Our Honolulu spinal cord injury attorneys at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner know how debilitating and life-changing a serious back or neck injury can be. To remedy an injury of this magnitude, a major investment of both time and resources may be required from your attorney. Our legal team works on a contingency basis, meaning we will not collect fees to cover the costs of the trial, expert witnesses, doctors, scene reconstruction, and other expenses unless you recover compensation.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries
Currently, there are an estimated 250,000 people in the U.S. living with a spinal cord injury. Auto accidents are responsible for most spinal cord injury cases in Hawaii, and most of these accidents occur due to another driver’s negligent actions. It can take months and even years to recover from spinal injuries, and often the person’s quality of life is forever altered. If the spinal cord injury causes quadriplegia or paraplegia, they will remain disabled for the rest of his or her life.
A multitude of medical problems can accompany a spinal cord injury, including:
- Respiratory ailments
- Physical impairments (sensory and motor losses)
- Bowel and bladder complications
- Psychosocial disorders, such as severe depression
Legal representation in spinal cord injury cases
If you or someone you love has a debilitating spinal cord injury, the lawyers at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner can offer the skilled legal advice essential to settling your case. Severe spinal injuries are irreversible and can lead to life-long paralysis. The importance of finding a legal remedy to such a serious situation cannot be overemphasized. People who have been injured due to another’s negligence deserve compensation, especially when the recovery is as arduous and costly as that involved with spinal cord injuries.
Types Of Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is a group of nerve fibers and tissue extending down the length of the spine. The spinal cord and the brain comprise the body’s central nervous system. Impulses are sent to and from the brain to various parts of the body through the nerve fibers within the spinal cord. When an injury causes damage to the spinal cord, communication between the brain and the rest of the body is hindered to a greater or lesser degree. Individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries generally experience diminished sensation in body parts below the point of impact, a lack of mobility, and reduced functionality of internal body organs. An acute spinal cord injury (SCI) can cause bruising, a partial tear, or a full tear of the spinal cord. This type of injury often results in permanent disability or death.
Two primary types of spinal cord injury
There are two primary types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. When an individual sustains a complete SCI, he or she will have no sensation, mobility, or functionality below the point of injury. Complete spinal cord injuries affect both sides of the body and can occur at any point on the spinal cord.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries can result from several causes. Number one on the list is automobile accidents. If you have suffered spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you will likely have questions about car accident insurance and need legal assistance in dealing with insurance companies.
We can help. Please call us at 808-537-2525 for a free consultation.
The full list of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries includes:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sports injuries
- Industrial or work-related accidents
- Medical Negligence
- Birth Injuries
- Disease (such as Polio or Spina Bifida)
- Assaults and other types of physical violence
- Individuals whose bodies have been weakened due to a pre-existing physical condition, such as arthritis, will be more susceptible to sustaining spinal cord trauma in what would otherwise be considered as a minor accident or injury.
How spinal cord injuries are classified
Spinal cord injuries are classified by the type and extent of motor and sensory function loss. The spinal cord is protected by bones called vertebrae. This makes it convenient to classify the spinal cord in segments by the corresponding vertebrae and nerves.
Cervical injuries – Cervical injuries are those spinal cord injuries to either the C1 through C7 cervical vertebrae or the C1 through C8 cervical nerves. Cervical injuries can lead to quadriplegia or a complete loss of function or sensation in a person’s chest, arms, and legs. The respiratory system as well as bowel and bladder control can be impacted.
Thoracic injuries – Thoracic injuries occur to the T1 through T12 vertebrae or T1 through T12 nerves found in the chest and rib cage. These types of injuries primarily affect the chest or legs. Injuries sustained in the upper thoracic area can impact breathing. Thoracic injuries may lead to paraplegia, or in more severe cases, quadriplegia.
Lumbar injuries – Lumbar injuries are those sustained to the L1 through L5 vertebrae or to the L1 through L5 nerves. The lumbar area is located from the chest to the pelvis. Injuries to this portion of the spinal cord can affect the hips and legs, as well as bowel and bladder control. In more serious cases, this type of injury can result in triplegia or paraplegia.
Sacral injuries – Sacral injuries are injuries that occur to the spinal cord located between the pelvis and the end of the spine. As with lumbar injuries, injuries to the S1 through S5 vertebrae or to the S1 through S5 nerves can have an impact on a person’s hips, legs, bowel, and bladder control. This type of injury can also cause temporary or permanent triplegia or paraplegia.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury
Not all people with spinal cord injuries experience the same type of symptoms or level of injury. The point of impact, severity of impact, pre-existing conditions, and other factors all contribute to the symptoms that an individual experiences. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of mobility in the chest, trunk, arms, or legs
- Loss of sensation or feeling in the chest, trunk, arms, or legs
- Stiffness or tightening of muscles
- Muscle spasms or exaggerated reflex activities
- Significant pain or stinging sensation
- Difficulty breathing
- Significant increase or decrease in heart rate or blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Sexual dysfunction or sensitivity
Should you or your loved one experience extreme pain or pressure in your back, neck or head, paralysis, loss of sensation in your extremities, a complete loss of bowel or bladder control, difficulty maintaining balance or walking, impaired breathing or if you notice any deformity in your neck or back, seek emergency medical attention at once. Any individual who sustains an injury to the neck, back or head should seek medical assistance immediately. Delay in seeking treatment could lead to further complications.
Rehabilitating Spinal Cord Injuries
The problem with spinal cord injuries is that damage to the spinal cord is irreversible. There are, however, a variety of treatments and medical drugs that can help improve functionality of the remaining nerves and promote nerve cell regeneration. After an individual has sustained a SCI, it is important to begin a rehabilitation program as soon as possible. The goal is to help the spinal cord injury survivor regain the highest level of functionality and independence possible. As an individual becomes more self-sufficient and regains mobility, a dramatic improvement in his or her quality of life will often be seen.
Success at rehabilitating spinal cord injuries depends greatly on:
- The type and extent of a person’s injury
- The impairments he or she is currently experiencing and overall health
- The injured person’s attitude and family support
Issues addressed in a spinal cord injury rehab program
The scope of a rehabilitation program after a spinal cord injury depends on the extent of the injuries. People with quadriplegia will require long-term, around the clock care. Many will also require a ventilator or some other type of respiratory support, as well as a powered wheelchair to get around. With extensive work, even those with a significant injury may be able to regain some level of independence and mobility.
Call the spinal cord attorneys at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner
If you or someone you love has experienced a spinal cord injury, our personal injury attorneys have the experience and expertise to provide you with the legal representation and support assistance you’ll need. If your injury is the result of another person’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional wrongdoing, you may have a legal right to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
If we can help, please call us at 808-537-2525 for a free consultation.