impact on the spine that compresses, fractures, dislocates, or crushes one or more of your vertebrae. It can also result from a knife wound or gunshot that cuts and penetrates your spinal cord.
More damage usually happens in the days and weeks after the initial injury due to swelling, bleeding, fluid accumulation, and inflammation in and around your spinal cord. A non-traumatic spinal cord injury can result from inflammation, cancer, arthritis, disk degeneration, or infections in your spine.
Your Central Nervous System and Brain
The central nervous system encompasses the spinal cord and the brain. Your spinal cord has soft tissue surrounded by vertebrae or bones. It starts at the base of your brain and extends downward, and it has individual nerve cells and groups of them called tracts that go to different areas in your body.
The lower end of your spinal column stops just above your waist in the conus medullaris region. If you go below this region, you’ll find a nerve root group called the cauda equina. The nerve tracts in your spinal cord carry messages to the rest of your body from the brain. For example, motor tracts will carry signals from the brain to help control muscle movement, and sensory tracts will carry signals to your brain that relate to pressure, cold, heat, limb position, and pain.
Nerve Fiber Damage
Whether your spinal cord injury is non-traumatic or traumatic, the damage impacts the nerve fibers that pass through the injured area. So it makes sense that it can impair all nerves and muscles below the injured site. For example, a thoracic or lumbar injury can impact your legs, torso, bowel and bladder control, and how you function sexually. Likewise, a cervical injury will impact the same areas while affecting arm movement and potentially your ability to breathe on your own.
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
In the United States, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are the following:
- Diseases – Arthritis, cancer, spinal cord inflammation, and osteoporosis can cause damage to your spinal cord.
- Falls – Falls as well as slip and fall accidents are a significant cause of spinal cord injuries in people 65 and older.
- Medical Malpractice – A botched spine or back surgery to correct an existing issue can cause more damage to your spinal cord.
- Recreational or sports injuries – Athletic injuries like contact sports or diving in shallow water account for many spinal cord injuries.
- Vehicle accidents – Motorcycle accidents, car accidents and truck accidents are the most significant cause of spinal cord injuries, making up roughly half of the reported injuries yearly.
- Violent acts – Violent encounters make up a small percentage of all spinal cord injuries, usually from knife or gunshot wounds.
Recovering From a Spinal Cord Injury
Recovering from a spinal cord injury in Simsbury, Glastonbury or Hartford, CT is different for every person, and this process will depend on how severe your damage was and what part of the spine was involved. However, there are three primary stages to your recovery process.
The critical period for these injuries happens in the hospital right after your accident in Hartford County. First, a doctor will carefully stabilize the patient and run tests to determine how extensive the spinal cord injury is. Then, the medical team will try to limit the damage over a few days and reduce the complication risks.
The second stage can last for months or potentially years. It usually involves occupational therapy, physical therapy, and rehabilitative treatments. In some instances, you may regain some of your bodily function in as little as 18 months after your accident. However, you may have to wait years to regain limited function in rare cases.
Long-Term Management Stage
During this final stage, you will learn how to manage your life with your spinal cord injury. For example, you may have to learn new ways to do things and use medical equipment or devices to help perform daily activities. You might also have to manage secondary health issues like muscle spasms, pressure ulcers, depression, and chronic pain.
What Types of Compensation Can I Expect?
Your injury severity will dictate how much compensation your spinal injury attorney in Hartford County, CT, can go for. Also, depending on the defendant’s level of fault and the circumstances surrounding your injury, additional damage types are needed. When your Simsbury and Glastonbury, CT personal injury lawyers win damages, you can divide them into the following categories.
General damages depend on the severity and intensity of your injury. For example, severe spinal cord injuries can obtain damages between $200,000 and $300,000, while mildly severe injuries fall from $160,000 to $240,000. Finally, moderate or mild cases can win between $30,000 and $160,000.
Also, unlike many other states, Connecticut doesn’t have a limit on the non-economic damages your Hartford County catastrophic injury lawyer can obtain for you. The same is true for medical malpractice lawsuits. However, general damages are very hard to assign a value to, so it’s up to your spinal injury attorney to advocate for you.
Special damages are for monetary losses that you can track. They include loss of income, medical expenses, and damage to the property, and Connecticut has no financial cap.
The court assigns the defendant punitive damages for gross negligence. Courts in Connecticut allow for these damages when you have a medical malpractice claim, but they have a cap on the attorney’s fees and the case cost.
Bulging Disc Compensation
If you’re in an auto accident and have a bulging disc injury, your compensation amount usually ranges from $100,000 to $150,000.
Cervical Spine Injury Compensation
Assigning an exact value for your injury case without a detailed case evaluation is impossible. However, the compensation range for a spinal cord injury involving the cervical spine usually ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. If you have an injury to the soft tissue of your neck, compensation amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000. For injuries involving the neck discs, compensation rises to $200,000 or more.
Compression Fracture Compensation
A compression fracture of your spinal cord is something very common in vehicular accidents or personal injury slip and fall lawsuits. The compensation amount will depend on your case’s specifics. However, many personal injury lawsuits involving a compression fracture can have compensation ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.
Herniated Disc Compensation
Just like any other injury to your spine, it’s impossible to assign an exact compensation amount because it depends on your losses and how severe your damage is. However, compensation can be quite high, and average settlement amounts can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars for herniated discs or paralysis.
How Is Pain And Suffering Calculated?
Pain and suffering can be emotional, physical, or psychological. However, since no one can get inside your head and see how much you suffered from your injury, the courts look at specific factors to calculate your pain and suffering compensation. These factors include the following:
How Long the Pain and Suffering Persisted
The longer your pain and suffering persist after the accident, the more your personal injury lawsuit can be worth.
The aftermath or effects of your injury can cause a large amount of suffering or pain. If an injury or trauma leaves you with lasting disabilities or disfigurement, it can cause emotional suffering. Therefore, your lawyer should factor in your emotional distress when determining how much damage you should fight for with your case.
Required Medical Treatment
Some people might need a cast or boot to stabilize the injured area. However, other victims with spinal cord injuries may need surgery. Recovering from a surgical procedure can be a longer process than wearing a sling or brace for a few weeks. Also, some injuries require much more extensive treatment as the surgery is more complex and painful than treatment for less severe injuries.
Medical professionals might prescribe powerful prescriptions to help manage the pain after a traumatic injury. You can use this as evidence in court because it proves that you needed these medications to help reduce the pain from the spinal injury. Your spinal cord injury attorney can also bring experts in to testify about the pain levels involved in a spinal cord injury.
How Can a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Help?
Catastrophic injuries result in limb loss, paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, a traumatic brain injury, or total disability. Also, this type of injury encompasses any damage that prevents you from earning a living wage on a long or short-term basis. People with spinal cord injuries that are so severe they permanently alter their lives usually have substantial medical debt, lost wages, and financial instability.
If you had a spinal cord injury in Connecticut, having a professional legal team can be vital to helping you build a solid case to win the compensation needed to restore your financial security. Not only can your spinal injury lawyer negotiate on your behalf, but they have the necessary knowledge and experience to navigate the courts while keeping you informed every step.
Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm
If you sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, or slip and fall event, or you were the victim of medical malpractice, allow our spinal cord injury attorneys to build your case. Residents of Hartford, CT, know that our dedicated professionals have a reputation for aggressive negotiation that helps win them the compensation they deserve. So reach out and contact our team for a consultation.