The personal injury team at Breit Cantor Grana Buckner has participated in cases throughout the United States involving people who have suffered from spinal cord injuries due to other’s negligence. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents, but our law firm has handled spinal cord injury cases stemming from medical malpractice, slips and falls, diving accidents, sports injuries, and many other unfortunate circumstances. If you or a loved one has sustained a debilitating spinal cord injury, contact our team of respected and winning Virginia personal injury attorneys today.
Structure & Function of the Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is approximately 17 inches long and is protected by the backbone, which is made up of 33 individual vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries can occur at any level of the cord. These types of injuries are often the result of major accidents, including motor vehicle collisions, falls, violent acts, or other trauma or compression to the nerve cells of the cord.
The spinal cord is vital to both physical feeling and physical movement. Anything from feeling a breeze to picking up a fork to getting up out of a chair doesn’t happen without the spinal cord. The spine contains 33 vertebrae, with neuron pathways that allow your body to function. Motor neurons that allow you to move are located in the front section of the cord. While bones can heal, these pathways cannot.
Paraplegia: Causes & Effects
Paraplegia is almost always the result of spinal cord damage, including damage to the:
- Spinal column discs
This form of paralysis describes total or partial paralysis of the lower extremities—including the legs but possibly the trunk as well. Paraplegia affects a victim’s quality of life in many ways, but therapy and rehabilitation can make a positive difference. You could be entitled to compensation that will help you get the medical care you need.
Common Causes of Quadriplegia
In contrast to paraplegia, which typically only affects the lower half of the body, quadriplegia often results in partial or complete paralysis to both legs, arms, and the trunk. In essence, a person with quadriplegia is paralyzed from the neck down.
There are many different types of accidents that can result in spinal cord injuries and/or quadriplegia:
- Recreational accidents including swimming/diving accidents, football injuries, skiing/snowboarding accidents, and more
- Motor vehicle collisions including truck accidents, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicyclist accidents, and motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall/trip and fall accidents
- Assaults and acts of violence including gunshot wounds
Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
Complete spinal cord injuries include paraplegia and quadriplegia. Incomplete spinal cord injuries are less severe. In the event of any spinal cord injury, swelling around the area of the injury might affect areas that weren’t directly injured. Recovery of function in these areas can return at any time between three days to eighteen months. While these injuries are not as severe as complete spinal injuries, they are still life-altering and can be emotionally devastating for the victim and the family members involved.
Some of the more common incomplete spinal cord injuries are:
- Anterior cord syndrome – Damage that occurs to the anterior section of the spinal cord can result in loss of movement and sensory perception, although there have been cases where sensations that travel along pathways that are still intact can still be felt. Only 10 to 15% of anterior cord syndrome victims demonstrate any functional improvement over time.
- Brown-Sequard Syndrome – An injury to the right or left side of the spinal cord causes a loss of movement and sensation on the side of the injury. On the side opposite the injury, temperature and pain sensation are lost due to the crossing of these pathways in the spinal cord. Although spinal trauma or tumors are the most prevalent causes of Brown-Sequard Syndrome, other possible causes include meningitis, tuberculosis, and multiple sclerosis.
- Central cord syndrome – Damage to the cervical area of the spinal cord can adversely affect the function of the corticospinal tract. Victims experience weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs, combined with some loss of sensory perception. Some recovery is possible in central cord syndrome, depending on the age of the victim. Patients under the age of 50 have a 97% rate of becoming ambulatory, but past the age of 50, the recovery rate drops dramatically down to 17%.
- Individual nerve cell injuries – Spinal trauma can result in a damaged nerve cell or nerve cluster. This causes impaired movement or a loss of sensation in its corresponding muscle group. For instance, damage to a nerve cell in L Category vertebrae can cause paralysis or weakness in one or both legs. Symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Individual nerve cell injury is the most common cause of monoplegia, which is when only one limb is affected, or hemiplegia, which affects one side of the body and not the other.
- Spinal contusions – When the spinal cord is bruised but not fractured or severed, the effects can still be debilitating. Bruises to the spine can temporarily or permanently affect movement and sensation due to bleeding and inflammation of the damaged area. Tissue swelling in the event of spinal trauma can inhibit normal nerve pathway function. Temporary immobility of the spinal cord in the case of spinal contusions normally lasts for one or two days, but contusions can cause long-term or permanent impairment.
Building a Spinal Cord Injury Case
Case development and trial for someone who has suffered a spinal cord injury present the challenge of obtaining adequate compensation to cover the lifetime needs of the litigant. It is essential for the attorney to identify, project, and quantify the lifetime medical needs and expenses facing the spinal cord litigant and to fully and adequately prove the effects of the spinal cord injury on the litigant’s life. An attorney who knows how to approach this challenge and who has successfully handled spinal cord injury cases should be consulted in these cases.
You need a Virginia spinal cord injury lawyer on your side whose experience and ability puts you in a position to succeed. Our team at Breit Cantor is knowledgeable, experienced, and prepared. Since 1979, our firm has recovered more than 150 verdicts and settlements exceeding $1 million. We have been recognized among the top law firms in the nations and continue to fight for the rights of injury victims.
Types of Cases We Have Handled
Our lawyers have recovered hundreds of millions for injury victims since opening our firm in 1979. Our attorneys have the experience to get results, and our track record proves it! More than 150 of our clients have seen verdicts/settlements in excess of $1 million.
We have handled all types of spinal cord injury cases, including but not limited to:
- Complete vs. incomplete spine injuries
Our team can answer your questions about catastrophic injury claims. We are experienced and knowledgeable, with a reputation for attentive representation that leaves no stone unturned. Our goal is to achieve justice for our clients. We have the resources, experience, and ability necessary to effectively pursue the compensation that you deserve.
Call us at (888) 635-9500 to discuss your case with one of our Virginia spinal cord injury attorneys.