Did You Suffer Spinal Cord Injuries After a Car Accident?
Call Our Car Accident Lawyers in Springfield for Help
One of the most catastrophic types of personal injuries is spinal cord injuries. Also known as SCIs, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there are upwards of half a million new spinal cord injuries each year with the majority of all cases coming from traffic accidents. In the United States, research from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reveals that there are almost 18,000 new SCIs each year, with upwards of 368,000 Americans living with some form of spinal cord injury at any given time. The same research also shows that the top cause of SCIs is traffic accidents, which account for almost 39% of all spinal cord injuries. Many individuals who suffer spinal cord injuries after a car accident in Springfield may be entitled to compensation for their personal injuries and damages. If you or a loved one suffered any type of SCI in Illinois, call the experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield, IL at the Noll Law Office. They can be reached at (217) 414-8889.
Unlike other large personal injury law firms, the Noll Law Office offers a personalized approach to handling a bodily injury claim. Rather than farming cases out across the state, or using a churn-and-burn method of managing cases, the experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office handle all cases in-house. That means your case is worked on by a local attorney who is from your community and how cares about your community, as they are the fifth generation of lawyers from right here in Central Illinois. When you or a loved one suffered spinal cord injuries after a car accident in Springfield, you should call the Noll Law Office to schedule a FREE consultation to learn more about your rights to compensation.
Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries and Why You Need to Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Springfield
Although it is obvious that a spinal cord injury has a profound and catastrophic effect on a victim’s life, the financial consequences for a victim and his or her family are also staggering. According to research, an SCI can cost a victim between $375,000 and $1.1 million in the first year of injury, depending on the region of the injury and the severity of the damage. Thereafter, it may cost a victim between $45,000 per year and almost $200,000 a year in treatment, therapy, medical supplies, nursing assistance, and other expenses. To that end, the total lifetime cost of an SCI at the age of 25 is between $1.7 and $5.1. The total lifetime costs at age 50 are between $1.2 and $2.8 million.
Although any personal injury lawyer can technically handle cases involving spinal cord injuries after a car accident in Springfield, that does not mean that you should just hire any lawyer. Victims and their families have experienced an exceptional loss due to their physical, emotional, and financial damages. These are high-stakes cases that will be aggressively defended – even when liability is obvious. That’s why victims and their families need to trust experienced spinal cord injury lawyers such as those at the Noll Law Office. They handle catastrophic personal injury cases for victims and their families, fighting back against defendants and insurance adjusters who refuse to play fair.
With their litigation experience and extensive knowledge of the law and medicine, victims with spinal cord injuries after a car accident in Springfield are in good hands.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to any part of the spinal cord, including the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Spinal cord injuries often leave victims with some degree of paralysis, impaired movement, strength, sensation, and impairment of bowel, bladder, or sexual function. There are different types of SCIs, which depend on the area of injury and the severity of the injury.
In terms of personal injuries, an SCI is perhaps one of the most devastating types of injuries that can occur as a result of a car accident. Spinal cord injuries are typically permanent, resulting in permanent disability, movement restriction, weakness, sensory impairment, and other dysfunction of the central nervous system (which includes the spinal cord and the brain).
A spinal cord injury may also affect the peripheral nervous system, which are the nerves that extend out of your spinal column and go through the rest of your body. The spinal cord is what sends messages between the brain and the rest of the nerves in the body. This is why the spinal cord is often referred to as the “messenger superhighway” in the body, which is why damage to the spinal cord can be catastrophic.
Understanding the Regions of the Spinal Cord and What Happens if They Are Injured
One of the most critical factors in determining the severity of a spinal cord injury is the location or region of the damage. There are four different regions of the spinal cord that may be injured as a result of a car accident. Each region governs different parts of the body and therefore affects different limbs and bodily functions.
