If you have suffered an injury to your spine or any individual vertebrae, you probably already know the pain, limitations, and frustration that an injury of this type can bring. You may be unable to independently carry out simple activities of daily living such as basic hygiene needs, commuting, or performing your job. In other situations, you may have to give up activities that you once enjoyed. In any case, a serious spinal cord injury typically means that the injury victim will require significant medical attention. While you may be focused on the initial stabilization and recovery process, some individuals can need rehabilitative or supportive therapy for years or even indefinitely.
At Reiff & Bily our personal injury attorneys stand for the belief that injury victims should never be forced to subsidize the careless or reckless actions of other people. For more than three decades we have fought to hold negligent parties financially accountable for the injuries they inflict. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our Philadelphia personal injury firm at (215) 274-0072 today.
Understanding The Structure Of The Spinal Cord
People sometimes confuse the spinal cord with the spinal column. The spinal column is a long, slightly curved stack of short, thick vertebrae that travels vertically along your back. The spinal cord is a large, cylindrical bundle of nerves which runs along the length of the spinal column, similar to how the bow of a violin is composed of a bundle of hairs attached to a sturdy stick.
The spinal cord is divided into four main sections. From the top down, these sections are:
- Cervical (neck area)
- Thoracic (upper and middle back area)
- Lumbar (lower back area)
- Sacral (sacrum area)
Depending on where the spinal cord is injured, the resulting damages and impairments can vary widely. The higher up on the spinal cord an injury occurs, the more extensive the effects tend to be. For example, an injury to the C4 (cervical) vertebrae, which is very close to the base of the skull, may result in complete paralysis below the neck. An injury to the L1 (lumbar) vertebrae, which is in the lower back area, may result in paralysis below the waist.
What Are the Impacts of a Spinal Cord Injury?
In many cases, a spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating and life-altering types of injury that a human being can suffer. A spinal cord injury is often so devastating because the spinal cord acts as the body’s communications network. The spinal cord attaches directly to the brain and transmits signals throughout the body. When there is a break, fracture, swelling, or another injury to the spinal cord injury these communications can become corrupted or unable to reach their destination.
This is one of the reasons why spinal cord injuries and paralysis are so closely associated in the public consciousness. When damage to the spinal cord occurs, body parts falling below the site of injury are typically affected. Thus, if the injury occurs on the upper spinal cord, impacts to the arms and hands are more likely to occur. By contrast, an injury occurring at the bottom of the spinal column may result in mobility and other difficulties from the waist down. However, all movement from the waist on up may function just as it did prior to the accident.
A spinal cord injury can cause debilitating physical, emotional, and mental anguish. The medical costs associated with ongoing treatment for these and other impacts can quickly become financially overwhelming. If you are living with a spinal cord injury in Lehigh County, and your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, malpractice, or other conduct, the responsible party may be held liable for your injuries.
Additional Potential Impacts Of A Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can result in numerous effects which impact different parts of the body and its abilities. The precise location of the spinal cord injury has a significant effect on how anatomical functions may change. Effects which sufferers of SCI may experience include:
- Bladder Issues
- Blood Clotting (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
- Bowel Issues
- Decreased Blood Pressure
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Loss of Muscle Tone
- Paraplegia (Partial Paralysis)
- Quadriplegia (Complete Paralysis)
- Reduced Physical Sensation
- Respiratory Issues
- Sexual Issues
- Temperature Regulation Issues
- Weight Fluctuation
It is important to note that severe injuries often have far-reaching consequences that impact nearly all aspects of the individual’s life.
What Are the Most Common Reasons People Suffer Spinal Injuries?
Sometimes, spinal cord injuries and abnormalities are the results of congenital complications; but many times, they are caused by some type of external agent and could have been avoided if not for this agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top four leading causes of spinal injuries are:
- Auto Accidents: 46%
- Falls: 22%
- Acts of Violence: 16%
- Sports Injuries: 12%
As these numbers demonstrate, spinal cord injury is often not a naturally occurring, unavoidable fact of an individual’s life. Unfortunately, in many cases, spinal cord injury is the direct result of an outside force. Most prominently, auto accidents account for nearly half of all SCI in the United States.
Lehigh, Pennsylvania Spinal Injury Lawyers Have More than Three Decades of Experience
At the law offices of Reiff & Bily, our spinal cord injury attorneys have more than 36 years of experience providing personal injury litigation representation to men and women with SCI throughout Lehigh County. A Lehigh County spinal cord injury lawyer from Reiff & Bily can help you prepare and file a claim, aggressively represent your interests in court, and work toward obtaining justice and fair compensation for your suffering. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation, please call our law firm at (215) 274-0072 or contact us online.