What Are the Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
There are many different types of spinal cord injuries (also called SCIs) that vary depending on the nature and location of the damage. First, spinal cord injuries are typically classified as incomplete or complete:
- Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries involve partial damage to the spinal cord. Individuals with incomplete SCIs often retain some sensation or motor function below the injury site.
- Complete Spinal Cord Injuries occur when the spinal cord is totally damaged or severed, resulting in a total loss of sensory and motor function below the level of injury.
Physicians also categorize SCIs based on the part or “level” of the spine where the injury occurred:
- Cervical (C1-C8) Spinal Cord Injuries – These injuries occur at the neck level. They can result in paralysis or weakness in both arms and legs (quadriplegia), affecting the individual’s ability to breathe, speak, or control bowel or bladder movements.
- Thoracic (T1-T12) Spinal Cord Injuries – Thoracic injuries are less common due to the protection offered by the rib cage. However, when they do occur, they can cause paralysis in the legs (paraplegia) and affect temperature regulation, bladder and bowel control, and sexual function.
- Lumbar (L1-L5) Spinal Cord Injuries – Injuries at this level can also result in paraplegia with symptoms similar to those of thoracic injuries. Many individuals with lumbar injuries require assistive devices like braces or wheelchairs.
- Sacral (S1-S5) Spinal Cord Injuries – These injuries can affect the hips, thighs, and buttock muscles and often lead to disruptions in bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Some patients with sacral SCIs retain the ability to walk but experience difficulties with balance.
What Are Treatment Options for a Spinal Cord Injury?
Treatment options for spinal cord injuries aim to stabilize the patient’s condition, prevent further injury, and help the individual return to an active and productive life. Common treatment strategies include:
- Emergency care to stabilize blood pressure, prevent shock, and immobilize the spine
- Medications like corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and damage to nerve cells
- Surgery to remove fragments of bones, repair a herniated disk or disks, or stabilize the spine
- Physical and occupational therapy to improve bodily strength, mobility, and independence
- New treatments like stem cell therapy, nerve cell transplantation, and robotic gait training
- Psychological counseling to help patients adjust to big life changes after a spinal cord injury
What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries are devastating wounds that affect patients for life. Long-term consequences of SCIs commonly include the following:
- Debilitating chronic pain
- Secondary health issues like respiratory complications
- Reduced mobility or complete inability to move
- Initial medical costs and ongoing treatment expenses
- Loss of income and future earning capacity
- Limited ability to participate in hobbies or enjoyable activities
- Changes in personal independence
- Changes in self-image and self-esteem
- Strained relationships with family and friends
- Depression, anxiety, and grief due to SCI-related life changes
How Long Do I Have to File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit in Texas?
It depends. The standard time limit in Texas for a personal injury lawsuit, such as a spine injury case, is two years. This two-year period begins on the date when you sustain your spinal cord injury, meaning your time to act starts running out the moment you get hurt. If you try to file after the two-year deadline passes, the court could dismiss your case as time-barred, effectively eliminating your right to sue.
This time limit could be even shorter than the standard two years in certain circumstances. Additionally, note that this two-year limit only applies to lawsuits, not insurance claims. Insurance claims are usually subject to even shorter filing deadlines. Missing any relevant deadlines could seriously harm your case and put your ability to recover meaningful compensation at risk.
Given the high stakes and potential variation in these critical filing deadlines, acting promptly is essential. The best way to ascertain how long you have to act is to consult a seasoned spinal cord injury lawyer in Houston who can provide a detailed estimate based on your unique case.
How a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Can Help with Your Case
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a spinal cord injury in Texas, the guidance of a skilled lawyer is essential. Here are just a few ways a lawyer can support you and your SCI case:
- Conducting an independent investigation into the incident that led to your spinal cord injury
- Gathering and analyzing evidence to establish liability and support your case
- Interviewing witnesses who can speak to how you got hurt or how the SCI has affected your life
- Negotiating with insurance companies to demand fair compensation on your behalf
- Consulting medical experts to evaluate the extent and long-term consequences of your injury
- Calculating and documenting your losses, including medical expenses and loss of income
- Building a strong legal strategy tailored to the specifics of your case
- Filing a lawsuit and representing you in court, if necessary
What Is the Average Settlement for a Back Injury from a Car Accident?
Predicting a possible settlement for a back injury or SCI claim after a car accident is a complex task. Every case is unique, with various contributing factors such as the severity of the injury, the impact on the patient’s life, and who is liable for the incident. As a result, there is no such thing as an “average” SCI or back injury settlement.
The best way to assess the potential value of your case is to consult a back injury lawyer with plenty of experience handling other SCI cases. An experienced Houston spinal cord injury attorney can analyze the specifics of your situation, consider the full scope of your losses, and provide a realistic estimate for your case.