Spinal cord injuries can be complex and often demand a multifaceted approach to recovery. Many people who are affected in this type of situation will turn to a Richmond, TX spinal cord injury lawyer for help, but they may first require information about the injury and what they should do next. Here, you’ll find an in-depth exploration of spinal cord injuries and their causes and types. You’ll find a focus on the legal considerations within Texas and the crucial importance of seeking legal guidance.
Defining Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord sustains damage due to trauma, accidents, or medical conditions. The spinal cord is a vital part of the central nervous system and is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
Potential Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
A traumatic spinal cord injury may result when the individual is involved in a vehicular accident, a sports-related incident, or a fall. However, certain medical conditions can also cause spinal cord injuries. These include infections, tumors, or degenerative diseases that impact the spinal cord.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury
The severity and consequences associated with a spinal cord injury may vary based on both the location and the type of damage.
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
This type of injury may result in the loss of motor function and sensory function below the injury site. Individuals who have complete spinal cord injuries will experience paralysis in parts of the body that are innervated due to the damaged section of the spinal cord. This means that if the injury occurs in the thoracic region, paralysis may extend to the lower body and legs.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
Incomplete injuries may allow for varying degrees of function below the injury site. This means the patient may retain some sensory or motor function level. However, the degree of impairment can also range between mild and severe, depending on factors such as the specific location of the injury and the extent of the damage.
This type of injury would typically result in the paralysis of all four limbs and the trunk. Also known as quadriplegia, the injury occurs in the cervical region of the spine. Those impacted will find significant challenges associated with self-care, mobility, and daily activities due to the impact on their motor function.
Paraplegia involves paralysis of the lower half of the body, and the injury typically occurs in the lumbar, sacral, or thoracic region of the spine. Those affected may retain upper body function, which can help certain activities of daily life.
This injury features paralysis of three limbs, which could be both arms and one leg or both legs and one arm. It’s much less common than the other types of spinal cord injury but has certain similarities. Again, this can present unique challenges in terms of daily functioning and mobility.
It’s crucial to understand the type of spinal cord injury in order to treat the condition correctly. Unfortunately, those affected may need to deal with impacts on emotional well-being, finances, and overall quality of life beyond their physical limitations.
The Impacts of Spinal Cord Injuries on Daily Life
Many people affected by spinal cord injuries may struggle to adapt to daily life. Some long-term consequences call for resilience, adaptation, and a comprehensive support structure.
Perhaps the most impactful result of a spinal cord injury is a loss of mobility. While the degree of paralysis may vary, even a partial loss of movement can necessitate large adjustments. Getting out of bed, dealing with stairs, or using a restroom without intricate preparation can be tough. In this situation, crutches, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices become indispensable to navigating the physical world.
Self-Care and Independence
Many individuals will need help with fundamental activities of daily living, such as getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, and preparing meals. This loss of autonomy can be emotionally challenging, especially in the early days. It will require recalibration of self-perception and a “relearning” of some daily routines.
A patient will need to cope with an abrupt shift in lifestyle and the loss of activities that they once took for granted. These sudden changes can profoundly affect emotions as the patient adapts to a different version of themselves. It’s not unusual for people to suffer from anxiety, depression, and isolation. So, mental health support is crucial to navigating life after a spinal cord injury.
Potential Long-Term Consequences
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries can often give rise to other health complications. These could include bladder or bowel dysfunction, respiratory issues, and circulatory problems. Some people may develop secondary conditions such as pressure ulcers, and it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to overall health care.
Damage to nerves and an altered sensory perception can contribute to persistent pain in many patients. Sadly, this level of chronic discomfort can be constant and impacts both emotional and physical well-being.
Education or Career Adjustments
Many people need to make significant adjustments to their educational pursuits or careers. For example, accommodation may need to be made in the workplace, or they might have to pursue alternative educational paths with an eye to the future. Sometimes, a patient may need to seek legal assistance to ensure equal opportunities in the educational and professional spheres.
Elements like rehabilitation, assistive devices, medical treatments, and other modifications could incur significant costs. When taken alongside potential employment changes or loss (and an associated hit on finances), the financial burden of a spinal cord injury can be sustained and substantial.
Don’t be surprised if some family dynamics can become strained in this situation. However, other relationships could deepen, and social connections could evolve as challenges are shared. Much will depend on the other person, how they deal with this development or any potential discomfort.
The Immediate Steps to Take Following a Spinal Cord Injury
When someone sustains a suspected spinal cord injury, the very next steps can be critical and potentially life-altering.
Prioritize Personal Safety
While it is best to ensure that the concerned individual does not move in the immediate aftermath of an incident, this will still depend on whether they are in a safe environment and out of harm’s way. If not, those involved should prioritize personal safety and gently move to a secure, stable location to avoid further injury.
Where at all possible, the individual should not be moved. The spine is very delicate and a crucial part of the body, so any unnecessary movement could exacerbate the potential damage. In particular, make sure that there is no movement to the head, neck, or back.
Get Emergency Medical Assistance
Time is of the essence in treating spinal injury cases, so someone should call emergency services immediately.
Give Clear Information
Whoever talks to the emergency services should clearly state that they suspect a spinal cord injury. They should give as much information as possible, including details of the incident, any obvious symptoms, and the individual’s current condition. This will help emergency responders to send the necessary medical personnel and resources.
If anyone on the scene is trained in first aid, they can gently stabilize the individual’s head and neck to minimize the movement. Usually, this involves placing hands on both sides of the person’s head to keep it in a neutral position to avoid any tilting or twisting.
