Chester County Spinal Injury Attorney
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents and motorcycle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for more than 40 percent of all new spinal cord injuries annually. Among those over the age of 65, falls are the primary cause of spinal cord injuries. The remaining causes of spinal cord injuries include acts of violence, sports and recreation injuries, alcohol use and disease. Spinal cord injuries can be among the most serious, life-altering injuries a person can suffer. When taken as a whole, more than ten thousand Americans will suffer a serious spinal cord injury each year.
When that spinal cord injury is the result of an auto accident, it is quite often due to the negligence of another. Because of that negligence, months, years or even a lifetime can be spent dealing with medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as lost wages and pain and suffering. Having an experienced Chester County spinal cord attorney by your side can significantly alter the outcome of your injuries.
An Overview of the Spinal Cord
Traveling from the neck to the top of the waist, the spinal cord is a collection of nerve endings which are responsible for transmitting information between the brain and other body parts. Any type of unexpected or traumatic shock to the spinal cord can result in fracturing or dislocation of the vertebrae, damaging the spinal column. In most cases, the spinal cord nerves cannot regenerate once they have suffered severe damage. The degree of damage depends largely on the specific area of trauma.
The cervical vertebrae are responsible for holding up the neck; injuries to this area can affect the nerves which regulate the back of the head, the arms, hands, diaphragm muscles and shoulders. Because the diaphragm is necessary for breathing, injuries to cervical vertebrae can be life-threatening. Below the cervical vertebrae are the thoracic vertebrae which control the upper back muscles, the chest muscles and certain stomach areas. Injury to the thoracic vertebrae can result in an inability to breath, can damage the gastrointestinal functions and can cause some level of paralysis.
Below the thoracic vertebrae are the lumbar vertebrae which support the lower back and control the muscles in some areas of the legs, the genitals, the lower stomach, the bowel and bladder, and the buttock region. At the base of the spine are five fused vertebrae known as the sacral vertebrae. When damage occurs to the sacral vertebrae, the ability to control the lower legs, thighs or feet may occur. The coccygeal vertebrae in the tailbone control the sensations in the lower back. An injury in this region can cause excruciating pain, however tend to be less serious than damage to other vertebrae.
Should an injury occur in the vertebrae lower down on the back, the victim may suffer loss of feeling below the waist, and may require a ventilator to continue to breathe. Essentially, the higher an injury on the spine, the more of the body will be affected. Injuries to the middle or lower spine can result in paralysis of the legs, known as paraplegia. An injury to the neck or upper back can affect the arms and legs, and is known as quadriplegia.
The ability to regulate blood pressure and body temperature may be lost, resulting in years of rehabilitation, and the requirement of a full or part-time caretaker. A complete severing of the spinal cord can result in total loss of function from the damaged vertebrae down. Partial severing of the spinal cord, or bruising and swelling, can result in differing degrees of paralysis.
Medical Expenses for Those with Spinal Cord Injuries
The medical expenses of a fully paralyzed victim may exceed $400,000, in the first year alone. Even the person who has health insurance could find their co-pays mounting alarmingly following a spinal cord injury. An accomplished Philadelphia personal injury attorney has the necessary experience to take quick legal action, ensuring those expenses are taken care of. When hospitalization, rehabilitation and ongoing medical follow-up is required, the medical expenses can mount quickly. Lost income is another major concern when a back injury has interfered with your ability to work. Not only could you be unable to return to your former career, you may find yourself unable to perform day-to-day tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry.
If you have suffered a serious spinal cord injury as the result of the negligence of another, you can file a lawsuit, asking for compensation from the responsible party. You will be asking for compensatory damages, which is intended to restore you to the same level of health as before the accident—although this may not be possible following a serious spinal cord injury. Compensatory damages are meant to take care of economic factors such as medical expenses and lost wages. You may also be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are available when the accident was a result of reckless or irresponsible behavior on the part of the other person, or possibly when an auto accident was caused by a manufacturing defect. Obviously, monetary compensation can never fully make up for a serious spinal cord injury, however it can provide you with the tools you require for your recovery.
Contact Our Chester County Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has sustained a serious spinal cord injury in an accident in Chester County, Philadelphia, Lancaster, or anywhere in the State of Pennsylvania, it is crucial you speak to an experienced West Chester spinal cord injury attorney in order to ensure your rights are protected and your future holds some hope. Your West Chester attorney will be able to establish who is at fault for your accident, and what compensation you are entitled to as well as to ensure all relevant evidence is collected quickly following your accident before it disappears.
The Chester county spinal cord injury attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been injured in accidents. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.