Spine injuries can occur in a variety of ways, however they usually all stem from some form of a traumatic accident. The most common type of accident that causes spine injuries is motor vehicle related. The spine becomes injured when the head is violently jerked backward or forward or when the head comes into contact with an immovable object. Other factors that can lead to spine injuries include: falls, sports accidents, physical violence (such as gun shots), and certain types of medically related conditions. Spine injuries can vary a great deal in severity. The spinal cord can be, but is not always, damaged in this type of injury.
Typically, most spine injuries involve damage to the vertebrae (the bones of the spine), and may result in fractures or sprains to the bones of the spinal column. A spine injury may also include damage to the ligaments or muscles of the spine area. Treatment for a spine injury can vary just as much as the type of injury itself. Some people who suffer from this condition are able to recover without the need of extensive medical care, if their condition is listed as stable. The patient may require a period of immobilization, the use of a neck or back brace, and ample time to adequately heal. Other patients may require surgery to help re-stabilize the spine. If left untreated, or if not properly treated, an improperly stabilized spine can lead to many other issues such as deformity, chronic pain, and even loss of use or dysfunction of some extremities.
Other types of spine injuries can be much more severe, especially when there is damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord extends from the base of the head all the way to the pelvic region, and is protected by the vertebral column. The spinal cord is extremely important as its function is to transmit messages from the brain to the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is damaged, a person may become paralyzed, may have difficulty with cognitive functions, and could even die. Paralysis levels can differ, and can be either incomplete or complete. Incomplete paralysis means that the patient has some degree of feeling and function to the extremities, while complete paralysis mean there is no feeling or function.
A spine injury that results in damage to the spinal cord and paralysis can be known as paraplegia or quadriplegia. Paraplegia means that the lower extremities and some, or all, of the “trunk” of the body are no longer functioning. Quadriplegia means that both the upper and lower extremities and the trunk area are no longer functioning. Loss of control of bodily functions, difficulty breathing, difficulty regulating heart rate and blood pressure, and lack of control of body temperature can all result. Furthermore, victims may lose the ability to eat on their own, to bathe themselves, and perform even the most basic tasks.
Complete recovery from a spine injury that involves the spinal cord is rare. That being said, some patients do improve somewhat through certain types of extensive rehabilitation programs. This type of therapy is often quite difficult, and can be quite expensive as it involves a team of professionals who specialize in spine injuries.
A spine injury is devastating on so many different levels. The physical and emotional pain and suffering, is just the beginning. The hardships continue well beyond the body as the financial blow wreaks further havoc. Mounting medical bills, followed by the loss of income from no longer being able to work can leave entire families feeling helpless.
To make matters worse, most people who suffer a spine injury often do so as a result of a careless or negligent act on the part of someone else. When this is the case, victims may be able to seek compensation for their damages as a means to help restore their lives. The best course of action that you, or the affected party(ies), can take is to contact a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in spine injuries.
This type of attorney will be able to examine your case and help you to determine what your legal rights and options are for both your present and your future. It is very important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. This will help to build your case from the beginning and it will ensure all proper paths are taken.
Damages that can be sought include compensation for current medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and all future care expenses. An attorney will take a comprehensive approach to your case, and can help get you the justice you deserve. He or she will work closely with your doctors, professional specialists, and any other people involved in your care. He or she will also deal directly with insurance companies, as well as the other parties involved in the case in an effort to negotiate a beneficial settlement.
Moving forward after a traumatic accident can be extremely difficult. If your loved one lost his or her life from their spine injury, it is even more difficult. An attorney can still be a valuable asset to help you recover damages. While he or she can never replace your loved one, financial compensation can be recovered to help relieve some of the financial burden you have been left with. This settlement does not put a price on your family member, but does strive to pay medical expenses, and compensate for lost future earnings.