Injuries to the neck and back are some of the most severe injuries people face in accidents. Whether you were injured in a car accident, slip and fall, work accident, construction accident, or any other accident, your spinal cord injury may entitle you to compensation.
The spinal cord is one of the most important systems in your body, and injury to it can affect multiple other systems and body functions. In the worst cases, injury to the spinal cord can leave victims wheelchair-bound and unable to take care of themselves. This means facing extreme medical costs, plus home care and changes in lifestyle.
Taking your case to a personal injury lawyer might be the only way to get all of the compensation you deserve. The lawyers of Bennett and Heyman, P.A., have been practicing law for a total of close to 70 years and have seen clients through some of the hardest times in their life, and helped them get what they needed, financially, to get better. Call us today to see if we can do the same for you.
How Do Spinal Injuries Work?
The spinal cord is the name of a bundle of nerves that runs from your brain, down through your spine, and connects to the rest of your body. Your spinal column is made up of a series of hollow, tube-like bones called “vertebrae” (singular: vertebra). Each vertebra is connected to the next by a round pad of tissue called a “disc.” The spinal cord is protected by these bones and the padded tissue, which allows the bones to move without damaging the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves. Nerves are made of the same sort of cells as your brain, and are responsible for carrying electrical signals from one part of the body to another. Unfortunately, unlike skin cells, muscle cells, and bone cells, nerve cells are not good at repairing themselves. This means that damage to nerves like those in the spinal cord does not heal.
When you suffer a strong blow to the back or neck, it might break your vertebrae. This leaves the spinal cord exposed, and at risk for damage. In other cases, the vertebrae may be put out of alignment. That means that instead of the tubes lining up to allow the spinal cord to pass through, the bones themselves pinch the spinal cord.
Injury to the spinal cord can prevent it from passing signals between your brain and the rest of your body. When the nerves are pinched, like crimping a garden hose, the flow of signals can be cut off. Sometimes, this kind of injury does not cause permanent damage and can be reversed with surgery and physical therapy. In these cases, though, back pain, pins-and-needles sensations, or frequent numbness may still bother victims for the rest of their lives.
In the worst cases, the spinal cord is severed entirely or damaged so badly that signals no longer pass through it. In these cases, the victim usually loses all feeling and control of their body below the injury.
Because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body, any injury cuts off the signals below that point of injury. That means that the higher up your back and neck an injury occurs, the more of your body is at risk for paralysis. Injuries to the lower back may cut off all signals to your legs, leaving you wheelchair-bound, but might not affect your arms or upper body at all. Injuries to the neck can leave people’s entire bodies paralyzed, forcing them to rely upon breathing machines and feeding tubes, but might not affect their minds.
Compensation for Spinal Injuries
Because spinal cord injuries can cause such severe consequences, the costs associated with recovering from or treating these injuries are extremely high.
Even when an injury is reversible, the process is often very long, very expensive, and very painful. When the injuries are not reversible, they can require drastic life changes.
The pain from the injury itself, as well as the pain from recovery, is all part of a class of recoverable damages known as “pain and suffering.” Courts will order responsible parties to pay injured parties money to make up for the physical pan and mental anguish the injuries cause. While money cannot actually make up for the injuries or allow people to walk again, it can still help. Unfortunately, in Maryland, these damages are limited by a legal “cap.” To understand what your limit is, talk to an attorney.
The cost of surgery, ambulance transportation, wheelchairs, and other medical care and equipment can be expensive. All of these expenses should be recoverable against the parties who caused the accident. In a case where someone is able to recover from their injuries, the physical and occupational therapy may last for years and cost thousands of dollars.
The cost of lifestyle changes associated with paralysis and the need to use a wheelchair are also extremely expensive. Handicap-accessible vehicles, ramps, and wheelchairs themselves all cost money. The training and physical therapy can still be expensive and drawn-out. Additionally, home care will likely be necessary. This might mean that a spouse needs to spend more time at home or that home-care nurses need to be hired to help victims live a normal life. All of these expenses can be recovered from the responsible parties.
Finally, many spinal injuries require missing work, or prevent people from returning to work. Whether you can no longer work or were required to take a different, lower-paying job, you can recover those future lost wages on top of any wages you missed while recovering.
Talk to An Experienced Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney Today
The attorneys at Bennett and Heyman are always looking for new clients that they can help recover for the injuries they received in an accident. If you or a loved one is suffering from a spinal cord injury due to an accident in Baltimore, Maryland, contact us about your case. Our phone number is (410) 429-7856, and our lawyers are available for a personal, free consultation. Call as soon as you can; your case may have important deadlines to file or else risk being unable to recover.