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Spinal Cord Injuries Affect Your Body And Your Wallet

Damage to the vertebrae

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most devastating, life-long injuries you can suffer — both emotionally and economically. SCI occurs when there is damage to the nerves connected to the vertebrae, which carry messages to and from the brain and the entire body. SCI can be a minor bruise or a partial or total tear, usually caused by force to or penetration of the body. Indiana personal injury law allows victims of another person’s negligent or willful, harmful act to receive compensation for economic and emotional losses due to injuries like SCI.

Physical effects of SCI

It is estimated that more than 12,000 people sustain SCI each year, and vehicular-related accidents and wrecks account for 36.5 percent of new injuries. Usually, the higher the site of the damage on the spinal cord, the more disabling the injury. These injuries can occur to the:

  • High cervical (neck) — This usually results in quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs). Patients may need a ventilator to breathe and cannot cough or control bladder and bowel movements. They may not be able to speak, and cannot perform everyday activities, such as eating, dressing, bathing and engaging in sexual activities
  • Low cervical —This varies, depending on the site of injury, but there may be some movement in the wrists and hands. Patients usually can speak and breathe properly, but cannot perform everyday activities without assistance.
  • Thoracic (chest) — Usually, this results in paraplegia with the ability to use a manual wheelchair. Muscles, chest, back and abdomen are affected, but arms and hands are usually not impaired. Patients cannot control bladder and bowel movements.
  • Lumbar (lower back) — This includes loss of hip and leg function. Patients may be able to walk with leg braces, but cannot control bladder and bowel movements.

There are two types of SCI. Complete injuries result in no sensation or movement below the site of injury, and both sides of the body are equally affected. Incomplete injuries result in some function below the site of injury, usually where one side of the body has more movement, while the other side has more sensation.

Economic effects of SCI

Costs associated with SCI vary greatly, depending on the patient’s age at the time of injury, the severity of the injury and recovery prognosis. Bills for hospital visits, physical therapy, in-home care, wheelchairs and ventilators can pile up quickly. Medical expenses can reach more than $1 million for the first year and $181,000 for each subsequent year of a high cervical SCI — not including lost wages or other benefits. Experienced Indianapolis personal injury lawyers can help you recover those damages.

Contact us for a reputable personal injury lawyer in Indiana

If you or a loved one suffered a SCI, you are probably facing economical and emotional challenges, especially if the injury resulted from someone else’s wrongdoing. The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm have the experience in and knowledge of Indiana personal injury law to fight for you. Call for a free consultation about your legal options.