Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Spinal Cord Injury
Next to your brain, your spinal cord is one of the most essential parts of your overall body function. Any injury to the spinal cord can be catastrophic, affecting your ability to interact with the world and live independently. As a victim of a spinal cord injury, you may be dealing with anything from daily pain to permanent disability.
If you have suffered from a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another person, you need an experienced attorney on your side. At Munley Law, our Pittsburgh spinal cord injury attorneys have experience in complex personal injury litigation. We can work with you to demand the justice you are owed for your injuries, obtaining the compensation you need to recover.
Reach out to Munley Law right away to discuss your spinal injury case. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. Contact us today online or when you call 855-866-5529, available 24/7.
The Facts on Spinal Cord Injuries
Every year in the United States, an estimated 18,000 people suffer from a traumatic spinal injury or SCI. Of these injuries, an estimated 40% result from car or motorcycle accidents.
A year after the injury, only 13% of all people with SCIs find employment, and only one-third can find employment 20 years post-injury. In addition, people with SCIs are up to a five times higher risk of premature death than those without a spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injuries require extensive long-term care for recovery. Extensive and often painful medical care is needed to manage the neurological and physical problems common in spinal cord injuries. Even with proper care, only 1% of all spinal cord injury victims can expect to have a complete neurological recovery after initial discharge from the hospital.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
As mentioned, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spine injuries. Motor vehicle accidents themselves are common, and a catastrophic car or motorcycle accident can lead to severe spinal cord injury.
Other leading causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Falls – Representing 31% of all spinal cord injuries, falls from high places in construction work or even simple slip and fall incidents can lead to an SCI
- Acts of violence – SCIs from violence are typically from gunshot wounds or fights
- Sports and recreation – Football, ice hockey, wrestling, and diving are some sports activities with the highest risk of catastrophic injury to the spine
- Medical and surgical – Medical mistakes and malpractice are the cause behind an estimated 5% of spinal cord injuries
The majority of accidents leading to spinal cord injuries are preventable. They are specifically caused by negligence on the part of one or more parties. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer can help you hold those at fault accountable for your pain and suffering.
Types of Spinal Cord Damages
The spinal cord is composed of 31 pairs of spinal nerves and roots, which send information to and from the brain and your extremities. These nerves run through your 31 vertebrae, which protect the nerves from damage. Soft discs sit between each vertebra to allow the spin to move and absorb shock.
Despite these protections, a severe impact or twisting of the spine can damage the vertebrae of the spine, push disc tissue out of place, or sever the spinal cord. Even moving the spinal cord slightly out of place can cause significant damage.
The main types of spinal cord injuries include:
- Pinched nerves
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Soft tissue damage
- Hyperextension or compression injuries
- Complete or incomplete paraplegia
- Complete or incomplete quadriplegia
Since the spinal cord is such a core component of communication in your body, symptoms of spinal cord injuries can be severe and highly varied. The location and severity of the initial injury can drastically affect the eventual symptoms, and sometimes spinal cord injury symptoms aren’t immediately obvious. For spinal cord injuries in particular, nerve cells at the site of the injury can suddenly self-destruct days or weeks after the initial injury.
Some common presentations of spinal cord injury include:
- Chronic overall nerve pain
- Severe pain or pressure in the spine
- Headaches and nausea without a clear source
- Motor and sensory deficiencies, including weakness or paralysis
- Problems with bladder or bowel control, potentially leading to digestive conditions
- Involuntary muscle spasms
- Issues with sensing pain or temperature
- Breathing and cardiovascular complications, including heart and breathing rate
- Issues with metabolism, such as the ability to maintain weight
- Sexual dysfunction or cessation of all sexual function
In addition, victims of spinal cord injuries can develop bed sores or lose muscle and bone density from long periods of rest. Those with spine injuries are put at higher risk of other injuries after their recovery.
The Short and Long-Term Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord can involve years of recovery time. Medical care for a spinal cord injury can be costly, from the initial care at the time the injury occurred to long-term Neruo-Recovery rehabilitation.
Even when an injured victim can take the time to properly recover, a full recovery from a severe spinal cord injury is very rare. The spinal cord cannot heal like bone or most other tissue. Most victims of SCIs will require some form of long-term care or will otherwise see the rest of their lives altered.
