Devastating Impact of a Spinal Cord Injury

When accidental injuries occur, those involving the spinal cord are among the most severe. A spinal cord injury can be life-threatening, and recovery often means dealing with catastrophic impairments. If you or someone you care about has suffered this type of life-changing injury, understanding the impacts and the effect they can have, both now and in the years to come, is essential for your recovery.

When the injury is a result of an accident that was caused by another party’s negligence, Virginia law allows victims to pursue damages against that party to compensate for the losses – both present and future – that the injury caused. A Virginia personal injury attorney can help.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur as the result of car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents as well as due to slips or falls. Damage to any portion of the spinal column or nerves can result in permanent changes in sensation, strength, and ability in the areas of the body below where the injury occurred.

With incomplete spinal cord injuries, there may be varying degrees of sensation and function below the injured area, while complete injuries involve an almost complete loss of feeling and function. In terms of the body parts affected, paraplegia generally affects the trunk, legs, and pelvic regions, while tetra or quadriplegia impacts those areas as well as the upper body, such as the arms and hands. The following include complications that can result due to spinal cord injuries:

  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Pressure sores, due to the loss of skin sensation
  • Circulation problems, which can cause low blood pressure and swelling of the extremities
  • Respiratory issues, which can increase your risk of lung problems, such as pneumonia

Other impacts victims of spinal cord injuries often face include increased risk of cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, sexual issues, and depression.

Dealing with The Impacts of the Injury

Spinal cord injuries have catastrophic impacts on the life of victims and their loved ones, but support services are available. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is one of the largest groups for providing spinal cord injury resources and advocacy.

It was started after the former ‘Superman’ actor suffered a spinal cord injury during an equestrian competition that left him paralyzed in 1995. The foundation offers information on the latest medical treatments, along with referrals to organizations that may be able to help in providing physical therapy, obtaining medical devices, making modifications to your home or car, and offering support for caregivers.

While a victim’s insurance provider may pay a portion of their expenses, there are many services the victim will likely need to pay out-of-pocket for. This is why it is so important to speak with an experienced catastrophic injury attorney after an accident and before accepting any compensation offered. The Reeve Foundation estimates that these injuries result in between two and four million dollars in lifetime costs, money that should be included as part of any accident settlement.

We Are Here To Help

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident caused by another party, contact a Virginia personal injury attorney. A spinal cord injury victim often faces a life of pain and suffering from the injury, as well as the many medical complications that develop. Many victims are often left unable to go back to the type of work they did before the injury or, depending on the severity of the injury, they may be unable to work at all, losing their source of income. There is often the need to modify homes to make living areas handicap accessible, as well as transportation issues.

At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, we understand the devastating impact these types of injuries can have on victims and their families, not only physically but also financially. Our attorneys are experienced in calculating and negotiating damages for injuries that involve long-term or permanent disabilities and will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you deserve.