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Following a car, truck or motorcycle accident, a common yet devastating injury that people regularly sustain are spinal cord injuries. These injuries are some of the most traumatic injuries that a person can sustain and can result in loss of feeling, complete paralysis, and even death. While spinal cord injuries are not just reserved for car and automobile accidents, these types of accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries here in Fort Smith as well as all across Arkansas.
Facts About the Spinal Cord
The spine which is also known as the backbone is a linked column of thirty-three individual bones which runs the length of the back from the head to the lower back. Running the length of these bones is a series of nerves and fibers which connect at the base of the skull to the brain stem and run the length of the spine terminating in the lower back. These nerves and fibers are delicate, yet they play a crucial role in every activity and body function in our body.
Most nerves in the body are part of the peripheral nervous system and are responsible for sending information that the body is experiencing to and from the brain, as well as playing a role in those bodily functions that are automatic such as breathing, sweating, and digesting food. The peripheral nervous system connects to the spinal cord through small holes in each of the thirty-three vertebrae known as Foramen, the nerves then sends electrical impulses between then body and the spinal cord and transmits the messages between the peripheral nerves and the brain which is the base of the central nervous system.
The brain, spinal cord, and nerves in the eyes all join together in what is known as the central nervous system. The four lobes of the brain, the frontal lobe, the temporal lobe, the parietal lobe, and the occipital lobe are part of the large structure of the brain, which also includes the cerebellum and the brain stem. The brain is, of course, responsible for our capacity to think, but it also directs all the various organs and functions of the body by working in conjunction with the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system.
Therefore, injury to any one of the thirty-three vertebrae or to the delicate nerves and fibers, which run the length of the spinal cord, can result in devastating consequences. As noted, the spinal cord has nerves connecting to the brain, which is responsible for automatic functions of the body from autonomic nerves. An injury to these nerves can result in the body no longer being able to conduct those activities such as breathing, which can result in death or the need for permanent care. In most spinal cord injuries a person will experience diminished or even complete loss and control of many bodily functions such as control of their bladder and bowel as well as loss of sexual functions.
Types of Lawsuits From Spinal Cord Injuries
Anytime a person is involved in an injury they often wonder if they are able to file a lawsuit for the damages that they have sustained. In the realm of personal injuries, spinal cord injuries are often some of the most devastating and consistently require the most amount of ongoing care. Spinal cord injuries are either classified as complete or incomplete.
A complete spinal cord injury means that the spine has lost all of its ability to transmit messages to the rest of the body. How extensive this depends on where and what bones were damaged. The general rule when it comes to complete spinal cord injuries is that the spine will not be able to transmit messages from below the place of the injury. The provide some clarification, this means that if a person sustains a complete spinal cord injury in their lower spine, then they may not be able to move their legs or they may lose control over their bowels. However, if the injury is lower on the back than a person who has sustained a complete spinal cord injury may be able to move their arms and breathe on their own.
Incomplete disabilities are different from complete spinal cord injuries in that in an incomplete injury the spine will still be able to transmit some or at least one message below the place of the injury. This may mean that a person who has sustained an injury to their lower spine may retain some sensation or even movement in their lower legs.
No matter if you have sustained a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury, you general can file two types of lawsuits in a spinal cord injury case depending on the result of the injury. You may be able to file a personal injury case based on the injuries you have sustained, or in the event that a person has died because of their spinal cord injury, a wrongful death action may be brought on their behalf.
Personal injury cases based on spinal cord injuries generally require that the person who sustained the injury file the case on their own behalf, however, because of the likelihood that a person could sustain permanent paralysis then a family member may be able to file the case on their behalf. Personal injury compensation packages generally are designed to compensate a person for the pain and suffering they have had to endure, as well as provide them with a means to cover the past and future medical expenses.
Unfortunately, many of those who sustain spinal cord injuries do not survive the accident or may die as a result of their injuries. In these sad cases, a family member may file a suit for wrongful death. Compensation in a case such as this will generally cover lost wages, hospitalization, and funeral expenses. A financial award for pain and suffering experienced by the family may also be included.
Contact a Fort Smith Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer For Help With Your Injury Case
If you or a loved one have suffered a serious spinal injury, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law. He can fight to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. For your free consultation, call (479) 251-7767 or contact us online today.