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Dealing With Spinal Injuries After an Accident

Spinal injuries overwhelm victims with severe chronic pain, numbness and tingling, paralysis and even death. If you are dealing with such injuries, you must speak with a highly-skilled Los Angeles spinal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.

As one of the most vital organs in the human body, a spinal injury can increase the risk of sustained physical and psychological trauma and require extensive long-term medical care. Approximately 50 percent of all spinal cord injuries that occur in the United States each year are the result of a car accident; however, injuries also result from slip and falls, workplace accidents, dangerous conditions, hazardous property, defective products or unsuitable working conditions. In these instances, negligence is usually at play, and the negligent party will likely be required to compensate victims for their financial and physical suffering. Working with a Los Angeles spinal injury attorney will ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to help you recover from your losses.

Spinal Injury Complications

Spinal cord injuries are grave and can lead to a variety of health issues. Consisting of a bundle of nerves that run from the base of the brain and down your back, your spinal cord acts as the primary regulator of your bodily functions. A spinal injury can result in chronic pain, numbness, tingling, loss of sensation and movement, and may result in paralysis of your limbs and lower half of your body. Spinal injury victims are typically at risk of early death due to the myriad complications that can arise.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should seek immediate medical care if you are experiencing:

  • Pain
  • Numbness in any part of your body, especially to the arms and legs
  • Tingling Sensations in your arms, buttocks, and legs
  • Pain or weakness throughout the spine
  • Inability to regulate blood pressure
  • Reduced control of body temperature
  • Chronic pain
  • Respiratory issues
  • Mood swings

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal injuries are caused by damage to any part of the spinal cord, including the vertebrae, ligaments, disk or cord itself. These injuries are typically classified as traumatic or non-traumatic.

External trauma is the most common source of spinal cord injuries. That typically means a sudden blow to the spine, which can come in several different ways. Common causes of external trauma include:

  • Car and motorcycle accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Gunshots
  • Sports mishaps
  • Surgical complications
  • Falling objects
  • Bicycle crashes
  • Swimming and diving injuries
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Assaults

Although a single blow may be the cause of the injury, additional damage to the spine often occurs over the following days and weeks due to bleeding, swelling, inflammation and other factors. 

Non-traumatic spinal cord damage can be caused by factors other than a physical blow to the body. That includes tumors, arthritis, spinal stenosis and multiple sclerosis.

Damages From Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries frequently require expensive medical treatment and extended care. Chiropractic Care, Physical Therapy, Pain Management, Injections, Multiple surgeries or ongoing therapeutic and rehabilitative therapy may be necessary to get back on your feet. These treatments often require patients to take extended time off work and may require the continued assistance of a loved one or nursing assistant to to heal from the injury fully. Because spinal injuries often result from major accidents, there are usually multiple parties involved, and negligence is nearly always a factor. A distracted motorist, irresponsible corporation or careless property owner may be required to shoulder the costs of your initial treatment and resulting physical and psychological harm. As such, spinal injury victims should work with experienced injury lawyers to recover for their losses. A Los Angeles spinal injury attorney can conduct a thorough investigation and initiate an efficient legal process for recovery. 

A lawyer may help you recover:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of Earnings
  • Out of Pocket Expenses
  • Property Damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death
  • Psychological treatment

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal injuries can occur in several different ways and have a variety of impacts, depending on the circumstances. They affect different areas of the spine based on where the injury occurs. The higher up on the spine that the damage takes place, the more severe it is likely to be.

  • Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries - These injuries occur toward the top of the spinal cord, near the head and neck. Cervical injuries commonly result in chronic pain, numbness, tingling sensation and possibly paralysis. 
  • Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries - The hips and legs are primarily impacted in these types of spinal injuries. The lumbar is the lowest significant portion of the spinal cord and features the largest vertebrae because it carries the most substantial weight. 
  • Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries - These injuries affect the upper and middle part of the spine. The nerves in this part of the spine column primarily control balance, posture and stability, including through the abdomen and back. 
  • Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries - The sacral section of the spine is located above the tailbone and below the lumbar. Sacral spine injuries may impair the ability to control bowel and bladder functions, but do not typically impair the ability to walk.

No matter where the injury occurs, spinal damage is typically divided into two categories: 

  1. Complete spinal cord injuries
  2. Incomplete spinal cord injuries

A person who suffers from an incomplete injury retains at least some function below the injury. That means that there is still some movement in the limbs and/or sensation in the spine, even if it is minimal. Complete injuries are those in which a person experiences a total loss of sensation and motor function below the spot of the injury.

Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries

No matter the cause, spinal cord damage is a serious injury that often comes with lasting and life-altering impacts, which is why it’s critical to consult with a Los Angeles spinal injury attorney.

The spinal cord plays a key role in motor function and balance, sending messages through the nerves from the brain to the limbs and other parts of the body. Those messages control body movement and sensory signals, like pain, pressure, heat and cold. Spinal injuries damage nerve fibers, limiting the ability to send these messages.

In some cases, a spinal cord injury can result in partial or full paralysis. In those situations, nerve damage causes a person to lose strength and control over parts or all of the body. Paralysis can occur in any part of the body. It can be localized - affecting just that part of the body, like the face, hands, feet or vocal cords - or generalized, limiting control of a larger area.

Spinal cord injuries can have a wide range of temporary and permanent effects, which includes limiting the following bodily functions, either individually or in various combinations:

  • Bladder and bowel control
  • Breathing
  • Blood circulation
  • Skin sensation
  • Muscle tone
  • Sexual functioning

These injuries are also often accompanied by pain - not to mention the mental and emotional impact of a spinal cord injury. Many people who suffer these injuries also grapple with depression, which is due to the significant physical pain and coming to grips with the long-term impact of the injury. It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced mental health professional.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

The symptoms of spinal cord injuries vary, but they often track many of the most common effects of spine damage. That includes losing control or feeling in all or some of the limbs.

The following may be signs of a spinal cord injury:

  • Inability to move part or all of the body
  • Loss of sensation or altered sensations
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Spasms, exaggerated reflexes
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Pain
  • Severe weakness
  • Breathing trouble

Anyone who experiences one or more of these symptoms should seek immediate medical treatment and consult with a Los Angeles spinal injury attorney. In situations in which the symptoms seem mild, delaying treatment can cause additional damage. That is particularly true for spinal injuries as internal bleeding may further damage the spine over time.

Perhaps the most important thing to do if you think you may have suffered a spine injury is not to move, which can make the injury worse and cause partial or full paralysis. Stay as still as possible and have someone contact emergency medical services.

Work With a Los Angeles Spinal Injury Attorney to Receive Compensation 

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident resulting in a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and your pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help. You need a Los Angeles spinal injury attorney who understands the physical and emotional pain you are experiencing, and able to counsel you through the cumbersome legal process.

Contact our attorneys today and receive a free consultation. You may be able to recover damages that will enable you to lead a happier and productive life.

© 2020 Banafshe Law Firm, PC.