Chicago Spine Injury Lawyers
According to the Mayo Clinic, the leading cause of spinal cord injury in the U.S.A. is motor vehicle accidents. Automobile and motorcycle accidents account for 35 percent of all spinal cord injuries every year. The impact of a crash can cause a blow to the spine that damages the fragile nerve bundle contained within.
A spinal cord injury often leaves the victim living with paralysis, with life-altering consequences. If you or your loved one suffered a spinal cord injury in a traffic crash caused by a negligent driver, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced catastrophic accident lawyer in Chicago as soon as possible. The compensation you may be entitled to claim could make all the difference for you and your family.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury happens when the spine is damaged in a traumatic event, like being hit very hard. The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue protected by bones in the spine. Any traumatic event can sever the cord, cutting off the brain's ability to control movement, motion, or physical sensation. A spinal cord injury changes the way your brain communicates with the rest of your body. The closer the injury happens to the brain (the higher up the spine you're hurt), the larger an area of your body that will be paralyzed.
Each year, almost 12,000 Americans suffer a spinal cord injury. Many of these people are left suffering chronic pain, paraplegia, or quadriplegia. Spinal cord injuries can lead to any of these symptoms:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- Sexual function issues
- Chronic pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Sensation loss in the body
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can happen in an instant--anywhere or anytime. There are almost 300,000 Americans currently living with a form of paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury. Of those, 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury occur each year. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, these are the main causes of spinal cord injuries:
- Car Accident: almost 40 percent of spinal cord injuries happen in vehicle crashes.
- Slip, Trip, and Falls: almost 30 percent of spinal cord injuries happen in falls.
- Violence: almost 15 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by assaults or shootings
- Sports: almost 10 percent of spinal cords injuries occur while playing sports like football and soccer.
Less than 1% of victims of spinal cord injuries fully recover. The average age of a spinal cord injury victim is 40.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Several types of injuries can cause spinal cord damage, some of which are common in motor vehicle accidents:
- Flexion injuries: A sudden, forceful motion of the head can damage the vertebrae in the cervical region of the spine. These damaged vertebrae can cause injury to the spinal cord. Spinal ligaments can also be torn in this type of injury. Flexion injuries are common in automobile accidents.
- Rotation injuries: Rotation of the spinal column can injure the spinal cord and tear spinal ligaments, as well. This type of injury can occur in side-impact (T-bone) automobile collisions and in motorcycle accidents.
- Compression injuries: When the force of impact in a collision is transmitted through the head to the spine, it can fracture the vertebrae, causing pieces to protrude into the spinal canal and injure the spinal cord. Cervical, lower thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae are most commonly fractured in this type of injury.
- Hyperextension injuries: When the neck is forcibly extended backward, the stretching of ligaments and opening of discs can damage the spinal cord. This type of injury can occur with little or no damage to the spinal column – often only the spinal cord itself is injured.
- Penetrating injuries: An object or vehicle part, can penetrate the spinal cord, causing irreparable damage.
Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis
Severe spinal cord injury often results in permanent paralysis. The degree of paralysis is determined by the location and severity of the injury. With paraplegia, all or part of the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected. With tetraplegia (or quadriplegia), the arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected by the injury.
If all or almost all feeling and ability to control motion are lost below the level of the injury, it is complete. If some sensory or motor function remains, the injury is called incomplete.
Dedicated and Experienced Lawyer for Spinal Cord Injury Cases in Chicago
If a negligent driver caused your spinal cord injury, it is important to find the right law firm to handle your claim for compensation. At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, our Chicago personal injury lawyers have been helping injured people since 1990. We have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements, and a reputation for professionalism, attention to detail, and personal attention to our clients. Contact us at (800) 996-4824 to discuss your case in a free consultation with no obligation.