Spinal Cord Injury Claim
A work-related spinal cord injury can be life-changing. Suddenly, your days are filled with medical appointments, physical and occupational therapy, and an uncertain future. As your medical bills add up and your paychecks disappear, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, Dewberry Law is here to help. We assist injured workers in California with their complicated spinal cord injury claims and guide them through the workers’ compensation system. Keep reading to learn more about our spinal cord injury practice.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spinal cord is the nervous system’s communication system. It contains bundles of nerves and other structures that pass messages from the brain to your other body parts. It runs through a narrow canal in your vertebrae (the bony structures that support your body and protect your spinal cord).
When your spinal cord is injured, the brain’s messages can’t effectively pass through it. There are two general types of spinal cord injuries:
- Complete spinal cord injury: the cord is completely severed, preventing any communication from the brain
- Incomplete spinal cord injury: the cord is partially severed or damaged, causing loss of some, but not all, function
Depending on the severity and location of your spinal cord injury, you might suffer paralysis, loss of motor skills, bladder and bowel dysfunction, pain, numbness, tingling, and difficulty breathing.
Cervical and thoracic injuries are the most common, in that order. Thoracic injuries are less common because the ribcage at that part of the body offers more protection in that area. Injury location determines how the body is impacted.
- Cervical injury can result in partial or full paralysis in the arms and legs.
- Thoracic injury can result in partial of full paralysis in the legs.
- Lumbar injury can result in a partial or full paralysis in the legs.
- Sacral injuries can result in bowel or bladder weakness or sexual dysfunction. It may also result in paralysis to the hips and legs.
Each Spinal Cord Injury Is Unique
It’s important to note that every spinal cord injury is unique. If you didn’t suffer paralysis, you might experience a fuller recovery. Moreover, technology is advancing quickly, improving the quality of life for even the most disabled spinal cord injury victims. However, the rehabilitation and recovery process isn’t easy.
It’s important to have a strong support network around you after a spinal cord injury. If you suffered your injury at work, this team should include a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer. A lawyer can manage your workers’ comp claims in Pasadena while you focus on your recovery and rehabilitation. If you’re ready to consult with an experienced spinal cord lawyer, contact Dewberry Law today.
What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
When a vertebra is dislodged or broken, it can press on the spinal cord, causing damage or completely severing the cord. Other times, swelling and internal bleeding can put pressure on the cord, thus damaging it.
Most of us associate spinal cord injuries with a sudden trauma, like a car accident. While trauma can cause a spinal cord injury, other causes are less dramatic. They might include the following:
- Construction and industrial accidents: when you work in a dangerous environment that involves unprotected heights, heavy equipment, and intense labor, there are many ways you could damage your spine and nervous system.
- Degenerative disc disease and arthritis: the wear and tear of repetitive work can cause arthritis and degenerative changes in your spine. In severe cases, these conditions can damage your spinal cord.
- Falling objects: when an object falls on you, it can easily damage your spine and spinal cord
- Head trauma: your spinal cord is particularly vulnerable in your neck.
- Slip and falls: hitting a floor or other object can damage your vertebrae and spinal cord. Falling from a significant height increases your risk of a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are often so severe that the signs and symptoms are immediately noticeable. They can include:
- Severe back pain
- Pressure in the neck, back, or head
- Weakness or diminished coordination
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of control of the bowel or bladder
- Difficulty with balance or walking
- Breathing problems
- Unnatural positioning of the back, hips, or neck
Although many people can heal or recover from spinal cord injuries, people often suffer symptoms for the rest of their lives. That may include:
- Reliance on a respirator
- Dysfunction of the bowel or bladder
- Frequent pneumonia
- Bedsores from paralysis
- Chronic pain
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Mood swings or personality changes
- Sexual dysfunction or infertility
Types of Paralysis Caused by Spinal Cord Injuries
Severe spinal cord injuries can result in total or partial paralysis. There are various types of paralysis that our spinal cord injury lawyer is familiar with, including:
- Quadriplegia or Tetraplegia – full paralysis of the arms, legs, and pelvic organs.
- Paraplegia – paralysis of all or part of the pelvic organs, legs, and trunk.
Common Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries typically require significant medical attention. They can cause immediate injuries as well as ongoing problems. The severity of the injury will dictate the length, complexity, and result of treatment. Common treatments for spinal cord injuries include:
- Emergency Care – This may include immediate immobilization by first responders or surgery in a hospital. Trauma or spine injury centers may also provide initial care.
- Ongoing Care – Once stable, a person may require treatment from an array of professionals, such as physical therapists, rehabilitation therapist, occupational therapists, dieticians, psychologists, and more.
- Rehabilitation – Spinal injuries often require treatment to seek normalcy once more. Your goal will be to work with doctors and therapists to function and be able to complete activities of daily living for yourself. However, you may need help with ongoing living assistance.
Can I Get California Workers’ Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury?
If your spinal cord injury is related to your job, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. You might be eligible for a series of valuable workers’ compensation benefits, including the following:
- Payment of your reasonable and necessary medical bills, including rehabilitation, nursing care, and mental health counseling
- Purchasing your necessary assistive devices, such as wheelchairs
- Temporary and permanent disability benefits
- Death benefits if your injuries are fatal
To learn more about the exact benefits you might receive, schedule an appointment with a California workers’ compensation attorney.
Speak With a Pasadena Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
A workers’ compensation claim for a spinal cord injury can be incredibly complex. You’ll need to assess your medical records, the facts surrounding your injury, evaluate your ability to work, and apply California laws and regulations. Rather than struggle with all of these tasks — while simultaneously undergoing intensive medical treatment — contact Dewberry Law. We provide our clients with aggressive legal representation and compassionate advice. And we never charge attorney’s fees unless they make a financial recovery.