Spinal cord injuries are among the most frightening and debilitating injuries a person can suffer. These injuries interrupt the communication between the body and brain and are devastating on an emotional, physical, and financial level. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, we urge you to contact our Cleveland spinal cord injury attorneys right away.
Depending on the type of injury, the estimated lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury range from over $1.6 million to over $5.5 million. That is why it is crucial to have an experienced spinal cord injury attorney who can properly assess your damages and fight aggressively to obtain a full recovery. At Slater & Zurz, we have extensive experience handling spinal cord injury and other personal injury matters and have earned an unparalleled track record of success. We understand what is at stake for our clients and stop at nothing to obtain the justice they deserve.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury or SCI is damage to the nerve fibers that send and receive signals between the brain and the rest of the body. These injuries can be caused by a direct injury to the spinal cord or damage to the vertebrae or tissue that surround it. A spinal cord injury generally results in temporary or permanent changes in movement, sensation, strength, and body function below the damaged area. Injuries that cause little damage may result in an almost full recovery. In contrast, injuries that cause significant damage often cause complete, permanent paralysis of the area below the injured portion of the spinal cord.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
It is estimated that nearly 18,000 spinal cord injuries occur each year. Many of those injuries are caused by accidents that were not the victim’s fault, meaning he or she has the right to seek compensation from the responsible party. Below are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries.
- Traffic accidents, including car, truck, and motorcycle crashes
- Accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians
- Slip and fall accidents
- Acts of violence
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Construction and other workplace accidents
- Sports and recreational activities
How Spinal Cord Injuries are Diagnosed
The effects of a spinal cord injury are generally not clear at first, so a complete medical evaluation is needed to accurately diagnose and appropriately treat the injury. This process begins with a physical exam and diagnostic tests. The doctor will want to know how the accident happened and the patient’s medical history. Then he or she will order tests, such as:
- X-rays – Medical professionals will typically order these tests when they suspect a patient may have a spinal cord injury. X-rays can show damage to the spinal column (vertebrae), fractures, or degeneration of the spine or vertebrae.
- Computed tomography scan (also called a CAT or CT scan) – CT scans can provide a more in-depth look at abnormalities that may or may not be seen on an X-ray. Computers are used to form a series of cross-sectional images that can identify bone, disc, or spinal cord problems.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – During an MRI, magnetic fields and radio waves are used to produce computer-generated images to identify blood clots, herniated discs, and other issues that may compress the spinal cord.
Life After a Spinal Cord Injury
Learning you have sustained a spinal cord injury is a life-changing moment. Having a disability can be frightening and overwhelming and adapting to your new way of life may be a challenge at first. But it is important to remember that recovering from a catastrophic, life-changing event will take time and require your unwavering commitment and the support of family and friends. Below are some helpful tips to help you cope with the effects of your spinal cord injury.
- Understand the grieving process – The grieving process is a normal and healthy part of your recovery. Most injured individuals experience the five stages of grief – denial, sadness, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. However, if your grief is affecting your care, causing you to isolate yourself, or abuse drugs or alcohol, it is crucial to seek help from a mental health professional.
- Be patient – Following a spinal cord injury, you will likely not be able to do many of the things you did before the accident, which can be frustrating at times. It is important to be patient and allow yourself time to adjust to your new reality.
- Remember that all spinal cord injuries are different – No two spinal cord injuries are the same. Therefore, it is essential not to compare your injury – or your recovery – to others who have suffered an SCI.
- Accept help – After a debilitating injury, it is normal to need help. This includes needing assistance with your daily tasks and staying mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
- Stay positive – Maintaining a positive attitude is an essential tip. A positive outlook will help you heal emotionally and play a key role in your physical recovery as well.
- Set goals – Before your injury, you likely had many plans and goals. Suffering a spinal cord injury does not necessarily mean these plans and goals are no longer a possibility. Revise existing goals or create new ones and work toward achieving them.
- Stay active – Living an active lifestyle not only has a positive impact on your physical health but also aids in improving or maintaining your mental and emotional well-being.
How a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Can Help
Seeking compensation after a devastating injury can be a stressful process. However, you do not have to go through this process by yourself. Our spinal cord injury lawyers in Cleveland can assist with every aspect of the process while you focus on healing as fully as possible and adapting to your new way of life. A qualified attorney at Slater & Zurz can assist you with your Ohio spinal cord injury case by:
- Being there to answer your questions and concerns
- Ensuring you receive proper medical and psychological care
- Keeping you apprised of any developments in your case
- Closely working with a team of medical and financial professionals to fully identify the nature and extent of your injury and assess your past and future damages
- Building a strong, compelling argument for full and fair compensation
- Negotiating skillfully with the defendant and their insurance company on your behalf
- Effectively representing your best interests in court, if necessary
- Continuing to be there for you and your family even after your case is successfully resolved
Our legal team truly cares about you and your family’s well-being. That is why we will work hard to get you the justice and financial recovery you need and deserve.
The signs and symptoms of an SCI vary greatly. The location of the damage determines the parts of the body affected and how severe the symptoms are. However, spinal cord injuries of any kind can result in one or more of the following symptoms:
- Temporary or permanent paralysis
- Difficulty breathing
- Exaggerated reflexes or spasms
- Loss of bowel and bladder function
- Changes in sexual function
- Pain or intense stinging sensation
- Difficulty balancing and walking
An incomplete spinal cord injury means that the brain is still able to send and receive messages to and from parts of the body, meaning that there is some sensation and movement beneath the site of the injury.
A complete spinal cord injury refers to a complete lack of sensory and motor function below the area where the trauma occurred.
The compensation you are entitled to depends on the extent and nature of your spinal cord injury and the circumstances of your accident. However, recoverable damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitation and psychological therapy
- Costs of home and vehicle modifications
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Speak with a Qualified Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Cleveland
If you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury, we can help. A seasoned spinal cord injury attorney at Slater & Zurz can successfully handle every step of the legal process, from identifying fault to securing maximum compensation for your injury. After suffering a catastrophic injury, you need competent and compassionate legal representation. Our attorneys not only know how to skillfully handle every aspect of your spinal cord injury case but have the determination and resources to fight relentlessly on your behalf. To learn more, we welcome you