Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers in Harrisburg, PA
Strong advocacy for Pennsylvanians who suffer spinal cord damage
An accident can change your life in an instant. One second, you’re able to walk, sit, and move without a thought. A second later, a car crash, slip and fall, or another type of accident can cause paralysis or a lifetime of constant pain. Spinal cord injuries (SCI) occur when any parts of the spinal cord are damaged. Victims often suffer a loss of strength, movement, sensation, and other physical injuries. Most victims who have a spinal cord injury also live with long-term emotional pain.
At KBG Injury Law, our Harrisburg spinal injury lawyers have been fighting for accident victims for almost 40 years. We represent accident victims across Central Pennsylvania. This representation begins with investigating the cause of the accident and determining who should be held responsible. We work with investigators, product safety experts, engineers, and others, when necessary, to help prove a driver, property owner, doctor, or another defendant is liable. We provide the personal attention to your case you deserve to help obtain the strongest settlements and verdicts possible.
How can we help?
- How common are spinal cord injuries?
- What are the causes of spinal cord injuries?
- What are the types of spinal cord injuries?
- What diagnostic tests do Harrisburg physicians used for SCI victims?
- How is a spinal cord injury treated by Harrisburg physicians?
- What damages can I seek for an SCI?
- Is there a spinal cord injury attorney near me?
How common are spinal cord injuries?
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) states that nearly 450,000 people in America have a spinal cord injury, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. There are about 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases each year. Most spinal cord injuries involve damage to the vertebral column, which affects the ability of the spinal cord to “send and receive messages from the brain to the body's systems that control sensory, motor and autonomic function below the level of injury.”
What are the causes of spinal cord injuries?
Other causes of SCI can include:
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents, including accidents on construction sites
- Attacks or assaults due to negligent security
- Recreational accidents, including incidents involving sports
- Defective products, including auto defects
What are the types of spinal cord injuries?
The AANS states that there are two types of spinal cord injuries (SCIs):
- A complete SCI. This injury results in the Harrisburg accident victim losing all motor and sensory function below the point of the injury. About half of all SCI injuries are complete. The victim loses function mostly because of “a contusion or bruise to the spinal cord or by compromise of blood flow to the injured part of the spinal cord.”
- An incomplete SCI. Here, the accident victim does retain some bodily function below the point of the injury. For example, a car accident victim with an incomplete SCI may have more movement or function on one side of the body than the other.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a spinal cord injury victim may suffer paralysis:
- This SCI, also called quadriplegia, affects the accident victim’s upper and lower body and the pelvic organs.
- This type of SCI affects the victim’s pelvic organs, trunk, and legs.
What diagnostic tests do Harrisburg physicians use for SCI victims?
A range of diagnostic tests are used to determine the type and severity of a victim’s spinal cord injury. The Mayo Clinic states that these tests often include:
- X-rays.This test is used to determine if the Harrisburg accident victim has any “vertebral (spinal column) problems, tumors, fractures or degenerative changes in the spine.”
- CT scan.This test involves a combination of images (by using a computer) that looks for bone, disk, or other disorders.
- This test uses radio waves and a magnetic field to examine the spinal cord, blood clots, disk problems, and other “masses that might compress the spinal cord.”
When some of the swelling reduces, your physician will conduct a more thorough neurological exam that involves “testing your muscle strength and your ability to sense light touch and pinprick sensations.”
How is a spinal cord injury treated by Harrisburg physicians?
According to the AANS, the initial danger with any SCI victim is moving the victim. Generally, the patient should be kept as immobile as possible. The medical transport team will transport the victim to a local ER where the physicians will question the accident victim, conduct a physical examination, and take the necessary diagnostic tests. In some cases, a victim may require immediate surgery. Accident victims may need immediate surgery because of the damage to the spinal cord itself. If the chest, abdomen, or other body parts are injured in addition to the spine – the doctors will immobilize the spine and align the spine during the surgery.
Most SCI victims are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). Traction may be necessary. Basic SCI care includes ensuring the victim can breathe properly, treating any infections, and monitoring the victim’s heart and blood pressure.
Surgery may be necessary if the patient’s spinal cord is compressed by a blood clot, herniated disc, or for other reasons.
According to the Mayo Clinic, experimental treatments are focusing on “ways to stop cell death, control inflammation and promote nerve regeneration. For example, lowering body temperature significantly — a condition known as hypothermia — for 24 to 48 hours might help prevent damaging inflammation.”
Much of the care of accident victims with a spinal cord injury is rehabilitative care. Many SCI victims work with many different health care doctors including neurologists, rehabilitation nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pain management doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Per the Mayo Clinic:
During the initial stages of rehabilitation, therapists usually emphasize maintaining and strengthening muscle function, redeveloping fine motor skills, and learning ways to adapt to do day-to-day tasks. You'll be educated on the effects of a spinal cord injury and how to prevent complications, and you'll be given advice on rebuilding your life and increasing your quality of life and independence.
Newer treatments include:
- Assistive devices including wheelchairs and technology devices.
- Electronic aids such as devices that allow the accident victim to give verbal commands to turn on the lights or open a door.
- Electrical stimulation devices that allow the victim to use “electrical stimulators to control arm and leg muscles to allow people with spinal cord injuries to stand, walk, reach and grip.”
Unfortunately, there is no medical treatment than can reverse a complete spinal cord injury. According to the AANS, incomplete injuries may improve with time. “Although full recovery may be unlikely in most cases, some patients may be able to improve at least enough to ambulate and to control bowel and bladder function.”
What kinds of damages can I seek for an SCI?
If you, your child, or another loved one sustains a spinal cord injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Property losses
These types of injuries are among the most complex there are. An experienced Harrisburg SCI attorney from KBG Injury Law can help you through the process. We know how to present your case to a jury so that its members understand the true extent of your injuries and losses.
Is there a spinal cord injury attorney near me?
KBG Injury Law has a Harrisburg office located on the West Shore at 717 Market Street, Lemoyne, PA. We’re just a few minutes away from the West Shore Farmers Market and downtown Harrisburg. We also have four other South Central PA locations.
Speak with an experienced Harrisburg spinal cord injury lawyer today
At KBG Injury Law, our Harrisburg SCI lawyers understand the trauma of adjusting to life when you can’t move parts or most of your body. We understand you have a mountain of medical bills and may never be able to work again. To discuss your right to hold the responsible people and business liable, call us at 717-848-3838 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Hanover, and Gettysburg, and proudly represent accident victims throughout South Central Pennsylvania. We make arrangements to see clients who are immobile away from the office.