A spinal cord injury that leaves you paralyzed is one of the most challenging and difficult injuries you can face. Tragically, far too many people know this all too well. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation found that nearly two percent of the U.S. population, or around five million people, were living with some form of paralysis.
Being paralyzed can severely limit your ability to take part in and enjoy many different activities. It also often prevents victims from working. If you’re unable to work and require expensive care for your injuries, you will also face a crushing financial toll.
If you’ve been partially or fully paralyzed because of someone else’s negligence, the Chicago paralysis attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can help you hold them accountable. We’ve recovered more than $1.5 billion on behalf of our clients, including the largest personal injury verdict for an individual in Illinois history.
We will work tirelessly to help you get the compensation you deserve while making the process as easy on you as possible. Call our Chicago office today or fill out our online contact form to get your free initial consultation.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the Shepherd Center, one of the country’s leading hospitals specializing in spinal cord injuries, there are two broad categories of spinal cord injuries. They are:
- Complete spinal cord injuries – In a complete spinal cord injury, the damage to the spine is permanent and won’t heal. Paraplegia occurs when a person is paralyzed from the waist down. Quadriplegia involves the loss of all four limbs and possibly all motor function from the neck down. Paraplegia and tetraplegia are often the results of a complete spinal cord injury.
- Incomplete spinal cord injuries – With incomplete spinal cord injuries, the impacted area is only partially damaged and may heal with time and proper treatment. The outcome of an incomplete spinal cord injury will depend on the severity of the injury, your medical history, and other factors.
In addition to complete vs. incomplete spinal cord injuries, these injuries can also be broken down further based on which area of the spinal cord is affected. Going roughly from most severe to least severe, the four levels of spinal cord injuries are:
- Cervical spinal cord injuries – Your cervical spinal cord is the area of the spine running from your neck to the base of your skull. Damage to this area of the spine could potentially impact all areas of your body below the neck. Quadriplegia is a common result of a cervical spinal cord injury.
- Thoracic spinal cord injuries – Moving down from the cervical spine, thoracic spinal cord injuries concern the area of your spine in your mid-to-upper back. Depending on the extent of the damage and where the injury occurs, arm and hand function may be retained, though you could lose function in your lower body.
- Lumbar spinal cord injuries – Further down on the spine, lumbar spinal cord injuries involve damage in the part of the spine running from the hips to the mid-back. You may need a wheelchair as a result of a lumbar spinal cord injury, though some people can walk with help from braces.
- Sacral spinal cord injuries – Lastly, sacral spinal cord injuries concern the lowest area of your spinal cord, which runs from your lower back to your hips. These injuries are generally the least severe among spinal cord injuries, and many people are able to walk after sustaining a sacral spinal cord injury. That said, a sacral spinal cord injury can still affect your hips, the back of your thighs, buttocks, and organs in the pelvic area.
Main Causes of Paralysis
Any hard blow to the spine can cause paralysis, so it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after any such injury. Here are a few of the most common causes of paralysis:
- Motor vehicle accidents – The impact from a car crash is easily enough to put intense pressure and strain on your spinal cord, leading to paralysis. In especially severe crashes, the spinal cord can even become severed, causing permanent damage. Motorcycle accident victims are more likely to be paralyzed from a car accident because riders can easily be ejected from their vehicle and land hard on their back. Truck accidents are also more likely to cause paralysis because large trucks hit with more force than cars and also sit higher off the road, so they hit victims higher on their spine.
- Falls – Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall cases are another common cause of paralysis. Landing hard on the wrong area of your back can put immense strain on your spine, leading to paralysis.
- Sports injuries – Getting hit at a bad angle while playing a sport can cause damage to the spine and lead to paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries – Paralysis can be the result of brain damage as well as damage to the spinal cord. A hard blow to the head, as well as other brain injuries like strokes or aneurysms, can lead to paralysis.
- Violent acts – A physical assault or gunshot wound can permanently damage the spine and cause paralysis.
- Medical malpractice – Medical malpractice paralysis may occur when a surgeon accidentally nicks the vertebrae during surgery.
How an Attorney Can Help Your Paralysis Case
Here’s how our attorneys can help you if you’ve been paralyzed due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior:
- Investigate your injury to determine who is responsible, as well as identify your potential financial recovery for the spinal cord injury
- Document your injuries and find other evidence to establish fault
- Handle all your communication and paperwork needs
- Begin settlement negotiations with the liable parties and their insurers while fighting for your maximum compensation
- File a paralysis lawsuit if the defendant is unwilling to pay you fair compensation for the injuries you have suffered
Contact Our Chicago Paralysis Lawyers Today
Suffering a spinal cord injury can be devastating. Getting rightful compensation for your injuries, however, can provide you with the resources you need to focus on your recovery. The last thing you should have to worry about right now is how to pay your medical bills or how to navigate a complex injury claim. Let us carry those burdens for you.
Call our Chicago paralysis lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. today to learn more about how we can help you, or you can visit our contact page to get your free case review.