Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal Cord Injuries; Paralysis; Quadriplegia; Paraplegia

Wheelchair and Gurney

The spinal cord is a sheath of nerves running runs from the brain all the way down the back. Nature knows how important that bundle of nerves is. That is why nature coats it in the protective, hard "vertebrae." When the vertebrae is ruptured or broken, and the delicate spinal cord is severed or severely damaged, paralysis from the point of damage downward often occurs. Spinal cord injuries are devastating.

You can think of the spinal cord as like a computer. When you want to move a part of your body, such as an armor a leg, your brain sends a message by way of the spinal cord "computer" to the nerves in that part of the body. That is what makes you control your body's movements. When your spinal cord is severely damaged, it is like a hard–drive crash that can't be repaired. The "computer" no longer sends messages to the limbs and other parts of the body below the damage point.

Soon after the injury, many victims of paralysis are given hope that they may recover part or all of their mobility. Sadly, in many cases no or only limited motion is recovered. But recovery is still considered possible during the first 18 months after the injury. Modern medicine is a marvel, and many doctors believe that one day we will be able to "cure" paralysis in many cases.

Let's hope so! Paralysis is devastating. About 11,000 people a year join the "club" of paraplegics. The most common cause is a "traumatic" event, such as a car accident, motorcycle collision, horseback riding fall, gunshot wound, or other sports accidents. Physically active people are more likely to end up with a spinal cord injury.

The kind and degree of paralysis hinges most often on where the injury is, and in how severe it is. The worst kind of paralysis results from a total severing of the spinal cord. If the spinal cord is only partially severed, the victim may have, or regain, some mobility and sensation. some movement or feeling may remain.

Paralysis, including paraplegia, may cause sexual dysfunction, pressure sores, bladder and bowl control loss, pressure sores, and complications due to lack of mobility and confinement. Depression is common. Life expectancy is often shortened by paralysis.

Because these injuries are so devastating, and therefore often deserving extremely high compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical expenses, nursing care treatment and other items of damages, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney who understands not only how to present your injury to a jury (or to an insurance adjuster) in a compelling, empathy–provoking way, with the use of "day–in–the–life" videos and expert testimony, but also an attorney experienced at "chasing down" all possible avenues of insurance coverage, liable parties, and other sources of compensation. All this will ensure the maximum recovery for this terrible injury.

Pressure ulcers (also called pressure sores and decubitus ulcers) are a complication of paralysis. About 1/3 of people with spinal cord injury will develop at least one pressure sore in the early days after the initial injury and more than half will get them at some point later on. The ulcers usually begin in areas where the skin is close to the bone, such as at the hip. The skin’s blood circulation gets pinched off, and the body sends more blood to the area to try to compensate. This results in swelling, which adds even more pressure on the blood vessels. Although these sores are mostly preventable, they can happen even to those who exercise good care with good equipment. Once the sores appear, it takes time, care and even surgery or skin grafting, to heal them. Paralysis victims also suffer from other health complications.

The Auburn, New York spinal cord injury lawyers of Michaels & Smolak have recovered millions of dollars for clients suffering from paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia and for other injuries. If you or a loved one has been a victim of an accident causing a spinal cord injury, CONTACT US for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and maximize your compensation.