If you suffered a spinal cord injury or serious neck injury in an accident, it could turn your life upside down. Treating a spine injury can involve months of medical care and rehabilitation. You could face permanent disabilities that leave you unable to work or participate in activities you previously enjoyed.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve to seek justice for the harm you’ve suffered. Contact D. Michael Mullori, Jr., Attorney at Law for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how a Prince William County spinal cord injury lawyer could help. Mike Mullori will fight for money for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Since 1999, Mike has fought to protect the rights and interests of accident victims across Virginia. He strives to offer clients dedicated, personalized service. He limits his caseload to provide every client he represents with the time, energy, and resources their case deserves. With an exclusive focus on personal injury, Mike knows what it takes to stand up to insurance companies to demand the compensation and accountability you deserve.
Call Mike today for your free consultation.
What Are the Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Medical professionals classify spinal cord injuries into two categories: incomplete and complete. An incomplete spinal cord injury means the spinal cord has only partially severed. A person who has suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury will retain some feeling and function below the location of the injury. A complete spinal cord injury means the spinal cord has been entirely severed, cutting off all signals between the brain and nerves below the level of the injury.
Doctors also classify spinal cord injuries based on their location in the spinal column:
- A spinal cord injury located higher on the spinal column will affect more of the body.
- Lumbar spinal cord injuries occur in the lumbar region, the lowest spine region in the lower back and pelvis. These spinal cord injuries affect the legs and pelvic organs.
- Thoracic spinal cord injuries occur in the thoracic region, the middle part of the spine in the mid back. These injuries affect the legs, pelvis, abdomen, and potentially the chest.
- Cervical spinal cord injuries occur in the cervical region, the top region of the spine in the upper back and neck. These spinal cord injuries usually result in total body paralysis or quadriplegia.
What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury may cause various symptoms. These symptoms may occur immediately after an accident or may have a gradual onset in the hours or days following an accident. If you experience any of these symptoms after having an accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. Signs to watch out for include:
- Loss of movement/paralysis in any body part
- Loss of or altered feeling
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Spasms or exaggerated reflexes
- Severe pain or pressure in the head, neck, or back
- Weakness or incoordination
- Difficulty breathing or clearing the lungs
- Odd positioning or twisting of the neck or back
- Intense pain or stinging sensation along the spine
- Changes to sexual function or sensitivity
What Are Treatment Options for a Spinal Cord Injury?
Because current medicine cannot reverse damage from a spinal cord injury, treatment instead focuses on preventing further injury and helping spinal cord injury victims resume an active, independent life. Immediately following an accident, treatment for a spinal cord injury will focus on preventing further injury and maintaining a patient’s ability to breathe.
Doctors will immobilize the head, neck, and back to prevent movement that may worsen a spinal cord injury and may place patients who have trouble breathing on ventilators. Treatment may also include drugs to help with bladder and bowel movements and prevent respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Doctors may also perform surgery to repair fractured vertebrae, remove foreign objects, and install hardware to stabilize the spine.
After a spinal cord injury stabilizes, treatment shifts to ongoing care and rehabilitation to prevent secondary complications and help injured victims learn skills to resume an active life. Treatment may include medications for bone/muscle loss, muscle spasms, bladder and bowel issues, and circulatory problems. Patients will also undergo physical and occupational therapy to regain strength and range of motion or to learn physical adaptations to cope with disabilities. Patients may also receive assistive equipment like electric wheelchairs or electronic aids.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury can lead to permanent paralysis of various body parts. Changes to bodily functions can cause various long-term complications. Some of the long-term effects that a spinal cord injury victim may experience include:
- Changes to bladder control that increase the risk of urinary tract infections, kidney infections, or kidney stones
- Changes to bowel control that lead to constipation and related complications
- Increased risk of pressure ulcers/bedsores
- Circulatory issues that lead to dangerous increases or decreases in blood pressure or to an increased risk of blood clots
- Loss of bone density that increases the risk of fractures
- Loss of muscle tone or uncontrolled tightening of muscles
- Increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease due to a sedentary lifestyle from limited mobility
- Loss of sexual function, sensitivity, or fertility
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and depression caused by the life changes brought about by a spinal cord injury
What Compensation Can I Pursue for a Spinal Cord Injury?
When you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident caused by a careless or reckless party, you may have a legal claim to recover compensation for financial and personal losses you suffer, such as:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Long-term care expenses, including home health service, in-home nursing or rehabilitation, housekeeping assistance, or installation of disability accommodations
- Lost income during your recovery and loss of future earning capacity if disabilities prevent you from returning to your job or the workforce
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Reduced life expectancy
How Long Do I Have to File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit in Virginia?
Under Virginia’s statute of limitations, you usually have two years after getting injured to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit against the parties at fault for your injury and losses. If you file your lawsuit after the limitations period expires on your spine injury claim, you risk the court dismissing your case due to late filing. For this reason, you should speak with a Prince William County spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure you can file your spine injury case before the expiration of the applicable deadlines.