Permanent spinal injury calls for a long-term plan
A spinal cord injury is a life-altering event. Most spinal cord injuries cause permanent disability, paralysis or loss of sensation below the site of the injury. A spinal cord injury is almost always a catastrophic injury that inexplicably alters one’s life and costs an extensive amount of money in order to obtain the rehabilitation services. While many of these injuries are attributable to motor vehicle accidents, they can also occur due to negligence in the workplace or on business premises, for example, in construction site accidents.
A spinal cord injury is not always apparent. Sometimes those who are injured experience symptoms that appear gradually, as swelling occurs in or around the spinal cord. That is why great precaution should always be exercised when transporting anyone who may have sustained an injury to the spine. Severe injury can be caused by the negligence of another person—whether directly due to the accident, or by worsening the injury while attempting to move the victim, or not receiving the appropriate medical treatment soon enough.
It is extremely important for those who have sustained a spinal cord injury to receive the best medical treatment. It is also essential to retain counsel by attorneys experienced in complex, catastrophic personal injury cases—attorneys who completely understand the extensive long-term support and rehabilitation that will be required for their client.
If you have incurred a spinal cord injury as the result of someone else’s negligence in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. is here to help you. Our firm focuses on complex catastrophic personal injury law, and what it takes to properly address medical bills, wage loss, physical therapy and rehabilitation costs, as well as pain and suffering.
The Process of a Spinal Cord Injury
Most spinal cord injuries are caused by a sudden and traumatic blow to the spine, which then leads to vertebrae getting fractured or dislocated. The source of the injury is typically right where bone is initially fragmented or spinal cord tissue damaged, although most injuries can damage but not completely sever the spinal cord.
Because the nerve cells which carry signals up and down the spine between the brain and the rest of the body rely on the spinal cord to be intact and healthy, these injuries will typically damage your body’s ability to properly carry these signals, sometimes even resulting in complete paralysis.
Complete or Incomplete?
Most spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete (based upon whether or not the spinal cord can still send messages to or from the brain). Those with incomplete injuries still have some sensory function below the injury; those with a complete spinal cord injury typically do not.
Other Medical Complications
Other medical complications that can arise from spinal cord injuries sometimes include:
- Chronic pain;
- Bladder and/or bowel dysfunction;
- Increased susceptibility to heart problems; and
- Increased susceptibility to respiratory problems.
Unlike some other accident-related injuries, care for spinal cord injuries typically always requires aggressive rehabilitation in order to minimize overall damage to the nervous system and restore some of the abilities that have been impaired. Some of those with the injury—particularly near the neck area—will also experience respiratory complications and require breathing support. Others may need assistance restoring bladder function and/or arm/leg movements—all based on the specific type of spinal cord injury.
Under Pennsylvania law, any victim is entitled to bring an action to recover damages for negligence that resulted in injury or death to a person, even if that victim was in any way partially responsible for the accident, as long as the victim’s negligence was not greater than the party they are bringing an action under (42 Pa C.S.A. §7102, et seq.). Negligence is a general claim, covering incidents ranging from car accidents, to nursing home neglect, to severe spinal cord injuries that result from, for example, falling or getting injured by an object at a construction site. However, a certain level of skill and experience is desirable in any attorney who works on a spinal cord case, in part due to the investigations, experts, witnesses, and evidence that is involved in these types of cases.
In a spinal cord injury case, the compensation that you are entitled to depends upon the nature of the accident, injury, medical bills, and how it affects your work and life and family. In addition, when insurance companies are involved, claims can get more complicated precisely because spinal cord injuries can involve such high medical and rehabilitation expenses.
Choosing a law firm experienced in spinal cord injuries may be the most important decision of your life.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury (or wrongful death related to a catastrophic injury such as this), we have extensive experience handling spinal cord injury cases and will help you explore your legal options. Our attorneys assess the full range of needs of spinal cord injury victims, including past and future medical bills, adaptive equipment, adapted living quarters and other expenses. Contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. today for a free consultation. We have offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.