A serious accident can be damaging for your health and well-being, especially if it leads to a spinal cord injury. This type of injury can cause neck pain and minor sprains or disc and facet joint injuries.
Your spine consists of a series of vertebrae, divided into different categories. Spinal injuries are generally classified into two types: complete and incomplete. An incomplete injury would have a varying impact for two different people, for instance, they may suffer a different extent of paralysis. On the other hand, the effects of a complete or long-term spinal injury of the same kind are typically similar for everyone.
Different Types of Long-Term Spinal Injury
An incomplete spinal cord injury entails damage to the spinal cord nerves, with retaining some functions. On the contrary, in the case of a complete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord damage leads to the total loss of function in some parts of the body.
A spinal cord injury can result in the swelling of the spinal cord, impacting the entire body. In case of temporary injuries, you may regain some functions after a few days or weeks.
However, permanent injuries result in a complete loss of certain body functions, such as bladder or bowel dysfunction. Other consequences of a long-term spinal injury may include paralysis, low blood pressure, reduced regulation of body temperature, loss of control over blood pressure, or chronic pain.
Here are the three major traumatic spinal injuries:
This pertains to injuries to the C1 to C4 vertebrae. It impedes the ability to feel or move from the neck and below. A person suffering from high tetraplegia or total body paralysis requires assistance for breathing and bowel function. They also need help with performing daily tasks.
Patients with low tetraplegia suffer from injuries to the C5 to C8 vertebrae. They are able to partially move their elbows, shoulders, or hands. It is possible to breathe without assistance in this condition, but you would require help with bladder and bowel care. Patients with low tetraplegia may be unable to walk.
This refers to trauma to the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae. With paraplegia, the upper extremity movement usually remains unaffected, with the damage occurring below the waist. Patients may have to use assistive devices like walkers to walk short distances.
What Should I Do After Long-Term Spinal Injury?
A steady recovery from any serious injury requires immediate medical assistance. This should be the case even if your symptoms do not appear serious at first. It may take a while for your symptoms to become fully evident. If you do not go for medical help soon enough, it can be damaging for your health and restrict your legal options if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries.
For example, if you experience symptoms pointing towards a long-term spinal injury, such as tingling in your legs, arms, or neck, and you have not consulted a doctor after the incident, then the insurance company may argue that you are not eligible for compensation as your injury is not serious enough.
A doctor is likely to perform diagnostics, the results of which may prove to be vital evidence in your caser. To speed up your case, your specialist can start with documenting the injury along with any neck or back trauma during the very first visit. This way, our lawyer can begin working on your case immediately after your medical records are arranged.
Important Steps To Take
It may be wise not to reveal details about your spinal injury to your insurance provider before discussing it with your lawyer. In some cases, recorded statements and the information you relegate can be used against you to devalue or deny your case.
Here are some immediate steps you should take after a spinal cord injury:
- Document the incident by collecting as much information as possible. This includes clicking pictures of the scene, gathering contact information about witnesses, and noting details or evidence about the cause of the accident.
- In case an injury happened at your workplace, make sure you report the injury to a supervisor and file a claim with the WISB right away.
- Immediately opt for medical assistance, and make sure that the hospital records the injury and treatment. Moreover, ask your doctor to conduct a full-fledged examination to discover and record any extra injuries or developing symptoms. This is vital as spinal injuries tend to take time to manifest.
- Record how your and your family’s lives have been affected since the incident. This pertains to all the medical and caregiving costs that were incurred. It also encompasses all types of pain and suffering caused by the injuries, no matter how little, and any hindrance in performing daily life activities.
Damages in Long-Term Spinal Injury Cases
Long-term spinal injuries can significantly affect your physical and mental health. When your spinal cord gets damaged, it means that it is unable to convey messages to the brain properly. When the brain is unable to communicate with the body properly, there may be a loss of movement and sensation.
In case of a traumatic spinal cord injury, you may suffer from swelling or bruising around the spinal cord, which is known as ‘spinal shock’. This may lead to further damage to the spinal cord. Only when the swelling will subside will the full extent of the damage be apparent.
When you experience a moderate to severe spinal cord injury, damages may include:
- Medical bills and rehabilitation expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost ability to earn
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Emotional stress
- Mental health expenses
If you suffer from a long-term spinal injury due to an accident, it is crucial to consult a lawyer to gain the maximum personal injury compensation that you are liable for.
An efficient lawyer will also educate you regarding the different legal options available for you and the rights you are entitled to. If there are some non-monetary damages, it can be difficult to receive compensation. Your lawyer would stand up to insurance providers so that you obtain fair compensation.