Austin Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has sustained damage to the spine in a personal injury accident, it is extremely important that you get knowledgeable legal representation from an experienced Austin spinal cord injury attorney. At the Loewy Law Firm, we recognize that a spinal cord injury is a life-changing injury that will leave you with not only significant pain and emotional trauma, but will also require that you learn an entire new skill set.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Happen?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states that in most cases, injuries to the spine occur from a “sudden, traumatic blow.” In most cases, this will affect the alignment of the spine and will result in either fractured or completely dislocated vertebrae. While this can be painful in and of itself, it becomes a serious problem when the vertebrae tear the tissue surrounding them, bruise the ligament and damage the disc material separating the bone in the spine.
In most spine injuries, the axons will be crushed. Axons are long fibers which work to transmit pieces of information. When they suffer damage in a spinal cord injury, it can be impossible for the spine to fully recover.
Diagnosis of Spinal Injuries
After a tragic accident, one of the first things that medical professionals will look for is damage that was done to the spine. There are some tell-tale signs that will immediately lead to the belief that the spine was damaged. For example, any extreme pain and / or pressure in the lower back, neck or head could be a red flag of a spinal cord injury.
The following are also considered symptoms of a spinal injury:
- Weakness, numbness and tingling;
- Inability to control bladder / bowels;
- Problems with balancing or coordination;
- Difficulty breathing after an accident;
- An odd positioning of the neck or back; and
- Complete loss of movement / sensation
If any of the above are noted, it is necessary for the victim to receive emergency medical care. People who are around someone who is displaying the above symptoms are recommended to leave the person completely still and dial 911. They should place towels beside the person to keep them immobilized and prove any basic first aid if necessary, otherwise, keep them still until help arrives.
One medical attention is there, there are certain tests that will need to be done. This includes using x-rays, MRI and CT scans to figure out if the victim has indeed sustained any damage, how extensive the injury is and where it is targeted. After, emergency medical attention will be utilized to help. This will include immobilization. The doctors will then focus on helping the victim to control their breathing, stabilize their vital signs and will do everything that they can to lower the damage associated with the injury.
Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries
The following are accepted treatments for immediate treatment:
- Surgery – This will be used to remove bone fragments, herniated discs, etc. They can also be used to stabilize the spine further to help with treatment further down the line.
- Medication – There are some medications available to help with immediate improvement; however, they are not a cure and have only been proven to help with administered within eight hours.
- Immobilization – As discussed above, the most important thing that can be done for any spinal injury victim is to keep their spine as straight and still as possible. Braces, weights, harnesses will all be used to help achieve this. In some cases, the victim will need to stay in a bed.
What Is The Life-Long Prognosis For Spinal Injuries?
In most cases, after the victim has been stabilized, they will need to deal with any other conditions that could stem from the initial injury. This includes infections, blood clots, deconditioning and any other condition that originally stemmed from the treatment of the spinal injury. After the doctors feel that the victim has been stabilized, they will then have them start to receive long-term injury care. This will include taking part of rehabilitation to deal with not only the physical limitations, but the emotional and psychological issues that were sustained as a result of this injury. Medications will also be used to deal with pain management.
Currently, there is no way to reverse the damage that is done during a spinal injury; however, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the damage and to help people regain some of their sensory functioning and motor control. This is not cheap. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCIC), a 20-year-old person who has sustained a high-tetraplegia spinal cord injury (C1-C4) will be saddled with a lifetime cost that exceeds four million dollars. Over a million of this will come from the first year of treatment alone – following that, it will be just under two hundred thousand per year.
Estimated costs for spinal cord injury victims:
- Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) – $739,00 for first year / $109,000 annually
- Paraplegia – $499,000 for first year / $66,000 annually
- Incomplete Motor Function – $334,000 for first year / $40,000 annually
Contact an Austin Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
At Loewy Law Firm, our Austin spinal cord injury lawyers will do everything that we can to help ensure that your legal rights are protected. If you would like to learn more about how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact our firm as soon as possible.