Each year, as many as half a million people suffer from a spinal cord injury. These are catastrophic injuries that often have lifetime consequences for victims and their families.

Sadly, most spinal cord injuries are preventable, meaning you are now faced with a life-altering event that didn’t have to occur if someone had exercised the proper degree of care. In fact, roughly half of all spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle accidents.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a spinal cord injury, the capable personal injury attorneys at Schilling & Esposito have the legal experience to help you obtain fair compensation. Our dedicated catastrophic injury attorneys provide each client with knowledgeable and personalized representation.

The Function of Your Body’s Spinal Cord

Your spinal cord is a bundle of essential nerves that travels from the bottom of your spine up to the base of your brain.

There are thirty-one sets of nerves that branch out from your spinal cord, which are used to control various bodily functions. These nerves are responsible for controlling your arms, legs, abdomen, chest, and some vital organs.

Your spinal cord regulates your body’s heart rate, breathing, and internal temperature. It is also responsible for sensations and bladder and bowel control.

The body’s spinal cord runs through the spinal canal, which is encased by the spine’s vertebrae. These cervical (neck), thoracic (chest), and lumbar (back) vertebrae make up the spinal column that helps protect your spinal cord.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) usually occur when there is a trauma or forceful blow that fractures or dislocates the surrounding vertebrae. Most spinal cord injuries do not involve the severing of the spinal cord. Instead, pieces of vertebrae might compress or tear portions of the spinal cord, causing severe injury, pain, and disability.

If the SCI is considered complete, there is a loss of communication along the spinal cord, which results in paralysis. An incomplete SCI can still be severe, but there will remain movement and sensation after the injury.

Unfortunately, the spinal cord cannot repair itself, so injuries are considered permanent. Receiving a diagnosis of a spinal cord injury can be devastating for an accident victim and their family.

Some of the common symptoms and complications associated with SCI include:

  • Loss of mobility

  • Loss of sensation

  • Pain

  • Impaired breathing

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

  • Blood clots and high blood pressure

  • Muscle atrophy

  • Spastic or flaccid muscles

  • Loss of sexual function

  • Psychological issues such as depression

Spinal Cord Injuries – What Are the Common Causes?

If you have been involved in any type of severe accident, a spinal cord injury is a possibility. The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are four common causes of these tragic injuries in the U.S.

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents. Approximately half of all SCIs are the result of a motor vehicle accident, making it the leading cause of these catastrophic injuries. Studies reveal that the chance of an SCI is reduced by as much as 60% when wearing a seatbelt. That figure increases to 80% when a seatbelt is combined with an airbag.

  • About One-Quarter of All SCIs are Caused by Serious Falls. Falls are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries among people ages 65 and up. Otherwise, a dangerous fall and SCI could happen on the job.

  • Violent Acts. Another common cause of SCIs are violent acts such as knife and gunshot wounds. When a blade or bullet touches the spinal cord, it can result in irreversible damage.

  • Recreation and Sports Injuries. Recreational and athletic activities can also lead to severe SCIs. These can include shallow diving accidents and injuries from high-impact sports.

What Are Damages in a Spinal Cord Injury Case?

Spinal cord injuries will impact you physically and emotionally, and they can devastate you financially. Just the initial hospital care following one of these injuries can cost up to $150,000. In the first year alone, medical expenses could reach another $200,000. These costs don’t even consider the lifetime of medical care and the possible need for assistance due to permanent impairment.

Besides medical treatment, you may have also lost the ability to work. There is also pain and suffering to consider. If the party responsible for your accident was grossly negligent, there might be a possibility for punitive damages as well.

While no amount of money can make up for the impact that a spinal cord injury has on you and your loved ones, the law allows injured victims to seek compensation for their losses. If nothing else, a fair award will force the responsible party to step up and ease some of the financial burdens you will face.

Who is Responsible for Spinal Cord Injuries?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, the responsible party could vary. Some examples of possible at-fault parties in an SCI case include:

  • Another driver

  • An employer

  • A property owner

  • A maker or designer of a defective product

  • A healthcare provider

Spinal cord injury cases often involve substantial monetary compensation. There are significant losses for which you should be compensated. Unfortunately, an insurance company may disagree and try to undermine your case. Working with a qualified Virginia personal injury attorney will give you the best chance at collecting the compensation you need and deserve.

Speak With an Experienced Virginia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

The accident attorneys at Schilling & Esposito are experienced spinal cord injury lawyers who have successfully represented accident victims and their families who have had to deal with the effects of a spinal cord injury. In these serious cases, early action is vital for the thorough and proper pursuit of the responsible parties.

Our seasoned personal injury attorneys are prepared to aggressively represent your interests. If we are unable to negotiate a fair settlement, we are always ready to take your case to court to fight for every penny you deserve.

Contact our Richmond office now at 804-261-1001 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.