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Articles Tagged with Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury is always severe regardless of how serious the damage is. This is mainly because the body relies heavily upon the spinal cord for different body functions. There are many people in New York who have been involved in an accident that has caused an SPI. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, damage to the spinal cord cannot be fixed and is always permanent. 

As soon as an SPI occurs, medical care is needed to help minimize damage by stabilizing the spine as soon as possible. Medical personnel may also want to do surgery to help reduce strain on the spinal cord. Patients may be given medications or put in traction. The initial rush is to try to prevent any more damage to the spinal cord.

Treatment focuses on helping people with SCIs to be able to function in their daily lives. A person may undergo physical, recreational and vocational therapy. They may be taught how to cope with pain, how to eat healthy, how to exercise and how to communicate. The treatments will depend on the location of the spinal injury and how it affects the person. For example, someone whose injury impairs only leg movement will not need the same therapy and treatment as someone whose injury impairs them from the neck down.

Spinal cord injuries are always treated as severe due to the fact that they involve one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. A person suffering from such an injury in New York may not immediately understand the condition or the complications that may arise. Not understanding can be one of the scariest parts of this type of injury. Knowing some facts about the spinal cord and related trauma can help people to feel a little more in control.

According to GB HealthWatch, the spinal cord is fairly well protected by the bones in the spinal column. However, injuries can easily occur when the vertebrae get dislocated. Once broken, the cord cannot be repaired. Not all injuries, though, will cause permanent damage or break the cord. The extent of the injury depends on whether nerves were damaged and the location of the injury. Minor injuries may heal with time, while major injuries can cause complete paralysis.

Not only can an injury in this area affect a person’s ability to use their arms and legs but it also can lead to other issues in the body. This includes making it difficult to breath, swallow and control the bladder. An injury may also affect the heart, causing it to beat too slowly or erratically. 

An accident that results in a spinal injury is often a life-changing event. The change from being a healthy and active adult to suddenly having a disability can leave a person scared, confused and depressed. Regaining a semblance of normalcy is a very difficult process that can take months or years of therapies. This type of injury does not mean that you can no longer have a happy and fulfilling life. Coping with a spinal injury requires motivation and support.

If another person’s negligence has resulted in a spinal cord injury for you or someone you love, it is important to remember that you have options. An experienced Syracuse injury attorney can help you on the road to recovery after your accident. Here are some tips on coping with a spinal cord injury.

Mourning and grief

Maybe you were in a car accident, or maybe you fell from a ladder on a construction site. Perhaps your injury occurred incrementally through months or years of repetitive lifting and carrying, and one day you had to pick up something at work and you felt something change suddenly in your upper spine.

There are many ways that your upper spinal injury might occur, but one thing is certain – unless you are very, very fortunate, your life may have changed forever.

If you suffered a spinal cord injury affecting your high-cervical nerves, specifically within you C1 through C4 vertebrae, you may lose partial or complete functionality of many areas of your body. To make matters worse, these losses may be indefinite.

Last time, we left off discussing the topic of punitive damages. As we noted, the goal of building a damages case is to maximize the plaintiff’s damages, and this requires carefully establishing entitlement to all damages the plaintiff is seeking, including punitive damages.

Entitlement to punitive damages is, in some ways, even more important to establish because it is ordinarily more difficult to do so compared to compensatory damages. For one thing, punitive damage are only potentially awarded in cases where there is gross misconduct, want or willful fraud, dishonesty, or malice. The idea is that the plaintiff’s behavior was marked by significant moral failing. 

Because entitlement to punitive damages is typically based on proving either intention to harm or engage in negligence, it is not an easy avenue for recovery. Although entitlement to punitive damages is not easy to establish, punitive damages may still be awarded in cases where a plaintiff suffers only minimal damage. In other words, there is no requirement that a plaintiff must be awarded a certain amount of compensatory damages before entitlement to punitive damages kicks in.

