You are likely reading this blog because either you, a loved one or a friend is dealing with the effects of a spinal cord injury. As you know, the spinal cord is the hard wire connection between the brain, and the rest of the body. The brain is the primary body structure making up the central nervous system. The brain sends and receives electrical impulses which control muscle and sensory functions within the body. The nervous system is known to be made up of three distinct systems, the autonomic nervous system, the voluntary nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. All three are governed by the hard wire connections provided by the spinal cord.
Different sections of the spinal cord transmit electrical impulses, and thus control, to different sections of the body. As this blog is not designed to be a class in medicine, we speak about these parts very generally. The cervical area (neck area) controls the neck, shoulders, arms and top quarter of the trunk. The thoracic area generally controls the trunk part of the thorax (above the diaphragm) and the abdomen (below the diaphragm). The Lumbar section controls the hips, buttocks and legs. Thus the higher on the spinal cord the injury, the more of the body affected. Spinal cord injuries can result in temporary or permanent injury. If the injury is severe enough, the hard wire connection is broken, and results in paralysis. If the injury is less severe, paralysis may occur, but may be only temporary. It can also result in parasthesia (pins and needle feeling) and the numbness type feeling that sometimes occurs when you hit your funny bone (which is actually an injury to the nerve near the surface running past the elbow.)
Spinal Cord injuries can occur in many ways, but as injury lawyers we generally represent those with spinal injury caused by trauma, such as in a car crash, a trampoline injury, a semi tractor-trailer collision and drunk driver accidents. Our clients generally are treated at neuro-intensive care facilities for the short term (also known as the acute care phase), and then are transferred when they stabilize to a rehabilitation facility, also known as a post acute care facility. Once released from these facilities, a number of accommodations are usually required to allow the patient to maximize quality of life considerations.
Our job is to make sure that the insurance companies for the person or company responsible for causing our client’s injuries fully make up for the harm caused. This will likely require us to contract with an expert known as a life care planner. A life care planner specializes in the needs of those dealing with paralysis. This expert accumulates the costs of all the accommodating options our client needs to regain the highest quality of life available to them. This may include wheelchairs, ramps, transfer apparatus, wound care specialists, therapists for occupational, physical, speech and other therapies.
We also spend hours with our clients in the hospitals and at their homes familiarizing ourselves with the full range of their injuries and what it will take at home to help them live a full and satisfying life. We have been helping Hoosiers dealing with Spinal Cord Injures for more than 58 years. We would like to help you and your family.