As previous posts on this blog have reported, motor vehicle accidents are far and away the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. Despite horror stories about sports-related injuries causing an athlete permanent paralysis, a Wilmington resident puts his mobility at risk every time he or she gets behind the wheel.
The reason that car accidents lead to serious spine injuries is that the human back and neck are not designed to sustain the power of an impact like what one experiences following a car accident, and no safety feature on a car can change this or mitigate the risk of a serious back injury completely.
More specifically, when a car accident happens, the back muscles and ligaments are put under a lot of immediate stress. Additionally, certain joints in the back also absorb most of the blow from the accident.
One serious type of injury which is all too common after a car accident is a fracture in the spine, which is in fact made up of several disc-shaped bones called vertebrae. A single vertebra can get compressed during a crash or can even get separated from each other as the seatbelt pulls on the victim’s lower body while the upper body moves forward. A broken vertebra can knick or even sever a person’s spinal cord, which can cause paralysis or other symptoms.
A person who suffers spinal cord injury during an accident will likely need extensive medical care and will also need rehabilitation, especially if they have been completely paralyzed in part or most of their bodies. They will also likely not be able to work for a very long time, assuming they are able to go back to work at all. These people will therefore need financial support, and they can get some of this sort by filing a personal injury action against the driver which caused the accident.
As a previous post on this blog discussed, although all spinal cord injuries are permanent since the spinal cord itself does not heal, not all such injuries will land a victim in a wheelchair. If the injury is in the lower back, a person may still be able to walk and do some of the things they used to do, although they could experience incontinence and difficulty walking without some sort of help.
While in some sense a Wilmington resident is probably relieved to walk away from an injury still being able to move all four limbs, in another sense, these injuries can be difficult to get full and fair compensation for since they aren’t the classic type of spinal cord injury, that is, the type that leads to paralysis.
As such, an insurance company or the public at large may have a tendency, even unconsciously, to minimize the injury and not see how it affects the professional and personal life of the victim. This is where the experienced attorneys at our law office can be of valuable assistance. Using a network of financial and medical experts and relying on our trial experience and knowledge of the law, we can help you give a clear picture of the full extent of your injuries, even when they do not include total paralysis.
While we obviously cannot promise a result in a given case, we have a track record of success in neck and back cases in which we were able to secure a noteworthy verdict for our client. We are up to the fight that often ensues after a victim claims compensation for injuries following neck or back trauma.
All spinal cord injuries could rightly be called “very serious,” and it is in fact a rare day when a person is able to walk away from a spinal cord injury and not experience some sort of permanent handicap which will affect the way the victim lives the rest of his or her life.
However, it is equally important to remember that not all spinal cord injuries will end in complete paralysis and, in some cases, a victim may not be completely immobile at all. The extent of the injury usually depends on where in the backbone the injury is located.
If the damage to the spinal cord is located closer to the head, a victim will likely suffer complete paralysis of all four limbs and may not even be able to breathe or swallow effectively. They will likely require constant medical attention and treatment for the rest of their lives.
An injury in the middle of the back will likely mean a person will be able to use his or her upper body but will have paralysis in the legs. While this type of victim might be able to function with some level of independence, obviously he or she will be dealing with a serious and permanent disability.
A person with an injury in the lower back, depending on the exact location of the injury and other circumstances, has a good chance of still being able to walk, although perhaps not terribly well. Incontinency may also be an issue, but, on the whole, the person may be able to continue performing all of their daily life functions and may even be able to return to work. Still, they will face several physical and emotional challenges since doing their daily tasks will be much more difficult.
The residents of Wilmington, Delaware know that spinal cord injuries are serious matters that people should try to avoid. A significant spinal cord injury can leave a person paralyzed, sometimes even from the neck down.
For almost anyone, being paralyzed will mean the loss of work and will most certainly require significant medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending on the extent of the paralysis, a person could need constant help performing daily life functions.
Although there is a lot of emphasis and news attention on spinal cord injuries that happen in connection with sports, less than 10 percent of spinal cord injuries are related to sporting events, with the most dangerous sport in this respect being high diving. To give a rough comparison, the number of spinal cord injuries due to sporting is only slightly higher than injuries related to surgical or other medical malpractice.
By far and away, the most common cause of spinal cord injuries is injuries related to automobile or other motor vehicle accidents. Auto and other accidents, including those involving motorcycles, ATVs and bicycles, account for well over one-third of spinal cord injuries. Falling, which includes common slips and falls, are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries, being related to almost 30 percent of them.