We’ve been discussing in recent posts the topic of brain and spinal cord injury, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney to accurately establish damages at trial. Maximizing damages, of course, is probably the most important aim of litigation in most cases, so it is really important to build a strong case in this area.

Damages vary according to type and the grounds for entitlement, and an experienced attorney knows the importance of establishing the correct theory for the type of damages sought. Compensatory damages, whether economic or non-economic, require a clear showing of the costs—both actual and projected—of a brain or spinal cord injury. 

In establishing entitlement to compensatory damages in brain and spinal cord injury cases, particularly the projected costs, it may be necessary to secure the services of a damages expert. An expert will be able to provide technical and scientific insight and testimony for the jury in formulating a damages award. This includes information about the plaintiff’s prognosis for recovery, the long-term effects of the injury, and the long-term costs associated with the injury.

In motor vehicle accidents, physical injuries can be devastating if not deadly, particularly when there is damage to the brain and/or spinal cord. Damage to the central nervous system can have a profound effect on an accident victim’s life, impacting his or her ability to work, recreate, maintain relationships with family and friends, and generally enjoy life.

For patients who have suffered serious spinal cord injury, treatment and care may be ongoing for the remainder of their lives. Treatment and care is not only expensive, but taxing on family members who may serve as caregivers. Fortunately, scientific advances do offer some hope to spinal cord injury victims, hope that someday they may be able to recover some of their functioning. 

One experimental new treatment involves surgery which involves the use of stem cells to recover functioning and accelerate recovery. The treatment is still in its early stages of development and, at this point, more work needs to be done to determine whether stem cells can actually repair spinal cord damage or whether they make some other contribution to the healing process.

When we think about personal injury cases, the thoughts that come to mind are usually related to car accidents or premises liability incidents. These are everyday occurrences that unfortunately leave innocent victims injured. But it’s also important to remember that those that are not so innocent, at least in the criminal system’s eyes, have the same rights to safety as the general public. We’re talking about inmates in prisons and jails like the one on Rikers Island.

Every year, many individuals get hurt while in jail and their pain and suffering matters just as much as anybody else. They may be in jail for a conviction, but they also deserve to feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In fact, statistics show that the number of personal injury claims filed against New York City for injuries that happen in the jail system keeps increasing year to year.

In fiscal year 2010, there were 1,204 claims. Then in 2014 there were 2,245 personal injury claims. When it came to fiscal year 2015, which concluded at the end of June of that year, there were 2,846 claims. That’s an increase of 27 percent from the previous year. The fiscal year that started this past July is already showing signs that the trend will continue.

Spinal cord injuries can lead to devastating outcomes. In some cases, this type of injury can leave someone permanently paralyzed and in the worst case scenario, it can even lead to death.

A really sad story has recently come out about an elderly couple from another state. The husband was being transported in an ambulance to a hospice care facility back in 2012. During the transfer, his 85-year-old wife was in the ambulance with him. Suddenly, the driver of the ambulance stopped to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of him, according to the report. The sudden stop caused the elderly woman to pitch forward and strike her head on the inside of the ambulance.

The woman was taken to a hospital and died the next day. She had reportedly suffered a severe spinal cord injury that led to severe pain before her death. She was hoping to spend time with her husband at the hospice care facility before he died. Her husband died from cancer hours after she passed away at the hospital from her injuries.

When someone suffers a spinal cord injury, it can be life-changing. While in some cases, this type of injury can lead to sudden death, others are left to deal with the tragic injury the rest of their lives.

According to the National SCI Statistical Center, spinal cord injuries fall into several categories, including incomplete and complete tetraplegia, and incomplete and complete paraplegia. The most common type since 2010 is the incomplete tetraplegia.

Statistics also show that the age of the person who suffers a spinal cord injury has increased since the 1970s. Back then the average age was 29 years old. Now that number has risen to 42. Not surprisingly, about 80 percent of all new spinal cord injury cases happen to men.

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