Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Pennsylvania
A spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on your life. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may need lifelong medical care to treat it. This can result in a loss enjoyment of life, loss of wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or Central Nervous System (CNS) injury you need the help of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney as you may be entitled to benefits and financial compensation under Pennsylvania personal injury law.
Please contact our team of Pittsburgh spinal cord injury attorneys for a free consultation. They will ensure you get the compensation you need to treat your spinal cord injury throughout your lifetime. Read on to learn more about spinal cord injuries and how a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can help you.
Spinal Cord Overview
The Spinal Cord is connected to the brain and is about the diameter of a human finger. From the brain the spinal cord descends down the middle of the back and is surrounded and protected by the bony vertebral column. The spinal cord is surrounded by a clear fluid called Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF), that acts as a cushion to protect the delicate nerve tissues against damage from banging against the inside of the vertebrae.
The anatomy of the spinal cord itself, consists of millions of nerve fibers which transmit electrical information to and from the limbs, trunk and organs of the body, back to and from the brain. The nerves which exit the spinal cord in the upper section, the neck, control breathing and the arms. The nerves which exit the spinal cord in the mid and lower section of the back, control the trunk and legs, as well as bladder, bowel and sexual function.
The nerves which carry information from the brain to muscles are called Motor Neurons. The nerves which carry information from the body back to the brain are called Sensory Neurons. Sensory Neurons carry information to the brain about skin temperature, touch, pain and joint position.
The brain and spinal cord are referred to as the Central Nervous System (CNS), while the nerves connecting the spinal cord to the body are referred to as the Peripheral Nervous System.
Ascending and Descending Spinal Tracts
The nerves within the spinal cord are grouped together in different bundles called Ascending and Descending tracts.
Ascending tracts within the spinal cord carry sensory information from the body, upwards to the brain, such as touch, skin temperature, pain and joint position.
Descending tracts within the spinal cord carry information from the brain downwards to initiate movement and control body functions.
Nerves called the spinal nerves or nerve roots, branch off the spinal cord and pass out through a hole in each of the vertebrae called the Foramen. These nerves carry information from the spinal cord to the rest of the body, and from the body back up to the brain.
There are four main groups of spinal nerves, which exit different levels of the spinal cord.
These are in descending order down the vertebral column:
Cervical Nerves “C” : (nerves in the neck) supply movement and feeling to the arms, neck and upper trunk. Also control breathing.
Thoracic Nerves “T” : (nerves in the upper back) supply the trunk and abdomen.
Lumbar Nerves “L” and Sacral Nerves “S” : (nerves in the lower back) supply the legs, the bladder, bowel and sexual organs.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, in 2014, between 240,000 to 337,000 people suffered a spinal cord injury in the U.S. People with spinal cord injuries spent 11 days on average in the hospital. The estimated lifetime cost of a 25-year-old diagnosed with low tetraplegia was $3,398,426.00. With such alarming statistics, it is imperative that you contact an attorney for a consultation regarding your spinal cord injuries.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are either classified as complete or incomplete injuries. A complete injury occurs when a person is no longer able to feel and move below the level of the injury, such as the case when people are diagnosed with complete paraplegia or tetraplegia.
If a person is diagnosed with an incomplete spinal injury, he/she is still able to maintain some movement and sensory function below the injury level. Common types of incomplete spinal cord injuries consist of the following:
1. Anterior Cord Syndrome
2. Central Cord Syndrome
3. Posterior Cord Syndrome
4. Brown Sequard Syndrome
5. Cauda Equina Lesion
The majority of spinal cord injuries are due to preventable causes such as road traffic crashes, falls, or physical violence. Alcohol has been found to play a major factor in 25% of spinal cord injuries. Other common causes of spinal cord injuries arise from car accidents, sports and recreation activities, and genetic diseases such as osteoporosis.
Spinal Cord Injury Liability
If a negligent person has caused you or a loved one to incur a spinal cord injury, you will have to establish liability in order to be compensated for damages. This will require you to prove the common elements of a negligence claim:
1) Duty of care
2) Breach of duty
If the court finds that the defendant’s actions were negligent and caused your spinal cord injury, you will be able to obtain a judgment for compensatory and/or punitive damages.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations & Injury Claims
You will have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim for bodily damage in Maryland. If you do not file your civil action during that time frame, the court will not hear your case.
Please feel free to contact our team of Lancaster, Pennsylvania spinal cord injury lawyers for a free consultation. Let them fight for your rights and get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Our Allentown personal injury lawyers handle auto accident, personal injury, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis meaning they charge no legal fees or costs unless they recover for you and your family.