For more than 35 years, our attorneys have worked closely with spine injury victims and their families in Chicago, Waukegan and throughout Illinois. We understand the medical and legal issues that arise in these cases. We can put our experience and insights to work for you right away.
When you are ready to take legal action, please call or connect with us online. We can provide a free, timely and confidential review of your case and answer any questions you may have about your legal rights and options.
SHOULD I HIRE A LAWYER FOR A SPINE INJURY?
As you read on, you will learn more about spine injury and the costs associated with treatment of this potentially devastating type of injury. As you will see, the physical, emotional and financial impact can be immense.
This is why it is important to contact a lawyer if you or a family member has suffered spine injury due to the careless or reckless acts of another. You will find that an attorney can play a crucial role in helping you to move on with your life after suffering a serious spine injury.
AT SALVI, SCHOSTOK & PRITCHARD P.C., WE CAN HELP YOU BY:
- Conducting a thorough investigation of your accident.
- Identifying the party or parties who should be held liable for your injury.
- Reviewing medical records and consulting with experts who can help us to determine the extent of your spinal damage and the pain and suffering you have experienced.
- Calculating the costs of your injury and determining how much should be sought on your behalf.
- Making sure your claim for compensation is filed in an accurate, timely manner.
- Dealing directly with the insurance company and seeking a full and fair settlement.
- If needed, going to court to pursue a judgment that fully compensates you.
- Structuring settlements to ensure your long-term needs are met.
We take a team approach to serving our clients. Our attorneys and staff members work with highly skilled investigators, accident specialists, medical experts and others. We believe that those resources can make a significant difference in the outcome of our clients’ cases.
If an insurance company has presented you with a settlement offer, we strongly caution against accepting it until you have met with an attorney first. You do not want to sign away your right to seek full and fair compensation for all of your losses.
UNDERSTANDING THE SPINE
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in an accident and suffered injury to the spine, you may be confused about the nature of the injury. It may help you to get a better understanding about the anatomy of the spine.
The spine and brain form the central nervous system. The spine itself consists of two parts: The spinal column and spinal cord.
The spinal column consists of 33 disc-shaped bones called vertebrae. They are primarily connected to each other by muscles and ligaments in an S-shaped curve. These bones protect the spinal cord, which is a collection of nerves running down the center of one’s back. These nerves carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body, including the arms and legs.
The nerves within the spinal cord are called upper motor neurons. Thirty-one nerve pairings branch off from the spinal cord to the arms, legs and other parts of the body. These are called lower motor neurons.
TYPES OF SPINE INJURY
When the spine is injured, a person may lose all or partial feeling and movement in the area below the point of the injury. The type of injury will depend on the extent to which the nerves have been damaged. There are generally two types of spine injury:
Incomplete – A person maintains some level of feeling and motor control in the impacted area.
Complete – A person loses all sensation and control of body movements in the affected part of the body.
When a person suffers spine injury, surgery may be conducted to repair the nerves through techniques such as nerve grafting or nerve transfer.
LEVELS OF SPINE INJURY
When your doctor describes the level of spine injury, the doctor is describing the point along the spinal column/cord where the injury occurred. The higher the point of injury is, the more serious it will be.
The vertebrae are divided into five regions, and these regions are used to describe the level of the spine injury. Those regions are:
- Cervical – Seven bones, numbered C1 to C7, which are located in the neck area. These bones support the head’s weight. A cervical spinal cord injury will result in total or partial loss of feeling and use in both the arms and legs. This condition is called tetraplegia or quadriplegia.
- Thoracic – Twelve bones, numbered T1 to T12, which are in the mid-back region. These bones hold the rib cage and protect one’s heart and lungs. A thoracic spinal cord injury may result in either tetraplegia or paraplegia, which is the loss of feeling and motor control in the legs.
- Lumbar – Five bones, numbered L1 to L5, which are found in the lower back. These bones bear the body’s weight and absorb stress when lifting and carrying. A lumbar injury typically may result in paraplegia.
- Sacrum – Five bones, numbered S1 to S5, which are located in the pelvic area. These bones connect the hip bones to the spine. These bones are fused together. A sacral spinal cord injury can cause paralysis or weakness in the legs and hips.
- Coccyx – Four bones that form what is generally called the “tailbone.” These bones are located in the lower pelvic region. They are fused as well.