These four regions include the following:
- Cervical spinal cord – This area is the highest part of the spinal cord and attaches to the base of your skull and extends to the upper back. It is made up of seven vertebrae (C1-C7), the bones that protect the spinal cord in the center. If this area has been injured, it often leads to a form of quadriplegia or tetraplegia. These types of disability affect all four limbs and the torso from the collarbone or shoulders down (depending on the exact area where the injury is located on the cervical spine).
- Thoracic spinal cord – The thoracic spine refers to the middle of the spinal cord (T1-T12) and is located from the top of the shoulder blades to the lower part of the mid-back region. This area of the spinal cord can affect sensation in your arms or legs, but also in your torso and its organs such as the lungs. Thus, damage to this part of the spinal cord could result in breathing difficulty and organ dysfunction, as well as other types of weakness or loss of sensation in a victim’s extremities.
- Lumbar spinal cord – The lumbar spinal cord is the lower part of the spinal cord (L1-L5) which is located in the lower back to the top of the hips. This region of the spinal cord is what most people associate with lower back pain from lifting or bending, but also where most people experience pain in a motor vehicle accident. Injuries to the lumbar spinal cord can cause numerous impairments to the lower extremities, including strength, weakness, coordination, balance, sensation, stability, and other functions.
- Sacral spine – The sacral spinal cord is the lowest area that can be affected in a spinal cord injury. Although there is no spinal cord tissue in this area, major nerve roots that exit the spinal cord and spinal column can be damaged in the sacral region, leading to impairment in movement, sensation, and function.
General Categories of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are two general categories of spinal cord injuries after a car accident in Springfield. The categories are defined by the damage that is caused to the spinal cord, which in turn dictates the brain’s ability to send messages and receive messages through the spinal cord.
The two categories of spinal cord injuries from a car accident include the following:
- Complete SCIs – Complete spinal cord injuries, also known as total SCIs, refer to complete loss of sensation, movement, and function at or below the level of the spinal cord that has been injured. This type of injury occurs when the spinal cord is severed or fully torn, meaning that there is no connection between the part of the spinal cord connected to the brain and the rest of the spinal cord before the injury. A person with a complete SCI in Illinois will have no sensation or feeling, and the chance for recovery of any function is almost zero (except for new and experimental treatments that are not FDA-approved yet).
- Incomplete SCIs – Also known as partial SCIs, a victim with an incomplete spinal cord injury typically has some degree of movement, function, or sensation, but it is affected or diminished. That’s because this type of injury occurs when the spinal cord has a partial tear, compression, or damage to it, but there are still some connections between the brain and the rest of the body below the injury. A person with an incomplete SCI in Illinois may have some function or sensation, which may improve with physical therapy or occupational therapy, but is extremely unlikely to ever return to normal.
Types of Paralysis From Spinal Cord Injuries After a Car Accident in Springfield
In addition to the two categories of SCIs, the location or region of the spinal cord injuries after a car accident in Springfield dictates the type of paralysis that a victim may have. Thus, the type of injury from a motor vehicle crash depends on whether 1) it is a complete or incomplete injury, and 2) the region that is damaged.
The types of paralysis seen after a victim is injured in a car accident include the following:
Monoplegia affects only one area of the body. Typically, the area that is affected is a limb. Victims with monoplegia may have a complete loss of function and movement of the affected limb (complete or total SCI) or may have a partial loss of function and movement (incomplete or partial SCI). Generally, monoplegia is caused by damage to the root nerve that has come out of the spinal column already and is damaged. This could be due to a compression fracture of vertebrae on that side where the root is coming through, or it could be to a large nerve branch such as the brachial plexus in the shoulder (a common car accident nerve injury).
Hemiplegia refers to paralysis on one side of the body, affecting the arm and leg. This type of paralysis is typically caused by an incomplete spinal cord injury and, like monoplegia, it could be caused by damage to a nerve branch due to a compression fracture. Hemiplegia may also be caused by a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Whether your paraplegia is caused by spinal cord injuries or a traumatic brain injury, always have your case evaluated by an experienced car accident lawyer in Springfield, Illinois such as one at the Noll Law Office.
