Spinal Cord Injuries Caused in Car Accidents
If you sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident caused by someone’s intentional or careless misconduct, contact Caffee Law right now. We could help you hold the at-fault party liable for their actions and pursue compensation on your behalf.
Spinal cord injuries can be debilitating and cause intense pain or discomfort. Any amount of damage to the spinal cord could result in limited mobility, preventing you from performing routine tasks. Treatment is often extensive, requiring physical therapy, rehabilitation, and maybe even surgery. You should not be financially responsible for your medical bills and other incurred costs if your actions didn’t contribute to the crash.
Caffee Law understands the emotional, physical, and economic hardships accident victims face. If you can’t return to work, you might not have the ability to support yourself or your family. You could end up in significant debt while trying to afford your medical care. Additionally, spinal cord injuries can cause permanent damage. You could become disabled and require household assistance, which also costs money you might not have.
You can depend on our legal team to advocate for your rights and fight for the justice you deserve following a serious car accident. We can personalize our services to meet your needs and work hard to reach your desired outcome. We will remain by your side until the end of your case to provide the guidance and support you need.
For a free consultation at Caffee Law to learn more about your legal options after suffering a spinal cord injury in a car crash, call us at (206) 312-0954 today.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a column of nerves with four distinct regions – cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral—these regions of the spinal cord run from the base of the skull to the lower back.
Multiple types of spinal cord injuries can occur. Their classifications depend on the location and extent of the injury.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
An incomplete spinal cord injury happens when damage or compression reduces the brain’s ability to transmit signals to the area below the injury site. The symptoms can vary depending on the location of the compression or damage. Some people might experience impaired motor or sensory function. Others could lose movement and sensation in a limb entirely.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
A complete spinal cord injury results from damage, eliminating the brain’s ability to submit signals to the part of the body below the injury site. For example, damage to the lumbar spine could cause paralysis from the waist down, but functioning in the arms and legs might remain intact.
Paralysis can affect one or more limbs and various bodily functions. Different classifications include:
- Tetraplegia – Tetraplegia results from an injury to the cervical spinal cord. It eliminates a person’s ability to move their body below the injury site. It can also interfere with respiration, bladder and bowel control, and other bodily functions.
- Paraplegia – Paraplegia causes a complete loss of movement and sensation in the lower part of the body, including the legs. This could happen if the thoracic spinal cord becomes damaged.
- Triplegia – An incomplete spinal cord injury typically leads to triplegia. This results in a loss of movement and sensation in both legs and one arm.
A damaged spinal cord can significantly reduce someone’s quality of life. Paralysis interferes with a person’s ability to resume their everyday routine. Relearning how to walk, drive, shower, and perform other simple tasks can be overwhelming.
Physical trauma isn’t the only problem with a spinal cord injury. Many people experience emotional hardships while trying to cope with what happened to them. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on the site and extent of the injury but could include:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of movement
- Changes in sexual sensitivity, function, and fertility
- Trouble breathing, coughing, or clearing lung secretions
- Altered or loss of sensation
- Spasms or exaggerated reflexes
- Stinging sensation or pain
It’s crucial to go to the hospital immediately after a car crash. Spinal cord injuries are severe and can have long-term consequences without emergency medical care.
Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries
A doctor will need to perform a thorough examination to determine if you suffered a spinal cord injury. They can test your movement and sensory function. They might also need to order an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI if there are signs of a neurological injury, neck pain, or physical weakness.
The treatment plan your doctor recommends will depend on the type of spinal cord injury you suffered. The doctor will need to immobilize your spine to prevent additional injuries. They also need to prevent your body from going into shock and avoid complications from developing, such as cardiovascular or respiratory problems.
Surgery might be necessary to repair fractured vertebrae or herniated disks causing spinal compression. They will also need to remove any bone fragments that could rupture a nearby organ.
After discharging you from the hospital, your physician could recommend follow-up care. That might involve physical therapy to regain movement in your limbs and prescription medications to manage pain and other symptoms. Immobilization with a neck or back brace is also vital to stabilize the spine, so it heals in the correct place.
Compensation You Can Pursue After a Car Accident
In Washington, the fault system holds at-fault drivers liable for another person’s injuries. That means whoever causes a crash becomes financially responsible for the victim’s losses.
Since state law requires all motorists to carry auto insurance with liability coverage, you could file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. The settlement you receive could compensate for the losses you suffered, such as:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Out of pocket costs
You also have the option to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. However, there’s a strict timeframe you must follow. Washington enforces a three-year statute of limitations. That means you must initiate your lawsuit within three years from the accident date if you want to pursue compensation for your losses.
If you sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident in Washington due to another person’s negligence, call Caffee Law at (206) 312-0954 immediately. We can meet with you for a free consultation to talk about the circumstances of the collision and determine if you’re entitled to compensation.