Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
There are as many as 450,000 people living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the United States and another 17,000 new cases each year. Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a wide variety of events including:
A spinal cord injury can be devastating for both the victim and their family. Suffering a spine or spinal cord injury may have lifelong consequences. The significant recovery time, medical intervention, and the care providers and devices that a spinal injury may necessitate may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For some, these expenses will be ongoing for life. For others, medical bills may be piling up while you recover enough to return to work.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury because of another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Illinois law allows successful claimants to recover damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement and disability, and loss of normal life. The experienced Chicago spinal cord injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can answer any questions you may have, explain your options, and help you pursue a claim for compensation.
Purpose of The Spinal Cord
The spinal cord runs from the brainstem to the lumbar region, and, along with the brain, comprises the central nervous system. The spinal cord transmits messages from your brain to the rest of your body. It’s responsible for motor control, reflex coordination, and transmitting sensory information from your body back to your brain. The spinal cord is encased in a series of vertebrae called the spine. The spine extends from your neck to your lower back. Damage to the spine and spinal cord can have life-long catastrophic consequences.
Common Injuries to the Spine
A spinal cord injury occurs when damage or trauma to the spinal cord results in loss or impaired function in mobility or sensation. The severity of a spinal cord injury and its resulting consequences depends largely on what part of the spinal cord was affected.
- Injury to the cervical vertebrae (neck) – Sprains or fractures to this region may result in pain, headache, numbness, and limited range of motion in the neck.
- Injury to the thoracic vertebrae (upper back) – A sprain or fracture in this region may result in permanent nerve damage.
- Injury to the lumbar vertebrae (lower back) – A sprain or fracture here may result in chronic pain and limited mobility.
- Injury to the sacral vertebrae (pelvis) – Damage to this area may result in function loss of hips and/or legs, reduced bladder or bowel control, lower back pain, and sensory issues.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, some sensory or motor function remains intact below the primary level of injury. A complete spinal cord injury results in a total loss of sensory or motor functions below the level of injury.
Damage to the spinal cord can result in:
- Paraplegia – Depending on where the spinal cord is damaged, and the severity of the injury, a loss of movement or sensation in the lower extremities may result. Paraplegics are often unable to walk or require assistive devices in order to walk. Because of nerve damage, paraplegia sufferers may also experience problems with the bowel, bladder, and sexual function.
- Quadriplegia – When damage is higher up on the spinal cord, paralysis of both upper and lower extremities may result. A quadriplegia sufferer will lose sensation and the ability to move their body anywhere below the injury site. Additionally, some quadriplegics are unable to breathe without assistance.
- Loss of sensation – When the spinal cord is not severed but is damaged, it may impair your body’s ability to send messages back and forth to the brain. This nerve damage may cause numbness, tingling, and pain throughout the body.
- Foot Drop – Some spinal cord injuries result in a form of paralysis that inhibits your ability to lift the front part of your foot. This results in limited mobility, and an assistive or corrective device is often necessary.
- Secondary Medical Complications – Because the spinal cord is so vital to so many bodily functions, injury to the spinal cord often results in secondary medical problems. People who have suffered a spinal cord injury may be at higher risk for infections, blood clots, bleeding, pneumonia, and spinal fluid leaks. Additionally, the lack of mobility of a paralytic injury brings with it many comorbidities, including pressure sores and diminished lung capacity.
- Death – In the most severe cases, spinal cord injuries can be fatal.
How a Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help
At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we have over a decade of experience representing accident victims including those who have suffered serious spinal cord injuries. We will fight to obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and be by your side through every step of the process. We understand how devastating a spinal cord injury can be and we are here to help shoulder the burden of pursuing a claim for compensation while you focus on rebuilding your life.