There are many potential causes of spinal cord injuries, from car crashes to something seemingly benign like a slip-and-fall accident. Suffering a spinal cord injury—or having a loved one who has been injured—can leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed.
In an instant, your life can be turned upside down. You may be unsure about whether you’re entitled to compensation, what reasonable compensation might be, and how to pursue it. All you want is a fair outcome that helps you regain a sense of normalcy.
That’s why you need an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer you can trust. They can protect your rights and ensure that no one takes advantage of you or keeps you from getting the compensation you deserve. Just as importantly, the right personal injury attorney will treat you with kindness and respect in what can be a very challenging time.
How To Recognize a Spinal Cord Injury After an Accident
Spinal cord injuries are obvious in some cases. For example, a person who suffers this type of injury may lose the use of their legs (paraplegia) or legs and arms (quadriplegia or tetraplegia).
In other instances, an injury may be more subtle, and you may not immediately realize the extent of it. For that reason, it’s essential to be evaluated by a physician following an accident. This helps protect your health and also your legal rights.
Because the spinal cord plays a role in many of the body’s functions, injuries to it can cause a wide variety of issues. They include:
- Problems with balance and walking
- Numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the hands, fingers, feet, or toes
- Severe pain or pressure in the back, neck, or head
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Trouble breathing
- Difficulty with body temperature regulation
- Exaggerated reflexes or muscle spasms
- Problems with sexual functioning, and others.
If you don’t initially see a doctor after an accident and later notice anything unusual about your physical functions or sensations, you should take action. First and foremost, you should contact your physician. You should also contact a spinal cord injury lawyer.
What To Do After a Spinal Cord Injury Accident
The key to effectively dealing with a spinal cord injury accident is knowing what steps to take. Failing to be proactive can cause a “ripple effect” that hurts your finances for years or even decades.
If you’ve suffered an injury that may involve your spinal cord, you should do the following:
- Get medical attention. Your health must be your top priority. Spinal cord injuries can cause permanent, life-altering damage, so you must see a doctor promptly.
- Report the accident. Who you file a report with will vary based on the type of accident. For example, you should report an automobile accident to the police. If you’re hurt in a slip-and-fall incident at a business, you should contact the business owner, property owner, or both. You should also make notes about who you communicated with, in what form (call, email, etc.), the day(s) and time(s), and what you told them.
- Gather evidence. It’s important to document the scenario that led to your injury, including with photos, video and written notes. It’s easy to forget even memorable details due to the trauma of the incident.
- Get witness contact information. Note the names and phone numbers of anyone who saw the accident and is willing to provide that information. If they agree to provide a brief statement you can record on your phone, that can also be helpful.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The word “experienced” is important. Every personal injury lawyer will likely be willing to represent you in a spinal injury lawsuit. Not all attorneys have the skill or expertise to maximize your chance of success. You should work with an attorney who specializes in the type of injury you suffered, has handled similar cases in the past, and is respected in the legal community.
Your spinal cord injury lawyer will determine the best way to proceed with your case, including how to address the common defenses. For instance, the concepts of contributory and comparative negligence relate to possible carelessness on your part or that of the defendant.
The Difference Between Spinal Cord Injury and Personal Injury Legal Cases
If you’re injured in any way due to an individual’s or company’s actions or inaction, you should receive compensation. But spinal cord injuries frequently are more severe and often permanent. For that reason, courts assess them differently than other types of injuries.
That’s an important fact, particularly if the defendant, their insurance company, or anyone on their behalf offers a settlement that doesn’t consider the scope of your injury and its potential long-term effects. You should never accept a settlement without first talking to a seasoned attorney, like those on our team at Ginnis & Krathen.
It’s understandable that you want to get compensation quickly to start addressing your financial needs. But you shouldn’t agree to a payment that favors the defendant and isn’t fair to you and your family.
Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Who Will Be Your Advisor and Advocate
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you must look for spinal cord injury symptoms. You must also know what steps to take in the incident’s immediate aftermath and how personal injury and spinal cord cases differ. Contact Ginnis & Krathen for expert legal representation focused on getting you the compensation you deserve so you can focus on healing and recovery.