Another type of spine injury involves the gel-filled discs which separate the vertebrae. These discs keep the vertebrae from rubbing together. If one of these discs is compressed, it may bulge and cause great pain. This often called a “herniated disc.”
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF A BACK INJURY?
You or a loved one may have suffered spine injury in an accident, but you may not recognize the severity of the injury. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to certain “red flags” that indicate spine injury and to take appropriate steps.
SYMPTOMS OF SPINE INJURY ARE:
- Loss of consciousness
- Shock or disorientation
- Pain or pressure in the head, neck or back
- Weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs
- Tingling, numbness or loss of feeling in the hands, fingers, feet and/or toes
- Difficulty with breathing
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Problems with balance and coordination.
- Twisted or oddly positioned neck or back
If the accident has just occurred, check for vital signs, keep the body stable and call for emergency medical attention. A spine injury victim should not be moved or allowed to sit up and try walking.
In some cases, it may take a few days or weeks after a person has been in an accident for symptoms of spinal damage to appear. In other words, nagging or chronic back pain may be a sign of a severe spinal injury.
For this reason, it always important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident and to go in for a follow-up check shortly after the initial visit. The doctor may order an X-ray, MRI or other imaging tests to diagnose the injury.
WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF BACK INJURY?
A traumatic blow to the spine is the most common cause of spine injury. This damage may occur in many different ways. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the leading causes of spine injury are:
So, for instance, a spine injury may result in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, or it could result from a fall from a roof, ladder, forklift or scaffolding at a construction or other work site. A slip and fall due to a dangerous property condition or due to the neglect of a nursing home staff may also result in damage to the spine.
The NSCISC reports that an estimated 12,000 spinal cord injuries occur every year in the U.S., with young and middle-aged men being the most common victims. More than a quarter-million Americans currently live with some form of spinal damage, the NSCISC states.
WHAT COSTS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY?
The severity of the spine injury that you or a loved one has suffered, and whether complications arise, will bear on the cost of treatment. Complications that may arise include pressure sores, high blood pressure or blood clots, urinary tract infections, spasticity and depression.
In most cases, treatment can be very expensive. The NSCISC estimates that the average costs of spine injury are:
AVERAGE YEARLY COST OF TREATMENT
Treatment generally will include:
- IMMEDIATE CARE – A spine injury patient may need surgery and hospitalization in an acute care unit for a prolonged period.
- REHABILITATION – The focus of rehabilitation will be on preventing further complications, regaining function and helping a patient to get back daily life activities such as work, school or interacting with the community. A team that consists of physical therapists, nurses, psychologists and case managers may be assigned to a patient.
- ASSISTIVE DEVICES – A spine injury victim may need a manual or electric wheelchair. In some cases, the wheelchair may need to be a voice- or breath-controlled device.
- LIVING NEEDS – A patient may need to live in an assisted living facility or receive ongoing home health care. The patient may also need to be transported in a special van, and changes to the home may be needed such as adding ramps and installing special showers or baths.
- MEDICATION – The chronic pain that results from a spine injury can require ongoing medication. Complications such as infections, blood clots and high blood pressure may require medication as well
The additional cost that should be considered is the loss of income and a spine injury victim’s diminished ability to earn wages in the future. For instance, a person who engaged in manual labor such as construction or factory work may never be able to earn a living again or may need education and training for a different line of work.
WHAT IS THE CLAIMS PROCESS FOR A SPINE INJURY?
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., the process for recovering compensation in your spine injury case will start with a free consultation. We can learn about your case during this meeting, and you can feel free to ask as many questions as you have.
We will keep you updated throughout your case as we move on to investigating the accident that caused your spine injury and as we prepare a claim on your behalf.
We can deal directly with the insurance companies while you focus on you or your loved one’s physical recovery. We will seek a settlement that avoids the need to go to court. However, if a trial is needed, you can count on our highly skilled attorneys to be ready to fight for you.
GET HELP TODAY FROM OUR CHICAGO SPINE INJURY ATTORNEYS
If you or a loved one has suffered spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another, you deserve to have your case thoroughly investigated and litigated by an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., without delay. We have an impressive record of securing maximum compensation for catastrophic injury victims and their families in Chicago, Waukegan and throughout Illinois. We want to help you, too.
Simply call or reach us online today to get started with your free case review.
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