Collecting Compensation for Spinal Cord Damage
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious types of injuries that a car accident victim can suffer. Treatment often requires surgery and months or even years of physical therapy. Tragically, even those with access to the best treatment may suffer from permanent disabilities, which could include partial or total paralysis.
Basics of the Spinal Cord
Spinal cords are comprised of a collection of nerves that extend from the brain through the spinal canal and allow for the brain to send directions to other parts of the body. Because the spinal cord plays such an important role in the body’s ability to function, even small injuries can have catastrophic results.
The spinal cord is divided into four regions:
- The cervical spinal cord, which is located where the cord meets the brain;
- The thoracic spinal cord, which makes up the middle portion of the spine;
- The lumbar spinal cord, which forms the lower part of the back; and
- The sacral spine, which consists of five vertebrae and a number of nerve roots.
The base of the spinal cord is referred to as the tailbone and is made up of one vertebra.
Types of Injuries
The severity of a spinal cord injury depends on the age and health of the victim, but also on where the damage was sustained. For instance, trauma to the cervical spinal cord can produce paralysis in both the arms and the legs, while injuries to the thoracic region usually only affect sensation in the lower half of the body.
Spinal cord injuries tend to happen when a person’s spine is stretched or compressed. This means that car accident victims can be vulnerable to these types of injuries if their head or neck snaps forward or backward abruptly upon impact. This kind of trauma can cause fractures and dislocations in the spine, both of which can tear spinal cord tissue and result in paralysis, muscle spasms, and difficulty breathing or speaking.
Although spinal cord injuries often result in permanent disability, there are treatments that have proven effective in helping patients reobtain movement, at least partially. These treatments include surgery, physical therapy, and prescription steroids to reduce inflammation in the spinal cord. Unfortunately, these treatments are all expensive, making it especially important for car accident victims to collect compensation from the at-fault parties. If an injured party is able to establish that another person was negligent, he or she could obtain compensation for the following expenses:
- Medical bills;
- Property damage;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income; and
- Pain and suffering.
Furthermore, because Arizona follows the legal theory of comparative negligence, even when an injured party contributed to an accident, he or she can still collect damages.
Call us Today to Speak to a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one live in Phoenix and recently suffered a spinal injury in a car accident, please contact Abels & Annes, P.C. to speak with a member of our legal team today. We are eager to help you with your case.