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Atlanta Spine Injury Attorneys
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most serious injuries that a person can sustain. In some cases, a spinal cord injury may leave a person completely paralyzed below the point of the injury. In other, less serious cases, victims may have limited mobility and may not regain full function of the affected area. People who are affected by these types of injuries can often incur significant medical expenses and also suffer a significantly decreased quality of life. As a result, it is extremely important for anyone who has sustained a spinal cord injury to discuss their case with an experienced lawyer. The attorneys at Shane Smith Law are dedicated to helping spinal cord injury victims recover for their losses, and work tirelessly to ensure that their clients get the maximum amount of compensation possible.
What Kinds of Accidents Cause Spinal Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries can happen while doing almost any activity, and sometimes occur in the absence of fault. Some common examples of spinal injuries that could be the result of someone else’s negligence include:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sports accidents
- Premises liability accidents
There are many other ways that a spine injury could be the result of negligence, and an experienced attorney can help you decide how best to proceed. After a spinal cord injury, it is essential that victims seek medical attention immediately. With many spinal injuries, early medical intervention is extremely important to the overall outcome of the injury. Finally, be sure to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as any delay may jeopardize your ability to recover.
Signs of Spinal Cord Injuries
Some common signs of spinal injury include:
- Inability to move parts of the body
These are just some of the potential signs of spinal injury, and it is important to have your injury evaluated by a medical professional.
What To Do After a Spinal Cord Injury
To help your chances of winning a spinal injury case, there are certain steps you should take following the injury. Some of these steps include:
- Seek medical help immediately—Spinal cord injuries require stabilization in order to prevent further damage and try to avoid partial or complete paralysis. You may also require surgery or other treatments to try to limit symptoms or effects of your injury. Medical records may further serve as evidence of the extent of your injury in an subsequent court case.
- Document information—As soon as you are able, you want to make any notes or records of your version of events regarding your accident and injury, any dangerous or hazardous conditions involved, and any possible witnesses. Documenting this information can help you retain memory of the details since legal actions may be lengthy.
- Contact a PI attorney—Even if you do not believe your injury is severe or life-threatening, you are still likely facing bills and expenses from medical examinations and other appointments. IN order to make sure you get properly reimbursed for all of your losses, you should call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss a potential legal claim. Even if you do not file a legal claim, a lawyer can assist you in communicating with insurance companies to make sure you get the settlement you deserve.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?
Some of the potential long-term effects of a spinal cord injury are:
- Inability to control bowel or bladder functions
- Sudden spasms
- Weakness or numbness in limbs
- Persistent pain
- Loss of mobility
- Cardiac problems
- Respiratory problems
- Loss of sensation in the skin
Pursue Compensation Today
No matter how severe your spinal injury was, you deserve to receive proper compensation for any related losses if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligent actions. An experienced spinal injury lawyer at Shane Smith Law can help you receive the settlement you deserve.
Depending on the location and type of spinal cord injury, a person may end up completely or partially paralyzed, undergo multiple surgeries, or at the very least face extensive rehabilitation.
Complete vs. Incomplete
There are two main types of spinal injuries: complete and incomplete. Complete injuries result in the complete loss of movement or function in your body below the place of injury, because the spinal cord can no longer send signals past the point of injury. Incomplete spinal injuries occur when some feeling, sensation, or movement exists below the cord injury. Often, prompt medical diagnosis and treatment can stop incomplete injuries from accelerating to complete.
Doctors will usually have to fully stabilize the spinal cord and stop any swelling around the spinal cord before they may understand the full extent of the injury and its complications or effects. This process often takes six to eight weeks.
Location-Specific Spinal Injuries
When classified by location, there are 4 different areas in which a spinal cord injury can take place:
- the neck (cervical injury)
- behind the chest (thoracic)
- the lower back (lumbar)
- the tailbone (sacral)
The most serious injuries are often those that are cervical, and cause quadriplegia, or total loss of arms and legs. The lower on the body that a spine injury takes place, the less of the body is affected overall.
There are two types of flexion fractures:
1. Compression fractures: In these fractures, the front of the vertebra breaks and loses height, but the back does not. Compression fractures may cause no symptoms at the time of the accident, but if not treated, the victim may notice moderate to severe back pain, loss of height, stooped posture, and significant nerve injury.
2. Axial burst fractures: The vertebra breaks and loses height on both sides.
Extension fractures are also called flexion/distraction fractures. In these injuries the vertebra is actually pulled apart. This commonly occurs in a head-on injury when the upper body is violently thrown forward, but the lower body is held in place by a seat belt. Sometimes these injuries are treated non-surgically; the victim must remain in a cast or brace for about 3 months. If the posterior ligaments of the spine are damaged or if the fracture falls through the discs of the spine, surgery is required. In either case, the accident victim must spend a significant amount of time recuperating and is unable to work or go about his daily activities.
Rotation fractures occur when the impact of an accident causes the spine to suddenly rotate. The most common type of rotation fracture is a fracture-dislocation. In a fracture-dislocation, a vertebra moves off the adjacent vertebra. Such an injury may cause serious spinal cord or nerve compression that leads to paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia. Fracture-dislocations are often associated with other serious injuries. Treatment often involves multiple surgeries. In cases where the spinal cord is seriously damaged, the victim may experience life-long paralysis.
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