The spine is the area of the body through which the brain transmits signals. Proper spinal function is necessary for moving, walking, healing, fine motor skills, and more. All physical motions of the body are controlled by a portion of the spine. When the spine is injured, it can be devastating to your quality of life. If you or someone you love have been the victim of an accident caused by the negligent actions of someone else, and you or your loved one suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of the accident, don’t hesitate in contacting an experienced Kansas City spinal cord injury lawyer right away.
Some of the most permanent and severe injuries are the result of damage to the spine. In the wake of a trauma so severe, many victims require adaptive devices, rehabilitation, supervised care, and sometimes more. If you or your loved one has experienced paralysis or another spinal cord injury in Missouri the Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet can help.
Spinal Cord Injury Resources:
- What is a spinal cord injury?
- Common Causes
- Do you need a lawyer?
- Can a spinal cord injury heal?
- Types of spinal cord injury
- How do you prove negligence?
- What is the average settlement?
- Statute of Limitations in Missouri
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that run down your spinal column, in the middle of your back. They perform many crucial functions for our bodies, such as helping your brain communicate with the rest of your body. However, injury can occur to the spinal cord and disrupt these processes, leading to significant damage. These injuries are spinal cord injuries, and usually occur when a blow fractures or dislocates the bones in your spine.
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injury leads to complete paralysis below the source of the injury. If you have an incomplete spinal cord injury, you still have some feeling and can produce some movement below the source of the injury.
You may notice one or more of the following symptoms if you have a spinal cord injury. Since these injuries are very serious and can lead to lifelong effects, it is important to visit an emergency room as soon as possible if you suspect damage to your spinal cord.
- Loss of movement in an area of your body
- An inability to control your bladder or bowels
- Extreme pain or pressure in your head, neck, or back
- Difficulty walking
- Numbness or a loss of feeling in your feet, toes, hands, or fingers
- An inability to feel certain sensations, such as hot or cold
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
Common Causes and Consequences
The most common spinal cord injuries are compression, caused by pressure on the spine, and contusion: bruising on the spine. Lacerations are more severe injuries in general, but any of these traumatic spinal injuries can result in paralysis. Paralysis from the point of the injury and below can be life changing. Loss of sensation and loss of reflexes such as bladder control are common. Sensitivity, muscle spasms, pain, and sexual dysfunction may also develop. In the wake of a spinal cord injury, patients tend to be more susceptible to infections throughout the rest of their lives. Emotional disturbance is a common side effect of paralysis. After suffering an injury that changes one’s abilities, it’s common to experience depression and feelings of loneliness or hopelessness. Some patients experience post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of their accident or attack. All of these mental illnesses slow down healing and significantly impact your quality of life.
If you suffered from paralysis or another spinal cord injury as the result of somebody else’s negligence or attack, you may be qualified to receive compensation. After experiencing such a trauma, you and your family must prioritize paying your medical bills. You may need some form of medical care for the rest of your life. For the average family in Kansas City, MO, this is a large expense that is difficult or impossible to pay without help.
Do You Need a Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
The moments after a spinal cord injury can be confusing and disorienting. You may feel a lot of pain and have difficulty adjusting to the loss of movement. In the weeks that follow, you may have to pay for significant medical treatment and suffer additional damages, such as a loss of income or a loss of quality of life.
If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury in Kansas City, contact the attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet as soon as possible. Your Kansas City spinal cord injury attorney will work closely with you to file your claim against the person or entities responsible for your injury, providing the following benefits for your claim.
- Spinal cord injury lawsuits can be very complicated and involve very large settlements. You may not know how to calculate and prove all the possible damages you can collect in your lawsuit. However, your attorney will have the experience and resources necessary to help you determine all sources of potential compensation.
- Since spinal cord injuries often involve large settlement amounts, you may need to negotiate with insurance companies or face strong legal representation from the defense in the courtroom. Your Kansas City spine injury attorney will have the negotiation skills and courtroom experience necessary to craft a compelling case for your compensation.
- You may need to launch an in-depth investigation into your claim, reconstruct the accident, and even consult with expert witnesses to build your case. With a Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet injury attorney on your side, you will have access to a wide network of resources to build your case.
Can a Spinal Cord Injury Heal?
At this time, science has not yet discovered a cure for spinal cord injuries. Experts are currently engaging in ongoing research to create treatments for these injuries, including surgical and drug remedies. While these therapies are progressing rapidly, spinal cord injuries are very complex and scientists need to conduct more research to uncover a cure.
While no cure may exist, there are a number of treatments available to you that can help improve your condition and lessen the impact that the damage has on your everyday life.
- First, it is important to visit a hospital as soon as possible after the injury. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner medical staff can stabilize you. The hospital will likely place you on a ventilator and monitor your vital signs during stabilization. Medical staff will immobilize you with a collar or backboard to prevent further damage.
