Each year over 10,000 people in the United States suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI). Highly populated areas, such as California and Los Angeles, see a proportional number of these injuries each year. SCI is any damage to the spinal cord that results in loss of function or mobility and can include whiplash, bulging discs, or far more serious injury. SCI can be caused by disease or trauma and often results in temporary or permanent loss of movement (paralysis), loss of sensation, or loss of bowel or bladder control. The number one cause of SCI is automobile accidents, but a data also shows a steady increase in violence-related injuries. Severe falls and sports accidents have caused a fair share of SCI’s each year. The spine and spinal cord together form the structural lynchpin of the skeleton and the main avenue of communication for the central nervous system. SCIs can be some of the most devastating physical injuries and, legally, it is well within your rights to seek compensation for such an injury caused by the action or inaction of another. The first step in this process is contacting an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer.
There are two types of SCI’s: complete and incomplete. A complete injury means that the injured person is entirely without sensation and voluntary motor movement on both sides of the body below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury leaves the individual with partial or limited feeling and/or movement.
SC Injuries are usually defined with reference to the area of the spine affected. Nerves in the spine are defined by vertebrae. A spine injury in the neck area will affect the cervical vertebrae and nerves, in the upper back the thoracic vertebrae, in the lower back, the lumbar. A vertebrae is usually referred to with a letter and a number: C-5 is the fifth cervical, T-1 the first thoracic, L-4 the fourth lumbar.
Because the nerves of the spinal cord branch out to their attendant muscles as they pass down the back, the high the injury, the more potential for damage. At their most extreme, SCIs have the potential to entirely sever nerve activity below the point of injury. So neck injuries have the potential to produce quadriplegia, “four limbs,” paralysis of arms and legs. Thoracic injuries, typically below the level of the arms, can cause paraplegia, “two limbs” or paralysis of the lower limbs only. Any combination of full or partial sensation and mobility is possible, depending on the severity of the injury. For example, an incomplete cervical injury can leave an individual with limited hand use, while a complete injury at C-4 may require the injured party to use a ventilator. Thoracic injuries allow arm usage but interfere with walking, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function. Some other affected body parts can be: blood pressure, body temperature, and pain levels.
SCIs usually cause the spinal cord to swell, which affects the entire body. Once the swelling has subsided, the victim may regain some of the regular function they once had. It is possible to gain full functionality back, but may take months or years to achieve. The current treatment for spinal cord injuries involves stabilizing broken vertebrae, maintaining the patient, preventing movement to the injured area, and reducing the swelling. Spinal cord injuries do not currently have a cure, but stem cell research has shown possibilities for a cure in the future.
Because of the severe nature of these injuries, they should be taken very seriously. In the event that you or a loved one feels that legal action is justified as a result of a SCI, contact an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury attorney to assess your case.
If you or someone you love is in need of legal assistance, call Sheridan & Rund at 310-640-1200, toll free at 888-640-6789, or contact us online. Our initial spinal cord consultation is absolutely free, and if our firm agrees to handle your case, our Los Angeles spinal cord attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. You pay nothing out of pocket until our firm retrieves the compensation you deserve. It is imperative you contact our firm today because a lawsuit must be filed before the legal expiration date known as the statute of limitations. Please call Los Angeles attorneys Sheridan & Rund immediately to ensure you are rightfully compensated the money you deserve.