Our spinal cord carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Any disruption of these messages will also disrupt the way our body functions.
For this reason, an injury involving the spine can be devastating, particularly where the diagnosis involves a severe spinal cord injury (SCI).
A dedicated spinal cord injury lawyer at the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm can get you the compensation you deserve during this difficult time.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
From the moment that a serious SCI occurs, the victim's life is greatly changed. Despite research on spinal cord repair and advances in assistive devices to replace lost function, the effects of SCI remain stubbornly permanent. Victims of severe SCI can often have shortened life expectancies and a lower quality of life.
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe SCI, you already know how important it is to obtain professional help with rehabilitation, assistive devices, and counseling. Perhaps you have also witnessed how quickly lost income or medical expenses can bring a family to the brink of poverty. If the SCI is the result of someone's negligence, an experienced personal injury lawyer should be part of the recovery process.
Causes and Victims of SCI
The most common cause of SCIs since 2010, as presented by National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, is motor vehicle accidents, accounting for more than a third of SCIs. The next most common causes registered in that period are:
- Falls (28.5%)
- Assaults, stabbings, shooting, and other violent acts (14.3%)
- Sports (9.2%)
Many of the injuries are work-related falls and car accidents; the typical victim is young, male, and Caucasian, but people of all ages, genders, and races suffer these injuries. In any event, you may need a spinal cord injury attorney on your side.
How SCIs Are Classified
The primary distinctions in SCI involve the severity of damage to the cord, the effect of the injury on the victim's limbs, and the level of the spine at which the injury occurs.
Severity is classified as either complete or incomplete. The complete injury destroys all function below the level of the injury while an incomplete SCI leaves some function below that level because some fibers of the cord are still functional.
The effect on limb function is described as either:
- Tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia) if all limbs have lost function
- Paraplegia if the victim retains arm function
The level of injury is simply the level of the spinal column, with C designating the cervical region (neck & upper back), T representing the thoracic region (mid-back), L the lumbar region (lower back), and S the sacrum region (tailbone). Each region is represented by numbers (C1 through C8, T1 through T12, L1 through L5 and S1 through S5).
Effects of SCIs
Essentially, the spinal cord and the spinal nerves, that branch off it, provide the body with motion, sensation, and a spectrum of autonomic functions like respiration, heart contractions, and other actions that occur without conscious effort. Accordingly, SCIs may cause:
- Loss of all sensation.
- Disruption of any of the autonomic capacities necessary to maintain life.
The consequences may include loss of bladder and bowel control and altered or lost sexual function.
Apart from the direct physical effects just described, SCI victims tend to experience a variety of indirect consequences that diminish their lives. Some of the most important and detrimental are:
- Psychological problems, which may be severe and drastically alter their personalities.
- Trouble finding and retaining employment.
- Shorter lives; people who suffer a severe SCI at age 20 reportedly live 6.5 years less, and a shocking 34 years less if the injury is so severe that a ventilator is needed.
The Legal Assistance You Require
In facing the lasting effects of a severe SCI, receiving the fair damages is crucial. Consider that the estimated lifetime cost of dealing with a severe cervical spine injury suffered at the age of 25 is over $3 million for injuries at C5-C8, and an astounding $4.6 million for injuries in the C1-C4 range.
The costs of the injury build up rapidly and your effort to obtain compensation should be just as rapid.
The Sacramento area law firm of attorneys John M. O'Brien & Grant Zehnder is a highly rated personal injury firm.
We know how SCI victims and their families feel and the uphill battles they face. Call us today to start the recovery process.
RECENT SPINAL CORD INJURY VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS
Fatal Elder Abuse and Negligence Case
$1.3 Mil Greyhound Bus Accident
$180K Broad Side Car Accident Injury
$750K Automobile Accident
$4.2 Mil Construction Site Worker Injured
$7 Mil Man Paralyzed in Shooting
$600K Fall from a Defective Plank
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT THEIR CASES
My insurance wasn't really giving me any advice or anything. It was turning into a nightmare; I didn't know what to do. I called John and what caught my attention is that he was worried about me, not about his fees; that's when I said: 'This is the guy I am going with.'
John held 2 cases for us where he could have settled or given up easily. He didn't. He kept working on them and achieved a maximum settlement for us. We were extremely pleased.
In 2011 I was injured in a car accident...As I received medical treatment I had to pay for everything out of pocket and it was a hardship. A friend referred me to John. The consultation went really great and I felt confident with him handling my case... Mr. O'Brien was always available.
After the car accident, I had three bulging discs in my neck that were pressing on my spinal cord causing many problems. The insurance company was very defensive so I went online and found John M. O'Brien's website. I felt comfortable with the first call. They're very good and professional people.
My wife suffered injuries in a car crash. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder's skilled courtroom presentation and remarkable negotiation skills overturned adverse circumstances. We recommend Mr. O'Brien.
I was stunned after a distracted driver rear-ended me. Thankfully, John O'Brien and his team worked efficiently and tirelessly, helping me cover the piling medical bills.
I lost my father because of a drunk driving accident. It was a difficult period, but John O'Brien and his colleague Grant Zehnder helped me obtain justice, closure, and compensation. Thank you!
The O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm expertly negotiated my car accident while I concentrated completely on health recovery. I wholeheartedly appreciate everything they have done for me.
Owing to Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder's professional representation, I'm riding my motorcycle again after almost a year of recovery. I am very thankful I chose Mr. O'Brien.
My daughter was seriously injured by a car while walking across the crosswalk. We are grateful for the aggressive fight John O'Brien put up, helping us obtain higher compensation.
I needed hospitalization after being injured on a work site. I made the right decision by contacting the law firm of John M. O’Brien, as he was helpful and considerate.
Mr. O'Brien's reliable and trustworthy services were more than I could have hoped for. The settlement he obtained for my accident was beyond expectations. My family and I greatly appreciate your help!
The O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm was recommended to me by a friend after I was involved in a car accident. Their patience, consideration, and readiness to explain the process impressed me.
All we wanted after our car accident was to go back to normal. Mr. O'Brien understood and offered attentive and compassionate support. They presented our options but never pressured us.
If you suffer an injury resulting from any accident that may be the fault of someone else, I highly recommend you contact John O'Brien to represent you.
I recently had the pleasure of watching John O'Brien masterfully try a difficult personal injury case to a jury in Butte County. John represented a man who sustained a lumbar disc injury in a car accident.