- Next, doctors will diagnose your injury and determine the cause. Depending on your injury, the doctors may place you on medication to reduce inflammation and swelling. You may receive additional immobilization equipment to prevent further injury.
- Once stabilization is complete, your medical team will determine the best rehabilitation plan for you. This may involve surgeries, the use of assistive devices, and ongoing physical and occupational therapy. The intensity and length of your therapy depends on the circumstances of your injury.
What Are the Different Types of Spinal Cord Injury?
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete injuries. While you may suffer from permanent damage, paraplegia, and tetraplegia in a complete spinal cord injury, the result is not the same in an incomplete injury. You suffer from partial damage in an incomplete injury, and may be able to move and feel to a certain extent.
Medical professionals further categorize your spinal cord injury based on what body parts the injury impacts.
- If you have a cervical spinal cord injury, you may suffer from paralysis or damage to your head and neck region.
- Sacral spinal cord injuries typically cause damage to the pelvic organs, hips, back of thighs, and buttocks.
- You may have a lumbar spinal cord injury if you suffer damage to your hips and legs.
- Thoracic spinal cord injuries usually result in damage to your upper chest, abdomen, and mid-back.
Doctors will determine how to best prescribe your treatment based on where your injury manifests and whether you are suffering from a complete or incomplete injury.
How Do You Prove Medical Negligence in Missouri?
Under Missouri state law, you have the right to collect compensation for your damages that you suffered in an accident that someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused. Many different acts of negligence can contribute to spinal cord injury, from car accidents to slips and falls and medical malpractice. However, you will need to prove that the at-fault parties committed an act of negligence to receive complication.
To prove negligence in a spinal cord injury case, you and your Kansas City personal injury lawyer will need to establish four elements in Missouri civil court.
- First, you will need to prove that the person or entity responsible for your serious injury owed you a duty of care. For example, your surgeon has a duty to uphold a certain standard of care while treating you, and your boss has a responsibility to maintain a safe working environment.
- Next, you will need to prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care somehow. If your foreman on your construction site knew about unsafe scaffolding and failed to take action, you can establish this breach. If your surgeon committed an error during surgery that a similarly trained and educated surgeon would know not to do, you can also establish a breach.
- You will also need to prove that the breach of duty of care led to your injuries. If you suffered a fall from unsafe scaffolding at your construction site, you can establish this causation. If your surgeon made an egregious mistake during surgery that led to your injury, you can also establish causation.
- Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the breach of duty of care. These damages can include multiple economic and non-economic losses related to your injury, including medical expenses, lost wages, and disability.
If your spine injury was the result of medical negligence, contact our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys.
What Is the Average Spinal Cord Injury Settlement?
The total amount of spinal cord injury settlements vary from case to case. As a result, it can be very difficult to provide an estimate or an average for the compensation you could receive in a spinal cord injury lawsuit. However, certain factors can increase your potential award amount.
The more severe and life-impacting the injury is, the higher the settlement amount will likely be. Since spinal cord injuries typically involve extensive, lifelong treatment, months of lost wages or a loss of total earning ability altogether, and a number of emotional damages, including chronic pain and disability, these settlements tend to be very high. Contact Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet to discuss your potential compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Spinal Cord Injuries in Missouri?
In every state when you are preparing to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, you must adhere to the statute of limitations. These rules place a deadline on the amount of time you have to file your claim. In the state of Missouri, you have five years from the date of your injury to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit.
If you did not discover your injury until later on, you have five years from the date of discovery to file. However, in spinal cord injury cases, this is not likely since the injury is so severe. If you are filing a claim against a government agency or employee, you will need to adhere to a separate statute of limitations, which can be very short. For example, you only have 90 days from the date of your injury to file a claim against a Missouri city government.
To ensure you file your spinal cord injury lawsuit in a timely manner, contact Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet as soon as possible to begin the claims process.
Working With Talented Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger’s experienced team of spinal cord injury lawyers knows how to advocate for your needs. We are experienced in making sure insurance companies pay not only for your current medical needs but for any other expenses related to your spinal injury you may have throughout your life. Your injury likely caused you to miss work. We can help you gain lost wages from the time of your injury. You may very well be also eligible for further financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
For spinal cord injuries to heal properly, prompt and accurate diagnosis is necessary, followed by appropriate treatment. If your medical professionals fail to treat you properly, you could experience slowed healing – and that’s a best-case scenario. At worst, you could be looking at a lifetime of pain as a result of medical incompetence.
Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet is experienced in medical malpractice suits related to paralysis and spinal cord injuries. With the help of our team, you can get the financial compensation you need and deserve. We offer a free initial consultation to assess your case. In this consultation, we go over the circumstances of your injury and identify the parties at fault. While most personal injury suits are settled quickly, our team prepares every spinal injury case as if we were taking it to court.
Have You or a Loved One Been Seriously Injured in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you've been injured in the Kansas City area you should speak with an experienced serious injury lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.