Any type of injury can be disruptive, but a spinal cord injury can alter a victim’s life permanently and drastically. Spinal cord injuries are associated with varying degrees of paralysis, and depending on the severity of the injury and the damage to the nerves, may be permanent. More frustrating still is when someone suffers a spinal cord injury in an accident that someone else caused by their own negligence, recklessness, or malicious behavior. Fortunately, if someone else causes the accident that leads to a spinal cord injury the victim may be able to initiate a tort claim against the responsible party in order to recover both economic and non-economic damages. While no amount of money will undo the accident that caused these injuries, they can give the victim a financial cushion so they may focus on their recovery and adjusting to life after the injury without taking on additional financial stressors.
After any serious accident that someone else caused, one of the first steps to take is partnering with an experienced, diligent personal injury attorney who can help you recover compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company. When you file a claim with an insurance company without legal representation, the insurance company and the adjuster assigned to your case focus on limiting your settlement as aggressively as possible — NOT on trying to award you the actual amount you are owed. Your attorney will be able to push back on the insurance company agenda and work to negotiate the settlement that you deserve.
Contact Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers, LLP For a Free Consultation About Your Spinal Cord Injury Today
We offer a free initial consultation for spinal cord injury victims so that we can provide legal insight and provide a better understanding of the benefits of partnering with our law firm. Working with an attorney means that you have experienced representation taking on the insurance company for you, while you focus on your personal needs and your recovery. Taking on additional stress can have a serious impact on your recovery from physical wounds, meaning that an attorney is not only good for your settlement chances, but they can also be good for your health, too.
Read more below about spinal cord injuries below, and contact Balkin & Mausner Injury Lawyers, LLP as soon as possible to get on the path towards fair compensation today. If you are looking for a spinal cord injury lawyer in Washington D.C., you have come to the right place.
Common Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
After an accident, it can be difficult to determine the nature of injuries someone has sustained, and this is especially true with spinal cord injuries. When the spinal cord is damaged, communications between the brainstem and the rest of the body are disrupted, and the victim may suffer from some or all of the following symptoms. In some instances, there may be a latency period between the injury and the symptoms, so whether or not these symptoms are present in the aftermath of an accident, there still may be a serious injury present.
Loss of Sensation Below Injury
The spinal cord is a complex bundle of nerves running through the vertebrae of the spine. It sends signals from the brain to the rest of the body that govern sensation, movement, and more. If the victim has a loss of sensation below the perceived injury, this may be an indication that the nerves have been damaged.
Complete or Partial Loss of Motor Function
Another indication of a spinal cord injury is a loss of motor function in one, some, or all limbs, as the brainstem is no longer able to send signals from the brain to initiate motion. In addition to the loss of the ability to purposely control limbs, loss of motor function may also be indicated by uncontrollable spasms.
Loss of Bowel or Bladder Control
Since the bowels and bladder are controlled by signals sent from the brainstem, a pinch or break in the nerve bundle transmitting this information can cause a loss of control in either or both.
If the victim still has control over their limbs but is experiencing significant weakness in some or all of the limbs, it may be symptomatic of any number of injury types, including a spinal cord injury. It is important that the victim stay as immobilized as possible in case the damage is to the spinal cord, as moving can cause extensive damage to a minor injury.
Intense Pain or Stinging
Pins and needles, stinging, or other intense pain in the limbs below the site of the injury can indicate damage to the spinal cord as the damage to the nerves lead to miscommunication and strange signals between the lower extremities and the brainstem.
What To Do If You Suspect a Spinal Cord Injury
If you only remember one thing about how to handle a spinal cord injury, remember this: unless absolutely necessary, never move someone who you suspect has suffered damage to their spinal cord. Unless there is an imminent threat of additional injuries, such as a victim in a burning car, keep them still until the EMTs arrive and can use a backboard to get them onto a stretcher.
Call 911 Immediately
The sooner you are in contact with an emergency dispatcher, the sooner they will be able to alert EMTs, police officers, and firefighters in the area to get to the scene of the accident and begin emergency care. Let the dispatcher know that you suspect a spinal cord injury so that they can communicate this with the EMTs.
Encourage the Victim To Stay Still
Sometimes after an injury, a victim may be in shock, which can cause them to ignore the pain and deny that they are hurt. Adrenaline is a powerful painkiller, so you may need to work to encourage the victim to stay as still as possible until the emergency responders arrive.
Keep the Victim Warm and Sheltered Until EMTs Arrive
If you are in an environment that may cause the victim discomfort, such as in the rain or cold, do what you can to keep them warm and comfortable while remaining still. A spinal cord injury victim may get agitated and attempt to move themselves to a more comfortable position. While you encourage them to remain immobilized, you may also do things to improve their comfort while waiting for the EMTs.