Victims with paraplegia typically have a spinal cord injury occurring lower down on the spinal cord in the thoracic or lumbar region, causing impairment or loss of sensation, movement, and function of the legs. Victims with paraplegia may also have impairment of sexual function and loss of or impairment of bowel and/or bladder control. A complete SCI will result in the total loss of use of a victim’s legs and lower torso, whereas an incomplete SCI will result in partial loss of use, function, and sensation.
Also known as tetraplegia, quadriplegia is perhaps the most severe type of paralysis that can occur as a result of a car accident. Quadriplegia affects all limbs and the torso and may impair breathing as well. It occurs when there is an SCI in the cervical region, which is in the neck. A complete SCI in the cervical region can result in near full-body paralysis. Whereas an incomplete SCI in the neck may result in a decrease in sensation, strength, movement, and other functions in the entire body. Out of all spinal cord injuries, this is the most severe type and it is one of the most severe types of all personal injuries that a victim may sustain.
Damages for Paralysis Victims Injured in a Car Accident
There are many different types of damages that paralysis victims may be eligible for after sustaining this type of injury. The types of damages are based on the type of paralysis, degree of injury, and other factors related to your car accident. Some of the most common types of damages that victims may be eligible for include the following:
- Past pain and suffering – Compensation for the agony, pain, and anguish from an SCI, measured from the date of the car accident and injury to the date of payment
- Future pain and suffering – Typically a lump sum of compensation is for the expected future agony, pain, suffering, and other anguish from an SCI. It is awarded based on the remaining years of a victim’s life at the time of payment per an actuary table.
- Lost wages and lost future earnings – Spinal cord injury victims not only face a loss of wages for the time in which the accident occurred, but if they are unable to return to their same career, they may face a lifetime of lost earnings.
- Medical bills – Victims who suffer a spinal cord injury will likely face hefty medical bills not only for the initial injury and treatment but a lifetime of medical treatment that may be required for their spinal cord injury.
- Vehicle and home modifications – For most victims with paralysis caused by a motor vehicle accident, home and vehicle modifications are necessary to help them live their lives as independently and safely as possible. These modifications can be quite costly, and victims should never have to worry about how they will pay for these modifications.
- Assistive devices – Victims who suffer from paralysis often need assistive devices to help them to be as independent as possible. Examples of assistive devices for paralysis victims include a wheelchair or walker.
- Physical rehabilitation – All victims who suffer a spinal cord injury will need to undergo intense physical rehabilitation to try to preserve and increase the strength, sensation, and movement of the affected body parts.
- Nursing care and other assistance – Victims who suffer a severe spinal cord injury may require around-the-clock care or may require frequent visits from nursing staff and aides who can help them to live their lives as independently as possible.
- Loss of consortium – Loss of consortium refers to loss of enjoyment in life as a result of their injury. This may include loss of relations with their spouse, loss of involvement or time with their family, or other types of losses.
- Property damage – If your vehicle or any other piece of property was damaged by the accident, you may be entitled to property damages to cover any expenses related to these damages.
Did You or a Loved One Suffer Spinal Cord Injuries From a Car Accident in Springfield?
Call the Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in Springfield, Illinois for Help
Spinal cord injury cases are very serious and often hotly contested. Since victims and their families are facing extreme damages from their injuries and intense opposition from a defendant, they need to hire experienced car accident lawyers in Springfield to fight back. The compassionate and experienced spinal cord injury lawyers at the Noll Law Office will not let defense lawyers and insurance adjusters protect dangerous drivers or refuse to pay out what a victim truly deserved under the law. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in any type of motor vehicle accident in Springfield or anywhere in Central Illinois, contact the Noll Law Office to schedule your FREE case evaluation today.