Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury (SCI), though not as common as other types of injuries, can be devastating physically, socially, and financially. According to the National SCI Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,810 new spinal cord injuries occur each year in the United States. Males account for about 78 percent of new spine injuries, with the average age being 43.
Depending on where on the spine the injury occurs, your functions below that point can be lost partially or completely. More than half of those injured every year may suffer paraplegia, paralysis of the legs and lower body. The rest, especially those with injuries to the upper spine, may be subject to quadriplegia, paralysis of all four limbs (also called tetraplegia).
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury in or around Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, and Saint Augustine, contact the Glober + Glober. I have helped many others in your situation receive the just compensation they deserve to move on with their lives and get the treatment and support they need. I will treat you and your challenges with dignity and compassion
Common Causes and Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
The most common causes of SCI, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are automobile accidents (31.5 percent) and falls (25.3 percent). After that come gunshot wounds (10.4 percent), motorcycle crashes (6.8 percent), diving accidents (4.7 percent), and medical/surgical complications (4.3 percent). Automobile crashes are the most common cause of SCI up to the age of 45; after that, SCI from falls takes over as the leading cause.
Depending on where the spine is injured and how severe the blow is to the spinal cord, the result is termed either complete or incomplete. Complete means that all functions below that point on the spine are lost. Incomplete means all functions may be lost partially, or some fully and others not at all or partially.
The vertebrae protect the spine, which is the superhighway of your nervous system, coordinating functions throughout your body through signals sent from the brain. If the vertebrae are injured, the nerves can become dysfunctional. The higher the injury on the spinal cord, the more dysfunction can occur. Also, the spinal cord does not have to be severed to suffer a loss of function. It can be bruised, stretched, partially severed, or crushed.
Injuries to the spine adjacent to the top seven vertebrae, known as the cervical vertebrae, numbering C1 to C7, can be the most serious, resulting in quadriplegia and the need for around-the-clock care. Lower cervical injuries to the spine in the area of the C5 to C7 vertebrae can affect control of the arms and hands and might result in partial or total paralysis, and leave little to no control of bowels or bladder. The higher the level of spinal cord injured, the greater the loss of control; i.e., a C5 SCI is more devastating than a C7, generally speaking.
The midback vertebrae are known as thoracic vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries in the T1 to T12 levels are less common because they are protected by the rib cage. However, thoracic injuries can cause paralysis or weakness in the legs (paraplegia) with loss of physical sensation, or bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction. Arms and hands are not usually affected.
The lower part of the spine contains the lumbar vertebrae, L1 to L5. Lumbar SCIs can result in paralysis or weakness of the legs, but arms and hands are not usually affected. Bowel and bladder movements can be affected, along with loss of sensation and sexual dysfunction.
The sacral vertebrae are located between the lumbar vertebrae and the tailbone and are known as S1 to S5. Injuries to the sacral area can cause paralysis or weakness in the hips and legs. They can also affect the bladder and bowels.
If you suffer an SCI in an auto accident, as a result of a fall in someone’s business or home, because of someone’s violence against you, or perhaps due to a medical/surgical mishap — you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages will cover your medical, rehabilitative, and long-term care expenses, along with loss of wages and future earning power. Noneconomic damages can cover your pain and suffering and loss of consortium with your companion.
If you’re the typical male SCI victim who gets injured in his 40s, you can face many years being cared for in the future if your injuries were serious, or even if the injuries limited your life choices and bodily functions. Just compensation could represent millions of dollars for economic and noneconomic losses.
According to the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation 2014 figures, first-year care for an SCI ranges from $347,484 to $1,064,716. Recurring annual costs, depending on the severity of the injury, then range from $42,206 to $184,891. These costs are likely even higher in today’s economy.
However, the key is to prove the other party’s negligence resulted in your injury. If you suffer an SCI in an auto accident, you must show in court that the other driver, through negligence or recklessness, caused your injury. If you fall in someone’s place of business or residence, you need to show they were negligent in not keeping the premises reasonably safe or not warning you of a slippery, wet, or broken surface that could cause you to fall.
The success of a personal injury lawsuit rests on showing that the other party:
- Had a duty of care toward you,
- Breached that duty of care due to negligence, and
- That breach caused your injuries
If an accident or a malicious attack has left you or a loved one paralyzed with a spinal cord injury, the sheer range and number of issues can leave you feeling overwhelmed. You’re probably wondering who will pay all the medical bills. How will your life change? How will you manage the loss of income? What does the future hold for you and your family?
At Glober + Glober, we know you need to get your life back on track, and our team is here to help you get the answers, the support, and the compensation you need to accomplish that. Remember:
- I used to work for an insurance company so I know how the other side operates.
- You pay only when your case is resolved in your favor.
- If you are recuperating and cannot drive to meet me, I’ll come to you.
- I’ll also work around your schedule or the schedule of your caretakers and where necessary, conduct meetings in the evenings or on weekends.
- The first consultation is entirely 100 percent free.
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“I got to know Jim Glober when he represented me in a legal claim related to serious injuries I received in a traffic collision. Jim was both personal and professional in an extremely difficult and trying time in my life.” - Max
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury you deserve fair compensation. Glober Law Firm has the experience and resources you need to fight for justice. I represent clients throughout the state of Florida, including Baker County, Union County, Bradford County, Alachua County, Columbia County, Nassau County, Duval County, and St. Johns County. Contact me today for a free consultation.