Leave Helmets or Protective Gear in Place
If the individual was wearing a helmet or protective gear, don’t be tempted to remove it. This should be left to trained medical personnel only.
Document the Incident
Without compromising the patient’s well-being, aim to document the circumstances that led to the injury. This will include details of the environment, any potential hazards, and the involvement of other parties. Gather contact information for witnesses, as this documentation may be valuable for both medical professionals and a Richmond TX spinal cord injury lawyer later.
Legal Considerations in Texas Over Spinal Cord Injuries
To correctly navigate the legal landscape following a spinal cord injury in Texas, you need to have a nuanced understanding of state laws, liabilities, and responsibilities.
To determine who is legally responsible for spinal cord injuries in Texas, it’s important to establish negligence or the failure to exercise reasonable care. This process will involve an assessment of whether a person or party failed to uphold a standard of care, which ultimately led to the injury. A specialist spinal cord injury attorney can help you make these assessments.
Negligence can show in various forms. For example, an individual could be driving recklessly, or a medical professional may have made avoidable mistakes (malpractice). Alternatively, a person or entity may have maintained unsafe premises, which may have led to an accident.
Statute of Limitations in Texas
There may be time constraints associated with filing a legal claim in Texas. Typically, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases (which could include spinal cord injuries) is two years from the date of the incident. Therefore, get in touch with a back injury attorney as soon as you can.
Compensation Options for Spinal Injury Cases in Texas
There are several different types of compensation available to spinal cord injury victims in Texas. For example, they may be entitled to compensation for both current and future medical expenses. This could include coverage for help with daily living, assistive devices, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation.
A spinal cord injury will often lead to a significant impact on anyone’s ability to work, and in this case, they can pursue compensation. This can help to offset the financial burden caused by their inability to earn.
Damages for pain and suffering could cover the physical and emotional distress that a person may experience as a result of spinal cord injury. Those calculating the damages will need to carefully evaluate the impact of the injury on the victim’s overall quality of life.
Given how complex a spinal cord injury case may be, seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity is crucial. A legal professional with experience in Texas law can provide guidance about the intricacies of the legal process.
Local Resources in Richmond, TX
Hospitals and Medical Facilities Specializing in Spinal Cord Injuries
Rehabilitation Centers and Support Groups for Spinal Cord Injury Patients
Accessibility Resources and Adaptive Technologies
Vendt Accident Attorneys – Your Advocates in Richmond, TX
The experts at Vendt Accident Attorneys are here to provide the help you need whenever you’re involved in an injury due to someone else’s negligence. We’ll help you deal with the legal aspects and provide you with attentive, comprehensive, and aggressive representation so you can achieve your goals. Our team of car accident lawyers is dedicated to your success, and everyone at our firm strives to give you certain legal strategies to help you with your objectives.
Expertise in Handling Spinal Cord Injury Cases
Our Richmond, Texas law firm was founded by Frank Vendt Jr., and we have particular experience when it comes to catastrophic situations like spinal cord injuries. One of our spine injury lawyers will be your representative as you pursue compensation, and we’ll handle all the details of the case and oversee negotiations with the other party or insurance company. This will allow you to focus on recovery without having to deal with the stresses of the case.
We encourage you to check out some of our testimonials.
For example, Sharndell Carr says, “Frank was great to work with. He represented me in a manner that was professional and very efficient. Frank does what he does because he has a passion for justice. I’m very appreciative of all that Frank has done for me, and I will recommend him to anyone who needs legal representation conducted the ‘right’ way.”
Why Choose Vendt Accident Attorneys?
When you choose Vendt Accident Attorneys, our team will tailor our approach to the unique challenges of each specific spinal cord injury case. They’ll consider each client’s individual needs and provide full guidance.
When you’re looking for a “spine injury lawyer near me,” it’s important to choose a seasoned attorney with experience in handling complex legal matters and someone with a track record of success in these areas. Our attorneys are committed to client advocacy and full justice for anyone who has suffered a debilitating and often devastating spinal cord injury.
Resources to Help You
Links to Articles, Studies, or Legal Resources
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke – Spinal Cord Injury Information Page
- Mayo Clinic – Spinal Cord Injury
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons – Spinal Cord Injury
- American Spinal Injury Association – Durable Medical Equipment Guide
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation – Living with Paralysis
- Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) – Facts and Figures at a Glance.
- Shepherd Center – Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Research
- SpinalCord.com – Legal Steps After a Spinal Cord Injury
- Texas Constitution and Statutes. Chapter 33 – Civil Practice and Remedies Code
Information about Local Events Related to Spinal Cord Injuries
- Spinal cord injury model systems study (clinical trials)
- Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation games
FAQs about Spinal Cord Injuries and Legal Proceedings
Who can be held responsible for spinal cord injury?
If a person was negligent or displayed intentional misconduct, causing an injury, they can be held responsible to the injured plaintiff.
What is the statute of limitations for spinal cord injuries in Texas?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case is typically only two years.
How do you find someone at fault for a spinal cord injury?
Fault can depend on the identification of negligence. A person or party has a duty to act with care; if they don’t, they could be negligent. You can typically seek compensation if this negligence harmed you or a loved one.
Do all spinal cord injury cases result in a lawsuit?
Sometimes, a spinal cord injury case can be settled without the need for a trial, and your personal injury attorney will always choose this option so long as they feel that you will get a fair and just settlement.
Get in Touch with a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in TX
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s crucial to reach out to a skilled lawyer at Vendt Accident Attorneys for a free consultation. You can be sure that we will treat your case confidentially and provide the ultimate compassionate legal support. Contact us today by calling (832) 276-9474 or filling in this online form.