Spinal cord injuries are one of the most devastating types of catastrophic injuries that a person can sustain. These injuries involve fractures, dislocations, severing, or other damage to the spinal cord, which can result in such conditions as partial paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia. How severely impacted the victim will be is generally based on the nature and severity of the damage incurred to the spine. Two types of spinal cord injuries may result, one is labeled incomplete and the other complete. An incomplete spinal cord injury means that some type of sensation or mobility may be available below the area of the injury. These types of injuries may result in a partial or full recovery of function. In a complete spinal cord injury, no recovery will occur; these injury victims will suffer immobility and loss of function below the damaged spinal cord for the rest of their lives.
Besides the initial trauma to the spinal cord, those with these injuries may also suffer other complications, such as neurogenic shock, respiratory problems, pneumonia, pulmonary problems, inflammation of the spine, and more. They may require intravenous fluids, surgeries, drugs to reduce swelling, and other intensive care treatment. Once stabilized, they will generally face a long recovery period involving extensive and continual rehabilitative treatment. Neurosurgeons, physical therapists, psychiatrists, and other medical specialists all may be required to help the injury victim recover or learn how to function in life with a permanent disability.
Spinal cord injuries are most often caused by car accidents in the United States, though other types of incidents may be the cause, such as workplace accidents, construction site accidents, sports injuries, gunshot wounds, falls, and criminal attacks.
Paraplegia is a common result of spinal cord injuries which involves partial or total paralysis of the lower extremities. The upper or lower region of the torso as well as the legs may experience loss of sensation and function. This will result in a loss of motor skills, sexual function, and control of one's bladder and bowels. The paraplegic will have sensation and use of his or her arms and hands.
Quadriplegia consists of paralysis of the body below the neck, meaning that both the arms and legs have a partial or total loss of sensation and mobility. Quadriplegics may develop difficulty breathing or have respiratory problems as well due to a loss of muscle control in the chest and torso. They also generally suffer from a loss of sexual function, bladder and bowel control.
These are very serious physical conditions that will forever change the quality of life for the individual involved. They may require personal assistance for the rest of their lives just to complete daily tasks, be unable to provide support for themselves or their families, and lose their independence due to their permanent disability.
The average hospital stay for a person who has sustained a spinal cord injury per The University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center is 15 days followed by 44 days of care in a rehabilitation unit. The average yearly expenses for a spinal cord injury patient are $198,000. These expenses increase with the severity of the injury.
Because of the staggering medical and personal assistance costs associated with these catastrophic injuries, those who are injured in such a way through the negligence or wrongdoing of others need and deserve maximum benefits from a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Those responsible for such injuries should be held liable for all of the damages incurred. Identifying the responsible parties in any claim or lawsuit is a vital task that our firm can perform in these cases, as well as preparing and documenting the claim, aggressively negotiating with the insurance company, or pursuing justice for the client through courtroom litigation. The Law Offices of Haleh Shekarchian has more than 20 years of proven results in helping spinal cord injury victims and all other injury victims in Southern California who have been hurt through negligence.