Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2022 at 3:45 pm
If you have a spinal cord injury, contact us immediately. Spinal cord injuries can be traumatic and life-changing. It may be one of the more common areas of the body that’s injured after a car accident. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, there may be up to 450,000 people in the U.S. with a spinal cord injury, and experts estimate that another 17,000 are diagnosed each year.
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault and suffered a spinal cord injury, you may need to prove your injury in order to make an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. The legal team at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP can help guide you through the necessary steps to prove your claim and win results.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injury, followed by falls, gunshot wounds, sports injuries, and surgical complications. Spinal cord injuries are not the same as back injuries. Back injuries involve bones or soft tissue, but not the spinal cord that carries neurological signals from the brain to the muscles in your body.
A spinal cord injury results in the loss of essential functions when the nerves in the peripheral muscles cannot communicate with the brain. This can affect your bladder and bowel function, muscle movement, reflexes, and sensation.
Most spinal cord injuries come from a sudden blow to the back that fractures the bones and damages the nerves. A spinal cord injury can be “complete,” which causes total paralysis below the level of the injury. If the injury is “incomplete,” there will still be functionality on one or both sides of the body.
Healthcare professionals diagnose a spinal cord injury through a loss of motor function or sensory function. Imaging tests may also include a CAT scan, MRI, or x-ray. Treatment may include emergency surgery to address broken bones or blood clots. Doctors may also use corticosteroid injections to improve blood flow and preserve nerve function while reducing inflammation.
People with a spinal cord injury require long-term rehabilitation and treatment to help enhance independence and quality of life while reducing the risk of long-term chronic health conditions. Complications can include persistent pain, spasticity, inability to regulate blood pressure or body temperature, and an increased risk of heart and lung problems.
How to Document Your Accident-Related Injury
After an accident that was not your fault, the opposing counsel may try to claim that your spinal cord injury was not the result of the accident. Instead, they may claim it was a pre-existing injury. These are five steps you can take to prove that your spinal cord injury was a result of the accident. If you have any further questions, reach out and we’ll be ready to help.
You and your personal injury attorney can gather medical records that existed before the accident and medical records from your examination after the accident. Physician notes and insurance claims dated before the accident will show proper documentation of any spinal cord injury that existed at that time.
Spinal cord injuries often result in a loss of function and sensation. This can affect your ability to perform your job duties. Employer records and employer insurance records will show this disability. If your employers do not show a record of a disability before the accident, it helps document the timeline of when the injury occurred.
After an accident, it is crucial that you stay away from social media. Insurance adjusters and opposing counsel can use any social media images you post or updates to your status to imply that your injury is not as significant as you claim. However, your social media posts before the accident can also go a long way to show the physical abilities that you may have lost after the accident.
Witness testimony from friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances can demonstrate that you had no loss of function before the accident. Witness testimony from those same people about your abilities after the accident can help establish your claim of an injury.
Photographs and Video
Photographs and videos of your activities prior to the accident can help document your physical state prior to the accident and the loss of physical function that may have occurred because of the accident. Consider photos and videos from friends and relatives, social media, and those taken at church or by your employer.
Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for Your Free Case Evaluation
The Birmingham car accident lawyers of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP understand the physical, financial, emotional, and mental burden you may suffer after a spinal cord injury. You may be faced with mounting medical bills while being unable to return to work. Recovering damages for medical expenses lost wages, and pain and suffering can help ease your financial burden and allow you to focus on recovering.
Call our office today at (205) 324-1212 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. You’ll meet with one of our experienced attorneys, who will hear the details of your case and offer you advice on your next best steps.