How To Deal With A Spinal Cord Injury: Recovery and Legal Rights

By: Frances R. McDermott, Esq. & Harry M. Roth, Esq.

Oct 25, 2023

What is a spinal cord injury?

The spinal cord is a part of the body’s central nervous system. It is a long, thin structure that runs from your brainstem to your lower back. The spinal cord comprises nervous tissue that delivers messages to the peripheral nerves throughout the body. These messages activate our motor, sensory and autonomic functions. A spinal cord injury involves damage to any part of the spinal cord, including the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord called cauda equina.

Spinal cord injuries can range from minor and temporary to severe and permanent. Minor spinal cord injuries may result in tingling and loss of strength in the extremities. More severe injuries can result in devastating losses of strength, feeling and other body functions. These losses can have profound mental, emotional and social impacts on the person suffering from the injury, as well as family and loved ones. The economic and emotional toll on someone who has suffered a severe spinal cord injury can be overwhelming. Someone suffering from a spinal cord injury must receive appropriate medical treatment, rehabilitation and therapies.

Most spinal cord injuries are the result of motor vehicle crash, fall, assault or sports injuries. Often, someone suffering from a spinal cord injury needs the guidance of a lawyer. A lawyer can help navigate the person’s right to assert a claim against the person, driver, or business who may be responsible for the injury and obtain compensation to meet the person’s needs.

Spinal cord injuries can look very different. Compression of the spinal cord can be temporary and mild, resulting in short-term weakness, pain and tingling. More severe injuries can result in paralysis of the lower body (paraplegia), paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegia) and loss of control of bodily functions such as breathing or elimination of bodily waste. Trauma includes bruising, compression, or tearing of the spinal cord. The spinal cord can be compressed or damaged by tumor growth. If the vascular supply to the spinal cord is interrupted by trauma or surgery, there can be tissue death, known as infarction, because of the lack of oxygen-carrying blood to the spinal cord.

When a spinal cord injury is the result of careless driving, medical malpractice, unsafe conditions causing falls or defective products, consulting with a lawyer experienced in handling spinal cord injury cases is critical to ensure the recovery of compensation necessary to provide for the care, therapies and other needs the injured person and their family face.

Spinal cord injury lawsuits

Whenever someone is injured by the negligence of another person, a company or a defective product, they may have a right to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damage suffered because of that injury. Each state has specific periods for bringing these lawsuits called the statutes of limitations. If you or a loved one is injured, knowing the statute of limitations where you live is essential. The failure to start a lawsuit within the statute of limitations period could cost you the right to recover from those responsible for your injuries. Understanding a lot is going on after a severe injury, it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to understand your rights best.

What do I need to prove to have a spinal cord injury case?

An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will investigate the circumstances giving rise to your injury. To prove a spinal cord injury lawsuit, a person or a business must have owed you a duty and violated that duty. With the help of medical and other experts, lawyers who understand these injuries will help develop evidence about the incident giving rise to your injury, the damage to your spinal cord, the extent of the injuries, and the disability and care you will require.

What damages can I recover in a spinal cord injury case?

Damages in spinal cord injury cases fall into two main categories: economic and pain and suffering. Economic damages are financial damages: medical bills, therapy costs, life care expenses the injured person has incurred and will require for the rest of their lives and the loss of their past and future earnings. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will consult with experts in the field of spinal cord treatment and recovery to develop a life care plan. The second damage category is less tangible and includes physical pain and emotional suffering resulting from injuries. These include all the emotional and psychological impacts that result from the significant material losses that can result from a spinal cord injury. Confronting these losses can be challenging, which is why it is crucial to work with lawyers whom you trust to listen to you and help you prepare for the future.

What to do if you suffered a spinal cord injury

If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury, you must know your options and rights. Finding a good law office can make a huge difference to the outcome of your case. The law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth have many years of experience guiding clients through these options and fighting on their behalf. At CPR Law, we strive to make lasting impacts in our clients’ lives by seeking justice for them and by doing what’s right. Contact our team of lawyers at (888) 972-0072 to schedule your consultation today.