Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Spinal cord injuries can have life-long effects, resulting in permanent, total disabilities that can severely limit or end a person’s ability to work and support himself and his family. These traumatic injuries can have a devastating effect on the injury victim physically and psychologically and put a family in a serious financial bind. Often these injuries require extensive medical care and rehabilitation due to the injury and accompanying complications. If you and your family live in Kentucky and are facing this situation, we may be able to help.
The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- The spinal cord is made of soft tissue and covered by bones (vertebrae) which come down from the base of the brain. It’s made of nerve cells and groups of nerves called tracts, which branch out to different parts of the body.
- The tracts carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
- An injury causing damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal can cause permanent changes and loss in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury.
How seriously the spinal cord injury impacts you depends on where the injury occurred and the severity of the injury. One measure of the severity is how “complete” the injury is.
- Complete: If almost all sensory feelings and all ability to control physical movement are lost below the spinal cord injury, the injury is considered complete.
- Incomplete: If there is some motor or sensory function below the injured area, the injury is considered incomplete. There are different degrees of incomplete injury.
Paralysis due to a spinal cord injury can be classified as two types:
- Tetraplegia or quadriplegia: The arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs are all affected by the injury.
- Paraplegia: This paralysis covers all or part of the trunk, legs and abdominal organs.
Spinal cord injuries may show one or more of the following signs or symptoms:
- Lost movement
- Lost sensation, including being unable to feel heat, cold and touch
- Lost bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated, reflex movements or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or intense stinging sensations
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing fluid from the lungs.
If someone experiences significant trauma to the head or neck, he or she needs immediate medical evaluation because there may be a spinal injury. It’s safest to assume the accident victim has a spinal cord injury until proven otherwise:
- The injury isn’t always immediately clear. If it’s not recognized and the person moves, a more severe injury may occur.
- Numbness or paralysis can happen immediately or develop over time as bleeding or swelling occurs in or around the spinal cord.
- How quickly treatment can start can be critical in the extent of complications and recovery.
Common short- and long-term complications of a spinal cord injury include:
- Increased risk of urinary tract infections, kidney infections and kidney or bladder stones
- Partial or total loss of skin sensation
- Blood circulation control problems
- Respiratory problems
- Lost muscle tone
- Higher risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes due to lack of mobility
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Car and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of these injuries, covering more than 35% of new spinal cord injuries each year.
- Falls: Spinal cord injuries in those older than 65 are most often caused by a fall. Falls are to blame for more than a quarter of all spinal cord injuries.
- Criminal acts: About 15% of spinal cord injuries are caused by violence, often involving gunshot and knife wounds.
- Sports and recreation injuries: Sports activities, such as those involving physical contact and diving into shallow water, cause about 9% of spinal cord injuries.
Currently there is no effective way to reverse damage to the spinal cord. New treatments are being developed that may promote nerve cell regeneration or improve the function of the nerves that remain after a spinal cord injury. Until those treatments become available, the focus of treatment and rehabilitation is to prevent further injury and empower accident victims to have as active and as productive a life as possible.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another, call a Lexington, KY Injury Lawyer today at our local number — (859) 233-3641. Or use our toll-free number — 866-77JULIE. Under Kentucky law some personal injury actions must be brought within one year. So it’s important that you act without delay in order to protect your rights to compensation. If you prefer, you may use our online inquiry form. We will be glad to make a free and confidential evaluation of your case.