A severe injury to the spinal cord is life altering and can lead to mental anguish, subsequent physical complications, and a mountain of medical expenses. According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause for these types of injuries. Any damage to the spinal cord can result in difficulty functioning even if the spinal cord has not been severed. The impact of these injuries depends on the intensity of the trauma, the location of the injury, as well as the overall health of the person injured.
Victims involved in car accidents that result in severe trauma to their spine have a much higher chance of avoiding permanent damage if they seek medical attention as quickly as possible. While the prognosis may not be set in stone during the weeks after a spinal cord injury, once the bleeding and swelling go down, doctors can learn the full extent of the injuries.
REDUCING RISK OF INJURY
“Car accidents are unpredictable and can’t always be prevented. There are ways to reduce your risk of getting seriously injured in a crash. It’s safer to drive a later model vehicle with the most up-to-date safety features. Always buckle up, drive the speed limit, don’t drink and drive, and never use your phone while you’re driving,” Brad Parker says.
Additional ways to reduce risk include:
- Check that children are in the proper car seats, booster seats, or well-fitted seatbelts.
- Make sure that your airbag is in operating condition. Do not drive a car that has previously been in an accident and has no functioning airbags.
- Pay attention to the road and the other road users around you. If you need to check your phone or send a message, pull over and stop.
- Get rest before getting behind the wheel. Some studies show that driving when you are tired is as dangerous as driving when drunk.
- Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. Without proper maintenance, your vehicle may suddenly stall or fail.
POTENTIAL SYMPTOMS BEYOND PARALYSIS
Paralysis is only one aspect of a serious spinal cord injury. Because your spinal cord is a crucial part of your central nervous system, damage to it can cause all sorts of symptoms and changes throughout your body.
Depending on the location and severity of your injury, you might experience symptoms like:
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel heat and cold
- Pain or intense stinging sensations at the site of the injury
- Difficulty breathing, coughing
- Skin problems, including rashes and bedsores, due to lack of activity
THE MENTAL TOLL
Most spinal cord injury survivors will suffer from some sort of mental health problems that include depression, anxiety, clinical-level stress, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Just as with physical problems, treatment for mental health issues is most effective when it’s given before symptoms even start. Your health care provider should inform you about mental health care options that can work in cooperation with your overall rehabilitation plan.
Friends and loved ones will be there for you, but they won’t have the experience and training of an experienced therapists or mental health professionals. Victims of traumatic injuries should know that they are never alone and can always talk to someone.
It’s important to realize the serious financial challenges that people who live with paralysis face. In addition to the medical bills associated with initial surgeries and treatments, there will be long-term costs associated. To accommodate life after paralysis, expensive changes may also have to be made at home, such as installing ramps, widening doorways, and purchasing devices that help you with daily tasks. All these various expenses add up quickly and can create serious financial stress.
If you’ve suffered a spinal injury because of someone else’s careless behavior, you shouldn’t have to bear these costs by yourself. You may be able to receive financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering by working with an experienced attorney and filing a personal injury claim.
One of the greatest benefits to hiring a board-certified attorney that has experience dealing with your type of injury is that they can focus on starting the case process while you focus on healing. Brad says, “The sooner an attorney is hired, the sooner they can begin their research, gathering names of witnesses and necessary documentation, and negotiating with others involved in your case.”
Give our office a call at 817-440-3888 or fill out our contact form for a no-charge consultation with our team to see how we can help you move forward after your accident.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.