In the long term, spinal cord injury victims may require:
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Long-term assistive devices, such as wheelchairs
- Assistance with feeding, toileting, and hygiene
- Medication for pain and antibiotics
- Repeated spinal surgeries and costs for hospital stays
- Mental health counseling
- Installment of in-home aids
- Home accessibility modifications, such as elevators or ramps
SCI victims with serious quadriplegia pay an average of one million dollars in medical care in the first year. A spinal cord injury resulting in any kind of altered motor function can cost an injured person an average of $347,000. These costs may reduce after the first year, but people living with the aftermath of a spinal cord injury will often still see high medical costs throughout their lives.
Spinal cord injury victims may also end up facing all of these mounting costs with a significant reduction in earning potential. As mentioned, only 13% of all people who have had a spinal cord injury were employed within one year after the injury. Taking time off of work to recover is costly, and some spinal cord injury victims may not be able to return to the same work they were doing before the injury.
Obtaining Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury in Pittsburgh
Due to the high costs that can result from a spinal cord injury, pursuing compensation from the negligent party is critical. Depending on the circumstances of your spinal cord injury, there may be several routes of compensation available to you after an accident.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
In many cases, filing an injury lawsuit against the negligent party is the most straightforward path to recovering compensation. Through a spinal cord injury lawsuit, you can recover economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages – Covers any directly calculable damages, such as current and future medical bills, lost wages and earning potential, and property damage
- Non-economic damages – Covers any damages without a direct dollar value, such as pain and suffering and loss of life enjoyment
In certain cases, punitive damages may be awarded. These are damages intended to penalize the negligent party for especially egregious actions and discourage future incidents.
One of the most important aspects of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is identifying all parties at fault in the claim. While the at-fault party may seem obvious in certain cases, sometimes additional parties can be held responsible for your injuries.
You may be able to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit against:
- The driver of a motor vehicle who caused a car accident
- The owner of a motor vehicle who allowed a high-risk driver to use their vehicle
- A negligent employer or company
- A landlord or property owner who neglected to upkeep their property
- A manufacturer or seller of a dangerous product
- A government entity
Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against any entity responsible comes with unique challenges. Your SCI lawyer will know how to identify all at-fault parties and the best methods to pursue an injury lawsuit against each party.
Workers’ Compensation Claim
Those in the construction industry in particular are at higher risk of spinal cord injuries, usually due to falls from high places or machinery accidents. If you were injured at a worksite, your workers’ compensation can cover your lost wages and medical bills as you recover.
However, it is important to note that your employer and any representatives for your workers’ compensation program are incentivized to reduce the claim they would owe to you as possible. Workers’ compensation can be difficult to file, and representatives will use any tools at their disposal to find a reason to deny your claim.
Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney when filing for workers’ compensation. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer can work to ensure your claim is correctly documented and filed. Your attorney can also negotiate with all involved parties while you take your time to focus on recovery.
Do I Need a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney?
While you are not required to hire an attorney for your spinal cord injury case, doing so will only help your claim. Without a lawyer, you will be left to deal with filing important documentation and negotiating with all parties on your own, at a time when you are also dealing with recovering from your injury. These other involved parties are invested in minimizing their responsibility – and claimable damages – owed to you.
An attorney with experience in SCI claims will know how to identify all the best avenues for compensation available to you. A lawyer knows how to navigate the legal system to deliver justice for your case. Most of all, an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will always strive to protect your best interests.
Our attorneys at Munley Law have utilized our nearly six decades of experience to help our clients win significant settlements and verdicts. We have worked with some of the most complex cases out there, and we continue to stay up to date on the newest laws and legal methods in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania.
Let Munley Law Fight for Your Justice
A spinal cord injury can dramatically alter the course of your entire life. You may need to change careers, rework parts of your home or car for accessibility, and manage pain for the rest of your life. All of this is on top of costly medical treatments in the short and long term.
At Munley Law, we understand the stakes involved in a spinal cord injury claim. We can perform a thorough investigation into your case to help you get the compensation you and your family deserve. Our attorneys do not require any fees for our services unless we win your case, meaning you do not have to pay anything out of pocket or upfront. That is part of our commitment to delivering justice to people throughout Pennsylvania.
Contact Munley Law today for a free, no-obligation case consultation with our legal team. We have offices in Pittsburgh and throughout Philadelphia. Reach out at 855-866-5529 or through our online form right away!