What this should tell Delaware residents is that many times, common acts of carelessness and thoughtlessness lead to spinal cord injuries. A negligent driver can easily leave a person paralyzed, as can a careless landowner who forgets to clean up ice and snow or otherwise does not take care to make his or her premises safe.
Wilmington residents and people who live in other part of Delaware most likely know that a spinal cord injury is a very serious matter. If someone’s spinal cord gets damaged significantly in an accident, then he or she may struggle to walk or even be able to move his or her arms and neck again. This will obviously affect their ability to go to work, do the activities they enjoy or even perform basic daily functions.
What some might not realize, however, is the economic impact of a spinal cord injury. In a sense, they are a special type of personal injury case. Even if the person or business responsible for the injury is willing to admit that their negligence caused the accident, there are often significant disputes about how much compensation is appropriate.
The trick in these sorts of cases is that the victim has to prove not only what the injury has cost them to the point a trial but also what the accident will cost them in the future, and for spinal cord injuries, costs are ongoing and generally quite expensive. The bills and losses can easily exceed millions of dollars, even for someone who was earning a relatively modest income.
The approach of our law office in spinal cord injury cases is to make absolutely sure we understand and have the evidence to effective communicate each and every way the injury affects our clients. We rely not only doctors but also on financial experts and “life-care planners” to accurately calculate exactly how much our clients need.
The days, weeks and months after a Delaware accident can seem like an eternity. For the accident victim, there is usually an endless “to-do” list related to the incident: medical appointments, meetings with one’s boss to determine how work aligns with rehabilitation, family and personal responsibilities that must still be maintained and meeting with a lawyer to seek legal advice.
For accident victims with spinal cord injuries (SCI), into all of this, victims must also fit rehabilitation. If one obtains compensation for injuries, recovery is more manageable. However, after receiving compensation, it is important to select the most appropriate rehab program for a person with SCI. An injury to the spinal cord can produce serious damage. Various types of rehabilitation is needed to ease the accident victim back into daily life.
How does one choose the best program? A good place to start is by doing one’s homework and asking plentiful questions. For example, some good questions to ask the rehab program may include finding out if the program is associated with a particular academic institution; how long the program has been in existence; what are the goals of the program; how the program is evaluated; and if there is a “report card” or similar metric for determining if the program has met its goals.
It may also be helpful to know how many new patients the program admits every year. Moreover, patients may benefit from having fellow patients with similar injuries, particularly those with cervical-level SCI since these are often medically complex. Finally, it can also serve a helpful purpose to inquire if the program has any certifications other recognitions for its key services.
To recover from a spinal cord injury, an accident victim often needs quite a bit of help — from friends, family, workplaces, attorneys and their medical rehabilitation team. For more information about compensation for negligence resulting in SCI, a victim or their family may speak with an attorney.
Source: ASIA-SpinalInjury.org, “Consumer Guidelines for SCI Rehabilitation,” accessed on Jan. 2, 2017
Last week’s post focused on truck accidents and the time it may take to recover from such an incident. Unfortunately, a negligent driver can be just about anyone — school bus drivers, truck drivers or everyday commuters. Just one moment of negligence can lead to serious injury. For accident victims with spinal cord injuries, that moment can change their lives forever.
After a devastating accident, victims and their families are likely to feel many different emotions. One such emotion may be anger or even rage directed at the negligent driver. While usually damaging accidents aren’t caused on purpose, carelessness can still be a terrible trait behind the wheel. It is possible to hold drivers accountable when their negligence has severely injured someone else.
Some of the most serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents are spinal injuries. These injuries can result in partial or full paralysis, requiring expensive medical treatment and, perhaps, lifelong care. Recovering compensation to pay for these costs can mean fighting with insurance companies and their highly-trained and well-paid lawyers. In this situation, it can be crucial to your success to have a skilled lawyer on your side.
The experienced accident attorneys at Murphy & Landon in Wilmington know what it takes to hold a negligent driver accountable. Whether going up against a truck company or aggressive defense attorneys, we can pursue compensation for damages, including those related to complex spinal cord injuries. We do not charge fees unless you recover compensation. For more information, see our auto accidents page.
People in Delaware who have suffered a spinal cord injury are likely to stay up-to-date on the latest news regarding the spinal cord injury research community. Recently, a report has been published that shows there may be renewed hope in combatting the often-debilitating effects of spinal cord injuries.
