We know that spinal cord injuries (SCI) are life-changing, not just for the injured person but for their loved ones as well. These injuries can affect your ability to walk, talk, and eat, depending on the severity of the damage. With such a serious injury, the after effects often extend beyond physical hardship to mental and emotional pain as well.
With that in mind, it’s important to consider seeking legal representation if you’ve endured a spinal injury due to another person’s actions. Hiring an experienced South Carolina lawyer can ensure all the right questions are asked, and all the right legal steps are taken. Our attorneys here at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger want you to know that you’re not alone in this. We cannot undo your injury, but we will hold the responsible party accountable.
While the road ahead may be daunting in light of medical appointments, home modifications, and lost earnings, we want to do everything possible to take some of the burden off your shoulders and help you obtain justice.
What Is A Spinal Cord Injury?
An SCI is an injury to the bundle of nerves that run through your spine and carry messages from your brain to the rest of your body. When the spinal cord is damaged, the nerves that carry these messages are interrupted. Your brain may no longer be properly communicating with your body, limiting mobility and feeling below the injured area.
Depending on which area of the spinal cord was damaged, outcomes of a spinal cord injury can vary. Damage at the neck level (cervical spine injuries) are considered the most severe and can impair breathing and paralyze the person’s arms, legs, and trunk. This is known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. Injuries in the lower spine, or thoracic spine injuries, can result in loss of sensation or mobility in the legs and trunk, known as paraplegia.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
Many SCIs stem from the bones in your spine, or vertebrae, being crushed, dislocated, or damaged to the point that they push on or sever the nerve fibers in the spinal cord. This damage is often caused by sudden blows to the spine, like being hit by a drunk driver or falling down a flight of stairs.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the most common causes of SCIs from 2015 to 2017 included:
- Motor vehicle accidents (38.3%);
- Falls (31.6%);
- Violence (13.8%);
- Sports injuries (8.2%); and
- Medical/surgical mishaps (4.6%).
Costs of Living with a Spinal Cord Injury
If you’re reading this, and you or your loved one recently suffered a spinal cord injury, you are likely aware that medical bills and other expenses can add up quickly. The NSCISC states that the average hospital stay after an SCI is 11 days, followed by a stay at a rehabilitation center for approximately 34 days. Meaning, on average, a person who experienced an SCI is out of work for at least six weeks. Furthermore, they may no longer be able to perform the job they previously had.
Right from the start, a person suffering from a spinal cord injury faces financial instability that could continue throughout their lifetime. Though the average expenses associated with an SCI can vary greatly based on many different factors, the NSCISC provides estimates on average lifetime costs incurred with an injury to the spinal cord.
If injured at age 25, lifetime costs can range from $1,634,139 – if the person is motor functional at any level – to $4,891,398 for someone that has experienced high tetraplegia (an injury to the C1-C4 vertebrae).
How a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you have suffered an SCI due to someone else’s negligence, please know that you can hold the at-fault person or company accountable for their actions. A spinal cord injury lawyer can help you recover funds that not only reimburse your medical costs, but also compensate you for other legal damages such as mental anguish.
While some think hiring a lawyer can drag out the legal process, our experience is the often the opposite. Attorneys can help identify all responsible parties; work with experts to determine the lifetime costs of medical care and lost earnings; and can send time-sensitive demands to the insurance company to create pressure and avoid payment being delayed or denied. Not to mention, firms like ours are often in contact with the best medical providers in the region and can help ensure you get the absolute best care while recovering from your injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury in South Carolina, we are truly sorry for what you are going through. Please know that we are here to help and would be honored to assist you and your family during this difficult time. Contact our office for a free consultation by call 803-790-2800 or by using the live chat feature below.