A spinal cord injury (SCI) may result in permanent changes in motor and sensory function, strength, and other bodily functions below the site of the trauma. While researchers are studying new treatment modalities for individuals with SCI, there is no universal cure at this time. It is often difficult for victims to maintain a positive outlook when their injuries were caused by another party’s negligence and could have been avoided.
By recent estimates, some 17,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries every year, and many of these victims are rendered either paraplegic or tetraplegic. When injuries are caused by the reckless actions or misconduct of another, Virginia law allows victims to sue for monetary compensation. A settlement or lawsuit verdict can ease the financial burdens that victims of catastrophic injury struggle to meet.
The personal injury lawyers at Rutter Mills understand the immense hardships of victims and their families and offer skilled representation that gets results. A successful injury claim can net compensation to pay for hospital bills, surgeries, ongoing physical rehabilitation, medication, and other lifetime costs that can undercut a family’s financial security. The right personal injury attorney can help maximize the value of a spinal cord injury claim and prevail against well-funded insurance companies.
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
Spinal cord injury occurs when the delicate nerves encased by vertebrae are stretched, torn, or ruptured. These injuries can be complete or partial, depending upon the severity of the nerve damage. In a partial SCI, there is some function and sensation below the site of trauma. In a complete SCI, the victim loses all voluntary movement and feeling below the point of injury.
A tumor or medical condition can cause spinal cord injury, but it is most commonly attributed to violent trauma. Not surprisingly, more than 50 percent of all spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle accidents. Other causes of SCI include:
- Falls from heights (common at construction sites and industrial work zones)
- Recreational sporting accidents (swimming, boating, horseback riding, and football are the most prevalent)
- Acts of physical violence such as a severe blow or gunshot wound to the spine
- Medical or surgical mistakes
Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries
The physical consequences of a spinal cord injury depend on the type and location of the trauma. Generally speaking, injuries that occur higher in the spinal cord – within the cervical vertebra—are more debilitating, affecting sensation, mobility, and autonomic functions.
Paralysis is one of the most catastrophic consequences of SCI, but this trauma can affect many parts of the body in different ways, causing:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Uncontrolled muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Chronic pain
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Respiratory infections like pneumonia
- Urinary tract infections
- Emotional issues including depression, anxiety, and PTSD
The personal injury lawyers at Rutter Mills understand the evidence needed to successfully present a spinal cord injury case and leverage their resources to demonstrate the lifelong impacts that victims and their loved ones must endure.
The True Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
The associated costs of living with a spinal cord injury are astronomical, particularly for younger victims who are left paralyzed with neurological impairments. Consider these statistics offered by the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation on SCI costs:
- Expenses for paraplegics 1st year: $550,381
- Expenses for tetraplegics (injury to C1-C4) 1st year: $1,129,000
- Costs for tetraplegics (injury to C5-C8) 1st year: $816,000
- Average lifetime costs for paraplegics (age of injury 25): $2,450,200
- Average lifetime costs for tetraplegics (age of injury 25): $5 million
These figures are focused on medical care, in-home modifications, and rehabilitation alone. They do not take into account a victim’s lost earnings, loss of benefits, and loss of productivity. Spinal cord injuries often result in severe, lasting disability that impacts a victim’s ability to work. With less income and mounting medical expenses, legal action against negligent parties is often necessary for victims of spinal cord injuries.
Legal Advocacy from Virginia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
The experience and resources of your attorney make a world of difference in the success of your spinal cord injury case. Whether you were hurt in a car accident, on the job, or in some other capacity stemming from negligence, you can count on Rutter Mills to fight for the money damages you rightfully deserve.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Our personal injury law firm has been a fierce advocate for Virginia residents for more than 50 years. We have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in complex injury cases, and offer the legal muscle and expertise to help clients seek justice and move forward with their lives.
Call our Norfolk or Newport News offices to arrange a free, no-obligation legal consultation. Our firm takes all spinal cord injury cases on a contingency-fee-basis, so there are no upfront costs.
When you’ve been injured, you’ve got a lot at stake… but so does the insurance company. Walking into the court room with a serious lawyer makes all the difference. Watch our video to learn more about Rutter Mills.
“Nothing makes you feel more vulnerable than being hurt or ill. And nobody likes to ask for help. But when you need it most, we’re at our best. We give our clients the confidence and support they need to know they’ll be taken care of – that they’ll get the best outcome possible, even in the face of a very bad situation.”
– Brother Rutter