Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating personal injuries. They can result in extreme pain and loss of bodily function; they can cost a small fortune to treat and manage.
Most people associate spinal cord injuries with sports like Football. However, most spinal cord injuries happen from accidents as mundane as a slip and fall.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, approximately 12,000 people sustain spinal cord injuries in the United States every year. Many of these are life-threatening and lead to some sort of paralysis or loss of bodily function.
What are the Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries are either “complete” or “incomplete.”
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
The human central nervous system is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. An individual suffers a complete spinal cord injury if they suffer damage that prevents the nerves below the point of injury from communicating with the brain.
This kind of damage to the spinal cord almost always results in one of the following forms of paralysis:
Paraplegia is the paralysis of the legs and pelvic region. This type of paralysis typically occurs when the lower part of an individual’s spinal cord is severed, and the brain can no longer carry signals to the nerves that control the legs.
Tetraplegia (or quadriplegia) is the paralysis of the arms, hands, torso, legs, and pelvic region. This type of paralysis generally occurs when an individual’s spinal cord is severed around their neck, cutting off communication between the brain and all parts of the body below that level.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
A person sustains an incomplete spinal cord injury if they damage their spine in a way that allows a reduced number of nerve signals to be sent along the spinal cord to the brain.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries almost never result in paraplegia or tetraplegia. However, individuals who suffer this type of spinal cord damage often have limited motor function below the level of the injury. The amount of motor function a person retains is highly dependent on the level of the injury.
What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?
People with spinal cord injury experience a wide range of symptoms. Some of these symptoms are relatively minor and easily treatable, while others are long-term and life-altering.
A short sampling of some of the most common symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Paralysis or loss of movement
- Bowel and bladder control issues
- Loss of sensation throughout the body
- Pressure sores
- Low blood pressure
- Increased risk of developing blood clots
- Difficulty breathing
If you have recently been in an accident and have lost some motor or sensory function, you should speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. You may have a spinal cord injury. Your doctor should be able to diagnose your issue and provide you with an effective treatment plan.
What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a wide variety of accidents and activities. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, the leading causes of injuries of this nature are:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car accidents account for just under half of all spinal cord injuries reported in the United States every year.
- Falls: Falls from ladders and other elevated locations can easily result in spinal cord damage. Around 31% of all spinal cord accidents are caused by falls.
- Violence: Gunshots, knife wounds, and other acts of violence account for about 13% of reported spinal cord injuries.
- Sports: Full-contact sports such as football and hockey cause approximately 10% of all spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord injuries may have different causes, but their fallout is usually the same: disruptive harms, debilitating pain, and costly medical treatments.
How Long Do I Have to File a Spinal Cord Lawsuit in Texas?
It is not always possible to file a lawsuit in the immediate aftermath of a spinal cord injury. Many people need weeks or months to recover before they can even begin to think about claiming compensation.
Under 16.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, most people who suffer spinal cord injuries in Texas can wait for up to two years to begin the legal process. In most cases, the statute of limitations countdown begins on the date the accident occurred. However, if the victim did not discover their spinal cord injury until weeks or months later, the timer starts on the day that they were diagnosed.
If possible, you should not delay your personal injury case. The longer you wait to file, the harder it is to gather evidence, locate witness, and investigate other aspects of your case.
Contact a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
Jason Stephens, founding attorney of Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, has been helping Texas residents fight for compensation for their spinal cord injuries for over 22 years. Jason Stephens would love to do the same for you. To get started, just give him a call at (817) 420-7000 or contact his law office in Fort Worth online to schedule a free consultation.