As lawyers, we help our clients with some of the most difficult challenges of their lives. One of those is severe spinal injury. After a serious accident, whether a spinal injury results from a dive into a swimming pool with insufficient depth or a motor vehicle crash, an injury victim and his or her family faces huge hurdles. The number of spinal cord injuries in the United States is tracked by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama. According to their statistics, there are about 12,500 new cases of spinal cord injury each year and currently there are about 275,000 people dealing with this issue today. While medical researchers are making strides in the area of spinal cord injuries, these remain extremely challenging.
What is a spinal injury? Spinal cord injuries include those that harm a portion of the spinal cord itself. But this can also include the nerves that are at the base of the spinal canal. These devastating injuries impact a person’s life in significant ways, often making it difficult to earn the income that the person was once able to earn and live in the way the person is used to having lived in terms of mobility. But there is much that can be done with support and rehabilitation to ensure that a person who has suffered such an injury can return to independence.
There is also great variation in the symptoms of a spinal cord injury. The reason for this is the location of the injury to the spine and the severity of the injury. Some spinal injuries lead to the inability to move certain parts of the body such as limbs. This type of injury can include quadriplegia or paraplegia. Again, the nature of the injury will determine the extent of the symptoms and loss of neurological function. People who have sustained an injury to the spinal cord can have myriad symptoms and every person is different. The symptoms can span a wide range that includes loss of sensation to difficulty breathing. Other symptoms that indicate a spinal cord injury include such things as numbness and tingling in hands or feet or instability when walking. That is why it is so important to get the best medical support possible when a spinal injury has occurred.
The first area of recovery is rehabilitation which can go a long way to provide not only physical but emotional support to the injured. Usually this involves a group of experts from the medical team to therapists of various kinds, such as occupational and physical therapy. Social workers and psychologists are often also a part of this treatment. These programs often include basic therapies such as muscle strengthening and managing daily life with the use of “adaptive devices” that might include high tech innovations. Rehabilitation can be a long process, but with the advances in understanding these injuries, patients are able to adapt to their lives more readily that in the past.
Many areas of research are underway that involve the care and treatment of spinal cord injury. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is an excellent resource for learning more about this and for finding clinical trials. In a future post we will discuss the various types of research underway at this time.
Due to the nature of spinal cord injuries, those who have been harmed in this way need special legal and medical representation. This is a complex injury and the legal issues after an accident that has caused spinal injury requires a team that is equipped to handle such a case. Scholle Law has the expertise to take the burden off of the injured and family members. Choosing a legal team that will not only provide excellent legal representation, but can lead you to the best medical care, is key. Please contact us at Scholle Law for more information at no charge or fee as to how we can help.