Those who undergo an injury to the spinal cord frequently suffer from numbness and varying degrees of paralysis. There may be many other effects of spinal cord injuries as well, such as bladder dysfunction and neuropathic pain. Scientists, though, have recently published research showing that human stem cells might be able to help alleviate these two symptoms of SCI.
Often, the problems caused by spinal cord injuries are due to the lack of GABA, a neurotransmitter, in the spinal cord. When embryonic stem cells are differentiated into certain other cells that produce GABA, neuropathic pain and bladder dysfunction may be lessened. Cells known as neural precursors were placed into the injured spinal cords of mice, and researchers observed that these cells became integrated into the spinal cords. The mice that had been treated in such a manner generally showed more bladder control and reduced sensitivity to pain.
Are stem cells the answer to human spinal cord injury? That remains to be seen, but research appears promising for the many accident victims who must cope with the reality of spinal cord injury, and the long-term medical care it requires every day.
For accident victims who have recently suffered a spinal cord injury, speaking with an attorney may help alleviate some of the fears of not knowing or understanding one’s legal options with regard to compensation.
Source: Science Daily, “Human Stem Cells Treat Spinal Cord Side Effects in Mice,” Oct. 3, 2016
According to a 2009 study, about one out of every 50 people in the U.S. lives with some form of paralysis. Paralysis, which is often caused by spinal cord injuries, is a very serious condition that can range from a single body part to a person’s entire physical form. Over 5.5 million people must cope with paralysis in some form, not only physically but also financially.
Paralysis originates in the central nervous system, and stroke is its leading cause. However, spinal cord injury is the second-leading cause of paralysis. The third leading cause of paralysis is multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, serious accidents such as those caused by cars and trucks can result in catastrophic injury for victims, including spinal cord injury and brain injury. Paralyzed accident victims and their families can obtain legal help and advice from an experienced Wilmington accident attorney.
Interestingly, according to research conducted by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, paralysis appears to be more prominent in households with lower incomes. About one-quarter of households containing people living with paralysis make less than $10,000 per year — this is compared to only about seven percent of households throughout the country. Overall, according to the Foundation’s research, spinal cord injuries cost over $40 billion each year.
All too often, those who are paralyzed in some way through the negligence of another, have to cope not only physically but also financially with the condition. Medical bills can be staggering for people who have monoplegia, quadriplegia or any of the other forms of paralysis. Adding to this burden is the massive cost of rehabilitation as well as the emotional toll of this often-devastating situation.
An experienced spinal cord injury attorney can help patients in the Wilmington area to address the costs of paralysis and confront the future directly and confidently. A consultation with a skilled attorney can offer answers and education as to the legal options for economic recovery.
Source: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, “Stats about Paralysis,” accessed Sep. 26, 2016
It probably comes as no surprise to many residents in Delaware that long-term medical care tends to be exorbitantly expensive. Even seeing a doctor for a simple check up can result in a large medical bill; however, for those with injuries to their spinal cord, their financial future can be incredibly uncertain. A skilled spinal cord injury attorney can help an accident victim reclaim their financial footing by obtaining compensation for damages.
Many spinal cord injuries are caused by devastating accidents. These often include car accidents, truck and motorcycle accidents, bicycling and pedestrian accidents as well as serious sports or recreation accidents. In any case, one’s post-accident recovery is often complex if the incident caused damage to the victim’s spinal cord.
Unlike a broken bone, for instance, a spinal cord injury can’t just be healed in a specific amount of time. The injured person usually has to relearn countless life skills, undergo extensive rehabilitation for an indefinite amount of time and receive long-term medical care.
The costs of this ongoing recovery tend to be immense, and spinal cord injury victims often face an uphill battle regarding the recovery of their finances after an accident. However, going to an attorney following such a severe accident can accomplish two objectives: it can give the victim an assertive, knowledgeable ally during a confusing time, and it can also begin the process of obtaining compensation for injury.
An accident caused by another person’s negligence, such as a truck accident caused by texting and driving, doesn’t have to become financially devastating as well as physically damaging. Delaware spinal cord injury attorneys Murphy & Landon have dealt with numerous complex personal injury cases in the past and are ready to thoroughly evaluate new clients’ unique circumstances.
In addition to our knowledgeable and skilled legal team, we our firm has access to resources such as economic experts, medical professionals and even life care planners who can provide a long-term outlook. By combining expertise with compassion and assertiveness, the Wilmington personal injury team offers accident victims renewed hope and reassurance.