Virginia Spinal Cord Injuries: Rights and Considerations

Being paralyzed or sustaining any spinal cord injury can be a life-changing experience that affects most victims financially, physically, and emotionally. Spinal cord injuries up to and including paralysis can happen for numerous reasons, such as motor vehicle accidents, and slip-and-fall accidents. If you experienced a spinal cord injury due to another person’s negligence, a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney can help you seek the financial compensation to which you are entitled.

What are my rights after sustaining a spinal cord injury in Virginia?

If someone else is responsible for your spinal cord injury, legal action is an appropriate response. Filing a lawsuit for your damages will not only hold the negligent party accountable but will also let you pursue the financial recovery you need and deserve. The Virginia spinal cord injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have decades of experience protecting the rights of spine injury victims. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.

Types Of Spinal Cord Injuries

Your spinal cord can be damaged by disease or trauma. A traumatic injury takes place when your spinal cord is compressed, bruised, torn, or inflamed. These injuries usually occur when the vertebral column is damaged in such a way that affects the spinal cord or adjoining nerve fibers or causes pressure on the spine. Spinal cord injuries are broken down into two types, complete injuries and incomplete injuries.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

A complete injury means there is no nerve communication below the point of injury resulting in a complete loss of motor and sensory function. Complete spinal cord injuries often leave their patients wheelchair-bound and without any bladder or bowel control. Patients are also at risk of multiple health problems like respiratory issues, infections, and bedsores. Common complete spinal cord injuries involve forms of paralysis such as paraplegia and quadriplegia. 

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

An incomplete spinal cord injury varies from patient to patient. Some experience only slightly compromised motor and sensory functions while others lose these functions altogether.  

Most incomplete injuries are caused by damage or compression to the spinal cord. This compression impedes the brain’s capacity for sending signals below the point of injury. Some common incomplete spinal cord injuries are:

  • Central Cord Syndrome: Occurring most frequently in elderly patients, central cord syndrome is caused by compression of the cervical area of the spinal cord. It often leads to bladder and bowel dysfunction, sensory deficits, and loss of motor function.  
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome: A fairly rare neurological condition marked by a spinal cord lesion that results in a loss of sensation and motor function below the injury site and contralateral loss of touch and kinesthesia. 
  • Anterior Cord Syndrome: This involves damage to the front of the spinal cord. It is characterized by the loss of autonomic function, sensation, and motor function below the injury site. 

If you sustained an injury to your spinal cord that left you paralyzed or otherwise incapacitated, it is vital that you seek immediate medical attention. A physician can assess the severity of your injuries and devise a medical treatment plan that will help you recover to whatever extent possible. 

Legal Considerations

It is important for victims to be familiar with the legal concerns involved in a Virginia spine injury case, including:   

  • Contributory Negligence: Along with only three other states, Virginia follows the archaic doctrine of contributory negligence. This doctrine bars plaintiffs from any recovery whatsoever if they are found to be even 1% liable for their accident.
  • Statute of Limitations: The Virginia statute of limitations for almost all personal injury cases, including spine injury cases, is two years from the cause of action. This means, in most situations, your lawsuit must be filed no later than two years from the day the accident occurred.
  • Damages: If your spinal cord injury case is successful, you may be eligible for financial compensation for multiple damages, such as medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
  • Evidence: The prompt collection and preservation of as much relevant evidence as possible is critical to building a strong spine injury case. Pertinent evidence includes videos, pictures, eyewitness testimonies, police reports, and medical records, to name a few.
  • Insurance: Understanding what insurance coverage may be available to cover your accident-related damages is another essential factor in your spine injury case. Appropriate coverage could include the defendant’s insurance policy and even your personal policy.

Your Rights

Trying to navigate your way through the legal system while recovering from a spinal cord injury is not likely to produce the outcome you are looking for. Working with a reputable Virginia personal injury lawyer who is already familiar with the system’s various complexities puts you in the best possible position to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive just compensation for your damages.  

At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia spinal cord injury attorneys can help you collect evidence, use it to build a compelling case, negotiate with insurers, and if necessary, represent you in court. Call us at (833) 997-1774 to schedule a free consultation. 

Related Content