The spinal cord transmits messages between the brain and body, controlling muscle movements and internal functions like respiration and bladder control. When the spinal cord is injured, the brain loses some of its ability to communicate with muscles and organs. As a result, the victim of a spinal cord injury (SCI) suffers debilitating physical and mental effects, which can include paralysis, incontinence, depression, chronic pain, impaired balance, and loss of sensation.
Sadly, no legal action can restore your loved one’s health to the way it was before his or her accident. However, with help from a skilled and knowledgeable attorney, it may be possible for your family to hold the responsible party accountable and recover compensation, which can lighten your financial burden while ensuring high quality medical care.
Utah Personal Injury Attorney Handling SCI Claims
If you or one of your family members suffered a spinal cord injury because of another person’s careless actions, you may be able to get compensated by filing an accident claim or lawsuit. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Accident attorney Jay Sheen has been helping injured Utahans recover compensation for more than 33 years. Jay’s extensive experience handling these cases gives him a nuanced understanding of how and why preventable spinal injuries occur, enabling him to fight aggressively and strategically on your family’s behalf.
To set up a free legal consultation with Jay, call the law offices of Overson & Sheen at (801) 618-3580. Jay is ready to come to your location if you are unable to travel due to your injuries. He is proud to serve Salt Lake City, the greater Salt Lake County area, and communities throughout the state of Utah.
Negligence in Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
When an injury is caused by negligence, the victim may be able to get compensated by making an insurance claim or, if necessary, filing a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence is a complex legal concept, but can be most succinctly described as carelessness. Sometimes negligence involves taking improper or dangerous actions. Other times, it involves failing to take actions that were necessary to prevent a foreseeable disaster.
In either situation, it is necessary for the claimant or plaintiff to prove that the other party was negligent, which might involve the use of evidence such as accident photos, medical records, witness statements, or police reports. This is significant because negligence often plays in a role in the most common causes of spinal cord injury, which include:
- Auto Accidents (Bus Accidents, Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents)
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Sports Accidents
- Surgical Complications
For example, negligence in the context of a vehicular accident could involve texting while driving, driving while intoxicated, or disobeying traffic rules. In the context of an accidental fall, negligence often involves poor property maintenance leading to the development of trip hazards. Jay will analyze and utilize all available evidence in the fight to prove that the other person was responsible for causing you or your loved one’s injuries.
Spinal Cord Injury Levels and Their Effects
The effects of a serious spine injury are absolutely devastating. However, they can vary from person to person. The effects an SCI victim will experience depend largely on the “level” of injury, meaning the location of the injury along the spinal cord and spinal column (backbone/vertebral column).
The higher the injury is physically located, the greater the potential for loss of function, sensation, mobility, and independence. Doctors use the following designations to describe levels of injury:
- Sacral Spine
- S1 – S5 — Levels S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5 describe damage to the very lowest portion of the spinal cord, the sacral spine, named for the sacrum. People who sustain lower back injuries to the spinal cord are typically able to walk, but have limited control over their bowel, bladder, hips, and legs.
- Lumbar Spine
- L1 – L5 — Injury levels L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5 describe damage to the lumbar spine, which runs through the lower back. A person who sustains a lumbar injury may be able to walk, but may need braces for support, and may sometimes need to use a wheelchair. The bladder, bowel, legs, and hips are likely to have impaired functionality.
- Thoracic Spine
- T1 – T5 — The thoracic spine takes up most of the spinal column and spinal cord, comprising the mid and upper back. T1, T2, T3, T4, or T5 injuries can cause paraplegia, or paralysis from the waist down, making a wheelchair necessary. Driving may still be possible with some vehicle modifications.
- T6 – T12 — Injuries to the lower thoracic spine can also result in paraplegia. Most people with T6, T7, T8, T9, T10, T11, or T12 injuries need a wheelchair.
- Cervical Spine
- C1 – C4 — The cervical spine is the portion of the spine that runs through the neck. These are the most serious types of spinal injuries. An injury at C1, C2, C3, or C4 can cause quadriplegia or tetraplegia, which is full-body paralysis affecting the arms, trunk, and legs. The victim may need special medical equipment to help them breathe. Full-time care will be necessary to aid with basic tasks like eating, dressing, and using the bathroom.
- C5 – C8 — Injuries at this level paralyze most of the body, though limited control of the arms, elbows, wrists, fingers, or neck may be possible. Motorized wheelchairs grant some independence, but care and assistance will be necessary for complex tasks.
Was a Family Member Paralyzed in an Accident? Get Help from an Experienced Lawyer
A disabling back injury changes your life forever. If your injury was caused by another person, you shouldn’t be expected to carry the burden on your own. You may be entitled to compensation for current and anticipated:
- Income Losses
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
Salt Lake SCI attorney Jay Sheen will take every possible measure to hold the guilty parties accountable so that you can obtain the closure, justice, and financial compensation you need to begin rebuilding your life again.
To arrange a free legal consultation with Jay, call the law offices of Overson & Sheen at (801) 618-3580. Your information will be kept confidential. Jay handles SCI claims in Salt Lake City, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, West Valley City, South Jordan, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Sandy, Riverton, and other communities throughout the state.